tv NBC10 Issue NBC October 22, 2017 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
a push in our area to keep redistricting free of gerrymandering. today, we'll discuss how the process of redrawing voting districts works, and why some say changes are necessary to make sure your vote counts. site fight, philly, new jersey, delaware, all pushing hard to lure amazon. so, which spot has the best shot at becoming the second home of the online retail giant? we'll talk about what it could mean for your bottom line. rookie ride, eagles wide-out mack hollins trying to make an impact with his bike. and as i learned during a cruise through south philly, he hopes to ride it to the white house one day. male announcer: "nbc10 @issue" starts now. rosemary: good morning, i'm rosemary connors for "nbc10 @issue." politicians choosing their votes, it's a problem the non-partisan group fair districts pa believes
is happening in pennsylvania as a result of redistricting or the redrawing of voting districts. fair districts pa says here's what can go wrong with redistricting. legislators work with no oversight or standards for fairness. they can accept money from outside interests that target pennsylvania because of lax campaign finance laws. they redraw boundaries to keep their seats in office secure, resulting in voting districts that benefit the party, not the people. groups like fair districts pa point to pennsylvania's 7th congressional district. it includes parts of montgomery county, chester county, and all the way into lancaster county. here's how the district has changed over the past 60 years. it now has the nickname goofy kicking donald. can you see it? earlier this summer, the league of women voters sued to have pennsylvania's congressional district map thrown out. the suit claims that the republican-controlled state legislature redrew the boundaries to benefit the gop. republicans called the lawsuit baseless, saying the lines were drawn with democratic support and with more
public hearings than ever before. the president of the league of women voters has even admitted both parties are guilty of drawing political maps to entrench themselves in power. joining me now to discuss redistricting are david thornburgh, the president and ceo of the committee of seventy, a group that works to keep pennsylvanians informed about their government. also joining the conversation is val digiorgio, the chairman of the pennsylvania gop. gentlemen, thank you for being with us. val digiorgio: thank you. david thornburgh: thank you. rosemary: so, val, we'll start with you. we just talked about the republican response that this is baseless, that this is something that's had bipartisan support. val: let me just say the republican party of pennsylvania has not taken an official position on this. but we will say that, you know, if we're talking about the lawsuit that's going, there's one before the supreme court now that'll decide by hopefully june 30 next year, we'll have an answer. till then, i think-- traditionally, the supreme court has taken the position that, you know, it's a political decision. it's something that's been around since the beginning of the republic.
politicians are in the best situation to decide where lines should be drawn. there is an element of incumbency protection any time you draw all these lines. but look, to say that you have some expert who says the registration is x, and that means you should have proportionate numbers of congressmen across the country, you can get any statistician to come in and say anything. in pennsylvania, we're 13 to 8, 13 to 5, republican to democrat. we think it's 'cause we have a better message, run better candidates. pennsylvania, the president, the republican president carries the state, pat toomey carried the state, notwithstanding 800,000 registration deficit. if we--you know, if the argument is we shouldn't be winning congressional seats by as much as we are, but we're winning statewide as well. rosemary: well, i think that's the point that democrats might raise, is that you're not winning by that much more than 50% of the vote. david, i saw you nodding your head during some things that val was saying, in part about that redistricting is something that's been happening for decades. david: yeah, and i'll just say at the outset, you know, we're a non-partisan organization,
we don't see this in partisan terms. i could quote you ronald reagan and barack obama on the evils of gerrymandering, so there's a long-standing concern that this isn't working. what's happened in the last few cycles is the technology's gotten a lot better. the use of data and the use of sophisticated software by operatives have given us these grotesque districts that we now have. your viewers saw the 7th district, and there are all kinds of problems with that. i think what's of greatest concern to us is it leaves the state ungovernable. we have driven ourselves politically to both extremes. we can't seem to get a budget, we can't seem to get basic things done, and we think gerrymandering bears a great deal of responsibility for that dysfunction. rosemary: how do we fix it? val, i'll let you start with that one. val: well, again, i'm not convinced it has to be fixed. look, you start off with the city of philadelphia, and pittsburgh, and scranton, which is basically where the democrats are in this state, and they want to have
their own congressman. now, if you want to say to the city of philadelphia, "we're going to split you up into six or seven congressional districts," none of which will probably have a majority-minority, which is important to all of us that we have a majority-minority congressmen, african-american, latino, and you start cutting philadelphia up like a pie, you could go out into the suburbs, is the city of philadelphia and the city of pittsburgh, are they happy with that? so, look, politicians, believe it or not, are elected to make these decisions. sometimes, you get a grotesque-looking district. i don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing, but who's in a better position to say where lower merion should be put in the same congressional district with north philadelphia or northeast philadelphia? is it some person you pick randomly out of the phone book, which is what senate bill 22 basically does, and has no experience in drawing lines like this, and have them do it? or a republican or a--you know, five republicans, five democrats do it? or is it better to have a system the way we have now? these are the questions we're going to have to answer, but they not easily answered questions. rosemary: another big question, and david, i'll give this to you, what does this mean for voters?
