10:30 AM EDT, October 4, 2011
The proposed Maryland congressional districts should not put current representation at risk by further fracturing the continuity of districts ("Two maps emerge in redistricting discussions," Sept. 30). The current districts fairly and accurately represent the dominance of party registration, unlike the 1990 districts created by then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer to protect two of his GOP cronies and to "get" Rep. Charles McMillen, which resulted in a very unrepresentative 50-50 party split.
Districts should reflect the major population centers. The 1st District should cover the Eastern Shore, wrapping around the top of the bay and not coming over the Bay Bridge. The 6th is currently well drawn, being contiguous but reflecting views of the area's voters. Obviously the 7th should reflect largely Baltimore City. The 5th should reflect Southern Maryland, as it currently does. The 4th might well consolidate in Prince George's County, while the 8th should similarly center on Montgomery. Between them, the 2nd and 3rd should concentrate on either Baltimore County or Anne Arundel and Howard. These districts currently yield Gerrymanders which are hard to defend. The proposed districts would make them, as well as the 4th and 8th, worse.
Redistricting is naturally a political — that is to say, democratic — process, resulting from the representatives elected by the citizens, and thus by definition in our republic, legitimate. Unfortunately, calling the democratic process "politics" deliberately seeks to delegitimize the only process we know to legitimize governance.
James Kelly, Ellicott City
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