Summer Sale! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
The Baltimore Sun

Council redistricting panel should reject 1-in-one plan

The commission charged with making a recommendation on how current County Council districts should be realigned ought to reject the more radical of the three proposed plans, which would lump the entirety of the Route 1 corridor into one district.

While it's entirely healthy and appropriate to consider distinct alternatives, this is one that the commission would do well to dismiss rapidly.

Both proponents and detractors point to the importance of revitalization efforts in the county's easternmost sliver. Those who like the idea having all of Howard County's portion of U.S. 1 under one councilmanic roof say it would give the corridor a focused advocate. Under the current setup, Route 1 communities fall into three different districts, which also include neighborhoods of Ellicott City, Columbia and other places that don't share Route 1's set of issues.

As one speaker at the commission's Sept. 21 hearing put it, making this change would give the corridor "one strong voice instead of three whispers."

However, this view assumes that the interests and outlook of Elkridge coincide with those in Jessup or North Laurel, which isn't necessarily always the case.

Moreover, having the representation of three council members instead of one means a council majority that has some stake in Route 1's prosperity. Other residents who spoke at the hearing insisted that council members serving under the current alignment have all been responsive to the corridor's concerns.

Presumably, the one-district-for-the-corridor plan would also assuage those who believe Columbia has too much power under the current alignment. Three of the five current members have Columbia addresses. Two of those districts also include portions of the Route 1 corridor.

There's no law, however, that says a Columbia resident has to have both or either of those two seats. We've seen credible campaigns by candidates from other communities in those districts.

The current setup has its flaws, but generally speaking has served constitents in each district well. Minor modifications corresponding to population shifts should suffice.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Supreme Court sides with the people, not the politicians

    Supreme Court sides with the people, not the politicians

    Today the Supreme Court reinforced the principle that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around, in upholding an Arizona law that puts the task of drawing congressional district boundaries in the hands of an independent commission rather than the legislature. Maryland,...

  • Partisan redistricting undermines representative democracy [Letter]

    Partisan redistricting undermines representative democracy [Letter]

    I read with interest the recent article "Carroll conservatives clash with Van Hollen" (Nov. 12). I could readily relate to Carroll County Republican Bill Schroeder's statement — "We have nothing in common with Montgomery County — absolutely nothing" — concerning his representative, Chris Van Hollen,...

  • Redistricting reform matters to middle class families

    Redistricting reform matters to middle class families

    As one who successfully challenged Gov. Parris N. Glendening's blatantly political legislative redistricting plan in court in 2002 and the following year introduced legislation to create a gubernatorial task force to reform our redistricting process, I was pleased to see that Gov. Larry Hogan has...

  • Redistricting reform: Hogan makes good on his promise

    Redistricting reform: Hogan makes good on his promise

    Gov. Larry Hogan took an important step toward fulfilling one of the most important promises of his campaign today by naming a commission to come up with recommendations to reform the process by which Maryland redraws congressional and legislative district maps. Granted, he made a lot of important...

  • Why should redistricting be so complicated?

    Why should redistricting be so complicated?

    Surely by virtue of the U.S. Postal Service and/or past census data we much know the population of every ZIP code in the country. (If not, we could probably buy it from Amazon or UPS). So why not just go from east to west, or west to east, one ZIP code at a time until the proper population for...

  • Hogan's right about one thing: Md. district lines are ridiculous

    Hogan's right about one thing: Md. district lines are ridiculous

    Gov. Larry Hogan's proposal for a commission approach to redistricting is the best thing I've heard coming out of the governor's office since he took office ("Hogan: Redraw district lines," Aug. 7). I wish our politicians would be more interested in being public servants and less concerned about...

  • Straddling the city-county divide

    Straddling the city-county divide

    In a recent editorial you noted that Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who lives in Prince George's County, followed the traditional formula of appealing to the Baltimore region by choosing Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as his running mate ("Twin controversies for Gansler," Oct. 14).

  • The business case for redistricting reform

    The business case for redistricting reform

    Our view: Sure, CEOs want lower taxes, but they're also interested in good government