Lehigh Valley

Councilman proposes regional council seats

Councilman proposes regional council seats

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - One Allentown leader wants to shake things up on City Council. He says some council seats should be region-specific so that all the people are represented.

City Councilman Julio Guridy wants to change the whole setup. He believes your councilman should be from your neighborhood.

A lot of municipalities do it this way: elected officials represent the districts they live in instead of the city as a whole. City councilman Julio Guridy says that's the way it should be in Allentown.

"This is a way to get people to represent their neighborhoods, see their constituents, get more intimate with their constituency base in their region," explained Guridy.

He says a quick look at a city map outlines the problem. Five of the current council members live in the west end, and the other two are from the south side, ;eaving out two major areas of the city.

It's not drafted yet, but Guirdy's proposal would give representation to Allentown's east side, west end, south side, and center city neighborhoods.

"I think at this point I have the support to do it," said Guridy. That support will come from council members and area residents.

"To be more fair and balanced you should have people from around the city," said East Allentown-Rittersville Neighborhood Association President Dennis Pearson.

He thinks that would create a better council.

"An individual from a certain district or area would know about problems even before they're brought up to them in council," said Pearson.

But not everyone feels the same way.

"I think it's just a matter if they have knowledge about center city, that's all that really matters, doesn't matter where they live," said center city resident Melissa Velazquez.

Guridy admits there's still a lot of work to be done before the idea is formally presented to council. He says he needs to figure out where to divide the districts and how the council would transition to four regional seats.

Guridy says if council approves his proposal, then it would be up to voters to approve a measure to change the city's charter.

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