do their votes really count? are they getting a fair chance when they get to the polls? david: well, the short answer to that is no, it's not fair. and i think there's a lot of evidence that says that the way districts are drawn is one part of the equation that actually keeps people home on election day. and we believe that's fundamentally bad. look, our group has always put a lot of faith in people. and in our view, people, regular folks, not just the operatives of the political parties, should be much more involved in this process. if you're a reasonably well-informed voter and you know who your member of congress is, you should also be able to say, "here's what the district looks like." the 7th district looked-- used to look like pretty much delaware county and a little bit of philadelphia. i would--i would defy anyone to describe, you know, in 30 words or less what that district looks like now. rosemary: well, earlier we described it as it's sort of become known, goofy kicking mickey mouse because
of its irregular shape. david: we shouldn't have to refer to cartoon characters to describe our congressional district. val: but we have two responses to that. we shouldn't be making wholesale changes to policy that we've been doing for 220 years in this country because of a couple of goofy-looking districts. second, there's a narrative being portrayed out there by the left, and this is mostly coming from the left, not david's-- david: i'm to his right. val: yeah, this is mostly coming from the left. they make the argument that, "we're not winning because these districts are drawn unfairly." but you know, you look at what's happening, we have--the majority of governors across--like 36--34 governors out of 50 are republican across the country. we control 26 legislators and governorships, and a vast majority of the state legislature. that's not because of redistricting in a lot of cases. you can look at maryland, which is majority democrat, majority are democrat congressmen. and the same lawsuits happened there. why didn't the league of women voters intervene in maryland, while they did in pennsylvania? is there an agenda for them, you know,
being--if you ask me, they're a good organization, but they lean more left. so, this is a narrative that the left is trying to portray as to why they don't win. we think it's 'cause their ideas are too far to the extreme. rosemary: there are some concerns among voters. say, you know, you bring up north philadelphia, lower merion, you bring up lancaster county, montgomery county as part of the 7th district, that let's say you live in lower merion, your wants, needs are different than, say, people in the lehigh valley or in lancaster county. and how can your elected official fulfill the needs of everybody? david: yeah. there's this--there's this term, one of the terms that's used in redistricting, is communities of interest. and that seems--that to me is a very powerful concept. you should have something powerful in common with the people who, you know, share your interests, and who ultimately are represented by a single individual. and it's really hard to find that in the snake-like, political laser surgery that's taken over
the drawing of districts. val: again, in that one district. but again, what is--what is north philadelphia going to say when we cut the city of philadelphia up into a pie, and they're in a district, you know, they're with northern montgomery county? so, you know, you have one-- relating one district, one goofy-looking district to reset the policy, i don't know if that's appropriate. david: well, i beg to differ a little bit on that 'cause we've been looking at the maps of pennsylvania, and i could give you five or six districts that i think are a travesty and that are ungovernable. i mean, this to me is not--it's not a question of who wins, who loses. but we have a sense of dysfunction in this government right now that i think, as i said earlier, gerrymandering bears some responsibility for. and for that reason alone, i think we ought to take efforts to reform the process seriously. rosemary: is it fair to say that there is some incentive among all politicians to do this to keep their incumbency secure?
i mean, we talked about it in the beginning of this discussion. david: yeah, and to come to val's defense, this has been an art that's been practiced by the d's when the d's win, and the r's when the r's win. it's gotten more extreme. we've gone into extreme gerrymandering, like as a sport, the last round or two. but in our view, it's not a partisan thing, we just--we have to fix it. rosemary: we'll see how it all plays out and be watching it very closely, especially that lawsuit that is pending. val digiorgio with the state gop party, appreciate you being here. and david thornburgh with the committee of seventy, thank you. coming up next on "nbc10 @issue," boon or a bust? how does it impact you if amazon brings its second headquarters to our area? learn how life could change big time when we come right back.
at ikea, we believe that your dream bedroom, from a bedframe with storage, to the softest linens, to a cozy mattress, can be yours for less. and we believe... that cozy should never be costly. after 8 years of chris christie, is kim guadagno the change new jersey really needs? guadagno is christie's hand-picked successor. says she's "proud to be part of the christie administration." guadagno was chris christie's right hand as our schools came under attack, critical services were underfunded, and our credit rating was downgraded...11 times. from the bridge to the beach, we've seen it all, and we've had enough. kim guadagno isn't the change we need.
at ikea, we believe that your dream bedroom, from a bedframe with storage, to the softest linens, to a cozy mattress, can be yours for less. and we believe... that cozy should never be costly. and we believe... a second headquarters for amazon. cities, towns across the country, including many in our area, are vying for the opportunity, promising big tax breaks and much more to the online giant.
