I commend Maryland Sen. Allan Kittleman and the Flier for their positions advocating the removal of politicians from the state legislative redistricting process. This once-a-decade, line-redrawing process should be based on population shifts and contiguity and place emphasis on compactness and geographical and natural boundaries, like city and county lines or rivers. They should not be drawn by current office holders to protect cronies who may be vulnerable or help hand-picked candidates.
A good example of the bad precedent of Maryland redistricting is District 12, where I am a candidate. The district is drawn like a barbell, with big weights in the west (Columbia, but only half) and the east (Catonsville-Arbutus-Halethorpe), with a thin ribbon running through Ellicott City and Elkridge to connect the two. It's about 25 miles and a 40-minute drive end to end, where in the east you can stand at the peak of Baltimore Highlands and have a clear view of the Baltimore skyline. This range may be appropriate in a rural area, but is hardly necessary to achieve the target population count for a district in the densely populated Baltimore-Washington megalopolis.
And what this tortured drawing has set up is a district of dichotomies that makes it challenging to represent — big swaths of two counties (Howard and Baltimore) with different sets of elected officials and widely varying cultures, histories, traditions, demographics, socioeconomics, proclivities, problems and issues. Diversity is great … but so is common sense.
Let's return objectivity to this process and leave politics out, as Sen. Kittleman proposes.
Democratic District 12 candidate for delegate