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Pittsburgh City Council fights over redrawn boundaries

| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

A spat among Pittsburgh City Council members erupted on Wednesday over a plan for redrawing council district boundaries.

Bill Peduto of Point Breeze and Natalia Rudiak of Carrick accused five colleagues, who approved an amendment to an existing plan, of making changes without public input.

“I don't have a problem with changes, but I don't like it when it's being done in the dark shadows of City Hall,” said Peduto, who announced on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election in May.

Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who sponsored the amendment, said she would discuss it publicly next week. The public also will have two opportunities to comment before a final vote on Dec. 11.

“I'm willing to work with anybody and have discussions about this,” she said.

The state Constitution requires Pittsburgh to redraw the boundaries every 10 years to reflect population changes and ensure equal representation among nine districts. Districts must be of about equal size, contiguous and as compact as possible.

A nine-member committee appointed by council to draw new boundaries submitted its final report this summer after a series of public meetings. Council must approve the final plan and can make changes.

The amendment affects six voting precincts out of about 400.

Smith said she sponsored the amendment at the request of residents, who opposed some of the committee's recommendations.

The amendment passed 5-4 with Peduto, Rudiak, Bruce Kraus and Corey O'Connor dissenting.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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