amazon closed the bidding process on thursday. the company plans to invest more than $5 billion in the winning location and hire 50,000 people. more than 100 cities and counties across the country want a piece of that action. philadelphia even produced a series of promotional videos to make the pitch to amazon. jess edelstein: i love philadelphia. it almost feels like the best-kept secret, and i feel like i'm ready to tell it now. osagie imasogie: it is the biggest small city that we have in the us. rosemary: the videos, like this one, highlight the city's location, workforce talent, and flexibility in terms of places to develop the facility. in addition to philadelphia, the lehigh valley, camden, newark, delaware county, atlantic county, and wilmington have also made a pitch. so has harrisburg and pittsburgh. joining me now to discuss is john boyd. john is a principal of the boyd company, which helps companies locate their businesses. he's worked with some of the top companies in the country, including boeing, td bank, and pepsi.
john, thanks for being with us. john boyd: it's good to be here. rosemary: we should say not amazon, not one of your clients. john: amazon is not a client. rosemary: so, you have an independent view of this. john: yes. rosemary: so, let's start with camden. camden wants amazon to come to the waterfront. what are the chances? john: and camden also benefits from new jersey's very aggressive posture on incentives. we saw governor christie officially endorse newark as the state's, you know, first choice for amazon, $7 billion of incentives. so, camden would enjoy being proximate to philadelphia, of course, all the labor market advantages. philadelphia, 104 colleges in the region, the great public transportation infrastructure, and of course the great public transit with the philadelphia international airport, at a lower cost profile versus philadelphia. rosemary: and for camden, i mean, this would be a huge win for that city. john: it would be more momentum. camden is one of the most successful urban turnarounds in the country. you see this with all the great things happening with the healthcare industry there, of course with subaru,
and a lot of the new white collar projects headed into camden. rosemary: so, we sort of teased, so to speak, this segment by saying boon or bust because there are advantages and some drawbacks potentially to a mega online giant like amazon coming to town. john: this would be the most significant economic development win in the history of pennsylvania, 50,000 jobs, an average salary of $100,000. the impact this would have on the economy is just extraordinary, everything from the housing markets, to retail, to philadelphia's convention industry. the hospitality industry would get just a tremendous boost from attracting this. rosemary: you do have, as some may argue, potential drawbacks: traffic, and also the cost of housing potentially going up, and life becoming more expensive in general. john: right, there's no question attracting amazon's hq too would introduce some new inflationary pressures to the housing market. however, i think a lot of those concerns are overstated.
there's already a lot of elasticity in the market, and attracting this project would no doubt promote new construction of suburban homes, new apartments, new condominiums, and new repurposing activity in the inner city for low-income people. rosemary: delaware county, state of delaware getting in the mix here, where do they stand? john: there's a very attractive steel plant that's vacant, 425 acres in newcastle county. i obviously would expect amazon to look at that if they're indeed sold on the philadelphia labor market. the last part of the piece of the puzzle is the real estate caution. now, if the company is sold on philadelphia, sold on the labor market, the great transit opportunities that exist here, the question becomes, where do we put it? rosemary: let's talk about something for a minute. i often hear from our viewers that people have mixed feelings about the tax abatement that the city offers for new construction in terms of housing in the city. you get 10 years of very low, if barely any taxes.
some people think it's great, others think, "wait a minute, why are they get--why are some people getting those kinds of tax breaks?" so, let's talk about amazon. is the city giving up too much in terms of tax breaks, tax incentives to try to get them here? john: the harsh reality is that, for a high-cost market like philadelphia, incentives are a necessary evil. amazon is a company that expects incentives. it's the fifth-largest company in the us. it's received over $120 million-- $120 billion of state incentives over the years. amazon expects incentives. philadelphia, to be competitive, needs to offer a very strong incentive package. and i expect the city to do that. rosemary: i have heard some argue that pennsylvania's budget crisis, so to speak, may not look so great for amazon to come to the keystone state. john: you know, companies today are really paying close attention to the fiscal health of states and the credit rating. will states be able to meet their pension obligations?
the concern that businesses have is that they have to pay a large share of the burden to accommodate that. but this is a special case, amazon is such a large company with such enormous revenue, i expect this process to really be talent-driven. they want to be sold on a labor market that provides them a new center of gravity away from seattle to attract and recruit new workers. i mean, amazon is expanding beyond their traditional e-commerce business into the media business, into the fashion industry, food and beverage industry, and increasingly into healthcare with medical devices and pharmaceuticals. and that's a unique strength that this labor market here in philadelphia has. philadelphia is one of the most millennial-friendly cities in the country, the nightlife which people love, all distinguish philadelphia in a very positive way. rosemary: so, i have a feeling that you have an affinity for the city. i will ask you this. you know, you've got washington dc, you've got austin, you've got dozens, hundreds of places vying for amazon to bring their facility to their hometown. who do you think's going to win in this?
