Bucks County Herald

Doylestown council rails against gerrymandering

DANA M. ECKMAN

Doylestown Borough Council is calling on local representatives to support an effort to redraw the state's U.S. Congressional districts in a fair and impartial manner.

"The question is, how can we as citizens make the political process more accountable and responsive?" asked Susan Madian, former Bucks County local coordinator for Fair Districts PA.

At the start of Monday night's council meeting, Madian, by way of a video presentation, outlined an effort by "Fair Districts PA," a nonpartisan statewide coalition seeking to change the way Pennsylvania's Congressional districts are drawn. According to Madian, those districts are currently drawn by a five-member commission appointed by the two political parties, which has resulted in irregularly shaped “safe” districts where they are not challenged. This, in essence, allows representatives to choose their voters rather than have voters choose their representatives. And as Madian said, both parties are guilty of doing this. It’s a bipartisan issue.

"It also discourages compromise as the purists threaten to defeat those who try to work out compromises with the other party," Councilman Don Berk said. "It's one of the biggest threats to our democracy."

Council unanimously approved a resolution asking state representatives to have districts drawn in a non-political manner.

In other news, last Wednesday, cyclists from Doylestown and surrounding areas slowly pedaled through the borough in honor of all the other cyclists who have been injured or killed in collisions with cars. The Ride of Silence is an international event that draws attention to the people who have been killed and injured by vehicles while riding their bicycles. First held in 2003 in Dallas, the ride has since spread around the world; last year's event was held in 322 places worldwide.

This is the ninth year that Doylestown has hosted a Ride of Silence, which has historically been one of the best attended rides in the Eastern U.S. Each year more than 100 cyclists come out for Doylestown's ride, Berk said.

The six-mile ride started from Central Bucks West and wound slowly through town to Maplewood and back through the center of town.

Also, Berk, a painter, announced that a solo show of his work at the Rich Timmons Fine Art Gallery, 3795 Route 202, Doylestown, has been rescheduled.

A show was on its schedule twice and twice postponed due to PennDOT construction in front of the gallery. "Don Berk: Nonobjective Expressionist" is scheduled for Friday, June 23 at 5:30 p.m.

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