Rumors muddy distinction between annexing and redistricting

June 25, 1991|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

An article in Tuesday's editions of The Sun reported incorrectly that the Baltimore County Council is to produce a legislative redistricting proposal by July 1.

The council is to produce a plan for council districts by that date. The General Assembly is to vote on a legislative redistricting plan during the first days of its session next January.

The Sun regrets the error.

Theresa Lowry said so many of her neighbors were spreading The Rumor over the weekend that she lost count of the number of telephone calls she received but guessed it was around 300.


Walter Seymour said he first heard The Rumor when someone announced it from the pulpit of his church Sunday.

Ann Sopel said The Rumor was the hot topic of conversation duringthe weekend when she heard it from a few of her neighbors.

The Rumor was that the city was going to annex the Lansdowne and Baltimore Highlands neighborhoods in Baltimore County. It grew rapidly and caused nearly 1,000 people to try to crowd into a community meeting to talk about it.

"The rumor was that [Gov. William Donald] Schaefer was going to take us into the city," said Mrs. Lowry, president of a Lansdowne community association.

No one knows just who started The Rumor, but nearly everyone seemed to have gotten wind of it.

About 500 people filled Baltimore Highlands Elementary School auditorium at 7 p.m., and nearly that many were turned away at the door for lack of room. Delegate Kenneth Masters said the large turnout on such short notice "was a tribute to somebody's networking."

Mr. Masters and others quickly laid The Rumor to rest, telling the boisterous crowd that there are no plans for annexing the community.

"It is really a non-issue. It just ain't so," he said to loud cheers. He then proceeded to give the crowd a mini-lesson on the difference between annexing, which would have to be voted on, and redistricting.

As part of statewide redistricting to realign General Assembly seats with populations that shifted in the 1990 census, the Baltimore County Council is to come up with a redistricting proposal by July 1.

Mr. Masters said if the idea of annexing the community came up, he would fight it. "I would resist that if it raises its ugly head," he said.

The last time any part of the county was annexed was in 1918, state Sen. Nancy L. Murphy said. These days, she said, "Annexation is not a simple issue."

For the most part, it was the idea of their taxes and car insurance going up that caused the community to panic. But Mrs. Sopel said she wanted her children to attend school in Baltimore County.

Albert Fitzpatrick, a Landsowne resident for 30 years who heard The Rumor from a few of his neighbors, said, "Oh boy! Are we relieved!"

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