Seeing Bolton Hill's 'human' concern, Schmoke will re-examine redistricting


Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke agreed last night to reconsider his redistricting plan after meeting with hundreds of angry Bolton Hill residents who explained their opposition to the plan in what he called "human terms."

The residents, gathered at Mount Royal Elementary School, told the mayor that his plan to move Bolton Hill from the 2nd District to the 4th District would sever the community's long-standing ties with other neighborhoods, such as Charles Village and Mount Vernon-Belvedere.

Those communities, residents said, share similar interests, such as historical preservation, and therefore their City Council representatives who can focus on those interests.

"I gained a different perspective of the issue, and I'm serious about looking over the plan again," Mayor Schmoke said after the heated session. "There were a lot of things discussed tonight that I hadn't considered -- like intangibles."

"Tonight the discussion was more about the human concerns . . . than just politics," he said later.

Doreen Rosenthal, who has lived in Bolton Hill for more than three years, said she had developed an allegiance to the city. Shifting Bolton Hill to the 4th District, she said, would make her consider moving.

"In the 4th District, they spend so much of their efforts fighting drugs and higher crime," she said. "And they are not going to have time to represent the kinds of issues that will give me the kind of community I want to live in."

Neal M. Friedlander, who spoke to the mayor last week for the Mount Royal Improvement Association, emphasized that the community had no concerns about the racial demographics of the 4th District, which is 90 percent black and contains some of the city's poorest communities.

"We are already in a district that is predominantly black," he said of the 2nd District, which is 70 percent black. "It's simply better for us to be together with neighborhoods that not only have an identity but are dedicated to historic preservation."

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