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Citizen Panel to Draw New City Council Borders

Pittsburgh has begun the process of realigning its Council Districts to fit the demographic data of the 2010 Census.

Each of the nine Council Members has nominated one constituent to sit on a reapportionment commission. The nine-member panel is charged with analyzing the latest Census information and drawing appropriate political boundaries based on the statistics.

Corporate lawyer and District 5 nominee Kevin Acklin said several neighborhoods have experienced population declines over the past ten years, including Homewood and Larimer, as well as some North Side areas.

"We'll obviously be required to look at adjacent Districts to find out how we fill those population losses," said Acklin.

The Leech Tishman attorney said he wants to group together neighborhoods that have common interests, and would best be served by a single Council Member.

Acklin said the commission is also legally obligated to take ethnicity into account when reapportioning the Council Districts.

"We do want to preserve the ability for certain Districts in the city that are predominantly African-American to have the opportunity to elect a Member to Council that is representative of their District," said Acklin. "That is definitely a policy that legally, as well as from a public policy standpoint, we want to preserve."

Acklin said the realignment process should begin early next year, and conclude in the autumn with a report to Council.