The geniuses on the state Legislative Reapportionment Commission have submitted another proposed map for re-establishing the legislative districts, and it's no better than their first effort. At least not for Carbon County.
And it will be a shame if lawmakers and judges allow the proposal to exist.
Once again, the 122nd Legislative District would consist of all of Carbon County except for one borough – Summit Hill, which has a population of only 3,034 residents according to the last census.
What kind of state representation would Summit Hill have in Harrisburg by becoming the foster child of a state representative who represents much of Schuylkill and Berks counties?
The legislative districts are to be made up so that each lawmaker represents about "approximately 62,000 residents." The key word is "approximately." It doesn't mean "exactly." The small population of Summit Hill is enough that the town should remain under the auspices of the 122nd Legislative District.
Taking Summit Hill – and Summit Hill only – out of the 122nd District is like having having someone from the outside come and occupy one room – just one room – of your house.
In some counties, the population is so great that they are broken into several legislative districts. That's not the case with Carbon County. The entire county has a population of just over 65,000 people. That's pretty close to the 62,000 "approximate" figure; close enough that there's no reason they have to plop one little segment of it into an unrelated legislative jurisdiction.
The Panther Valley segment of Carbon County consists of Lansford, Summit Hill, and Nesquehoning. Let all three towns remain in the same legislative district.
Hopefully, local lawmakers will fight the redistricting proposal.
The members of the Legislative Reapportionment Committee obviously didn't put a lot of thought into the boundaries they came up with for the 122nd Legislative District. In fact, some probably have never visited Summit Hill or even Carbon County. Two of the members of the committee are from the Pittsburgh area and one is from Philadelphia, so what do they care about a small town nestled in the foothills of the Poconos.
Summit Hill will not be properly represented in Harrisburg if the redistricting proposal is allowed to exist. The lack of not being represented sounds a lot more unconstitutional than silly border lines devised by a three-man panel who obviously didn't take a lot of the area's heritage, culture and demographics into consideration.
We need our lawmakers to vehemently oppose this realignment. Hopefully, the idiotic concept will be struck down.
By Ron Gower