The Gerrymander prevention letter went out last night


I sent out a letter last night. See it below (with the two corrections Paula caught right away). I’ve had a number of reactions from people already who have sent emails to one of the 14 non-supporters. Hopefully all recipients will check in and continue to help.  Please send copies of the letter below to friends and family. This week it is crucial to get HB2420 out of committee.

And thanks to all of you who have responded, sent copies out and send emails, you are making a difference.

A Civic Good Turn for Memorial Day

 

Hi, Friends,

 

I am bothering you for something I’ve been working on for a number of weeks. We have a rare opportunity in the next few weeks to change Pennsylvania politics for the better, and I’m asking for your help to make this happen. I am comfortable asking you because this is not a religious issue, nor a Democratic nor a Republican issue. It is about giving all Pennsylvania voters a voice with fair legislative districts.

Every ten years the congressional leadership designs unfair new Pennsylvania and US House congressional districts to ensure their own survival. This practice is called gerrymandering, and it prevents competition in elections (more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering)..  If you need proof of the problem just look at the current PA house districts map (all PA maps).  Remember that the red lines are the district boundaries (you will have to zoom in to about 200% to see it better). One of my favorites is PA House District 17, next to my old hometown in the Shenango Valley in the northwest. It covers parts of three counties and it currently has a Republican Representative. Guess what party decided the districts in 2000? And the Democrats have done the same in order to guarantee their own elections.The Pennsylvania State House and Senate leadership (and many members) don’t want redistricting to be fair because they use gerrymandering to control votes on the floor.  By gerrymandering, the new districts are designed to support incumbents, and those incumbents support their leadership with their votes. Citizens are left out of the process and are denied decent government.But the PA League of Women Voters (http://palwv.org/), a nonpartisan grassroots civics organization, is sponsoring a bill (HB2420) to change this. The League bill features “Congressional and legislative districts drawn by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau using strict criteria for mapping, transparency and public input”.  HB2420 is a constitutional amendment and requires passage of two separate legislative sessions to become law. We need it to pass by June 23rd and again with the new session in 2009 to make it in time for the 2010 census. Otherwise we are stuck for ten more years with gerrymandered districts!The first step is to get the bill passed in the State Government Committee on next Thursday, May 29th. This committee has 14 members who are sponsoring the bill and 14 members who have not yet agreed to sponsor it. We need to swamp these 14 non-sponsors with emails and voice messages this week and next to get them to vote for this bill.  After we win that, HB2420 goes to the Appropriations Committee, then to the floor of the House, and then a Senate version is considered. 

This is what I am asking you to do: 

1. Send emails to these fourteen committee members asking for their support of HB2420 before the committee vote next Thursday, May 29th. Just click on each name and when their page appears, click the email link, and fill it out and ask for support for HB2420. If you don’t have the time, just pick a few randomly to email. Every email helps.1. Send emails to these fourteen committee members asking for their support of HB2420 before the committee vote next Thursday, May 29th. Just click on each name and when their page appears, click the email link, and fill it out and ask for support for HB2420. If you don’t have the time, just pick a few randomly to email. Every email helps.

 

 

Baker, Matthew E. (R) – District 68

Blackwell, Thomas W. (D) – District 190

Cohen, Mark B. (D) – District 202

Curry, Lawrence H. (D) – District 154

Fabrizio, Florindo J. (D) – District 2

Gingrich, Mauree (R) – District 101

O’Brien, Michael H. (D) – District 175

Oliver, Frank Louis (D) – District 195

Parker, Cherelle L. (D) – District 200

Quigley, Thomas J. (R) – District 146

Rapp, Kathy L. (R) – District 65

Vereb, Mike (R) – District 150

Vitali, Greg (D) – District 166

Youngblood, Rosita C. (D) – District 198


 

2. Send emails and leave voice messages for your Representative saying that to get your vote this fall he or she needs to support HB2420. Tell them you WILL NOT vote for them in the fall election if they do not support HB2420. You can find your representative here http://www.house.state.pa.us/index.cfm using your zip code (look at the upper right of the screen, it will help you find your 9 digit zip code if needed).3. Send a version of this email to all your family and friends in Pennsylvania and ask them to pass it on to their family and friends.  Put everyone’s email in the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) section to protect everyone’s privacy–like I did on this email. It would be a great way to get more emails to the non-supporting members of the committee.

 

 

If you want to get updates on HB2420, go to my new HB2420 Blog at https://killgerrymander.wordpress.com/ (Sam helped me set it up last week).  If you want to get more involved, email me (HB2420richardlolla@gmail.com) and I’ll include you on a email list to help with extra emails or any other stuff that comes up.

I’m going to attend the voting session at the state capitol in Harrisburg next week on Thursday, May 29th. It will take place in room 60 East Wing of the Capitol building from 10 to 1 pm. It would be fun to see you there. I’ll post news as soon as I can to let you know if HB2420 got out of committee.


We can each be instrumental in helping this bill pass, and changing Pennsylvania from the second worst state for redistricting into one of the best. This would be a citizens’ achievement we can be proud of and that will long affect the lives of our children.

 

Is there a better way to celebrate those who sacrificed for the country this Memorial Day than being responsible citizens?

 

Best Regards,

 

Dick Lolla

 

This is what I feel like when I’ve been gerrymandered: http://richardlolla.googlepages.com/Dspumpkin2sized.JPG

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One Response

  1. You can leave a comment without leaving your name. Let usknow if you sent letters out or emails to others requesting support

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