john: i think washington dc is a frontrunner here given jeff bezos's significant presence in that market. of course, he owns the washington post. amazon has a long laundry list of lobbying priorities. i think being in a nation's epicenter of lawmaking can be part of their brand perhaps. but i think philadelphia is a top ten contender. i think the new york city marketplace is also a leading contender for this. also, atlanta and boston i think are also frontrunners. rosemary: all right. so, we're going to have to see how this all shakes out. john boyd, thank you so much for being with us, appreciate your insight, and we'll wait till 2018 to see what amazon--where amazon picks to put their second headquarters. coming up next on "nbc10 @issue." mack hollins: that's--i mean, that's what's going to happen, little o 2028 when i turn 35. rosemary: he may be a rookie, but eagles wide receiver mack hollins is already thinking about his next career. and it's a job that may surprise you, what i learned during our recent bike ride through south philly.
but don't be surprised if, one day, eagles wide receiver mack hollins changes careers, moving into politics. he told me all about it on a bike ride in south philly. it's his mode of transportation to and from practice and home games. mack: really, with anything, though, if you don't believe in yourself, nobody will. rosemary: before scoring touchdowns-- male announcer: inside the 15, inside the 10, touchdown. mack hollins, the rookie out of north carolina. rosemary: or even being fitted for an eagles helmet, mack hollins had plenty to tackle. mack: i didn't get recruited by the coaches at unc at all. come on, man. rosemary: hollins's road to north carolina began at wootton high school in maryland. he stood out; his team did not. so, he enrolled at fort union military academy and gambled on himself. mack: that's exactly what it was, it was a gamble.
i didn't know if i'd get a shot, i didn't know how fort union was going to be. but it ended up being really the greatest experience that i would say helped me get here. rosemary: here is the novacare complex, and how he gets here is what's so unique. mack: oh yeah, the big two-wheel. i just get on the pedal bike, and i just find my way over here. rosemary: have you always ridden bikes? mack: i have a motorcycle, so i rode a motorcycle in college, and that's not really a thing here in the nfl. rosemary: i think we're going to get on the bikes and go for a little bit of a ride, okay? mack: oh yeah. ♪ rosemary: mack rides to practice and games on his bike. he took us along pattison avenue and brought us for a ride through fdr park. so, one of your old coaches said, "the sky is the limit with mack. i mean, this guy could be president of the united states." mack: yeah, i mean, that's how it's--how it's going to be.
it's little o 2028, when i turn 35 and i'm able to run for president. since high school, that was--people called me little o. rosemary: really? mack: yeah, little obama. rosemary: wow. mack: i had the briefcase and suit in school. rosemary: that's right, you wore a suit to school, what, your senior year in high school? mack: yeah. rosemary: every day? mack: oh yeah, dress for where you want to go, not for where you are. rosemary: all right, so is the white house where you're headed? mack: oh yeah. as soon as i'm legally of age, that's where-- that's where my eyes go to. rosemary: short term, what do you see here in philadelphia? mack: i mean, the biggest goal, and really the only reason why i play and why i'm so happy that i'm in philly is to put a ring on my finger at the end of the year. you know, bring the first one to philadelphia. rosemary: all right, mack, i think this is the end of the road. mack: yeah. thank you so much. rosemary: yeah, thank you. really appreciate you showing us, you know, showing us the route around here. mack: do it on the two wheels. rosemary: yeah, exactly. mack: it's not too bad. rosemary: all right, good luck.
he's a husband, father, veteran... but most of all, he's a fighter. chris brown has never been afraid to take on the big fights. that's why he stood up to republicans and democrats alike to fight the north jersey casinos and the takeover of atlantic city. chris brown is fighting to protect jobs in our region... a true champion for the working men and women of atlantic county. on november 7th, let's keep him fighting for us. chris brown for state senate, he's on our side.
a cosmic crash of two super-dense neutron stars has allowed scientists to uncover secrets like where gold comes from. researchers say the stars collided about 1.4 billion years ago, but the echo created by the collision had to travel about 130 million light years before highly sensitive detectors on earth heard the faint noise back in august. scientists say the collision created a huge burst of gamma rays and a gravitational wave which caused a ripple in the fabric of space, first theorized by albert einstein, food for thought on this sunday. that's it for this edition of "nbc10 @issue." thanks for joining us, have a great day. ♪
every four years, the world comes together to marvel at a sport on ice. in an olympic season, figure skating's grand prix takes on added meeting. a globe crossing season of hurdles for stars to conquer on the way to their games. first stop is moscow, russia, where two american women will see how they measure up against the favorite for olympic gold. an american phenom seeks to unseat japanese royalty in the reigning olympic champion. it all