Curtis Bay, Brooklyn say 'good riddance' to city congressional district

October 23, 1991|By Michael Ollove

It was quiet in the peninsula neighborhoods of South Baltimore yesterday. No sounds of hearts breaking in Brooklyn. No moaning in Curtis Bay.

In fact, no one seemed to mind at all being ripped from the rest of Baltimore and plopped into a new congressional district with parts of Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore. "Good riddance" was the overwhelming reaction.

"I'm happy they're passing us off to Anne Arundel," said Doris McGuigan, a retired homemaker and community activist in Brooklyn. "We all feel like the city has been insensitive to our needs, and they understand us in Anne Arundel."

Hers did not appear to be a minority view. "One of the common complaints is that the city neglects Curtis Bay and Brooklyn," said the Rev. Brendan T. Carr, pastor of the Church of St. Athanasius in Curtis Bay. "They have us and take our taxes, but in many ways it's a forgotten area."

Residents didn't have complaints against their present congressman, Benjamin L. Cardin. They simply believed that they were a better fit with Anne Arundel.

Since the peninsula neighborhoods were annexed by Baltimore in 1918, the union has been an uncomfortable one. The neighborhoods are connected to the city by the Hanover Street Bridge but are indistinguishable from northern Anne Arundel County. Most residents do their shopping in Anne Arundel and look southward for recreation and restaurants. And both areas share common concerns about pollution from the industries that line the Patapsco River.

"We work a lot with the Anne Arundel County delegation on a lot of things, especially the environmental things," Mrs. McGuigan said.

Dissatisfaction with Baltimore grew recently when the city approved construction of a new medical incinerator in nearby Hawkins Point. Anger over that decision contributed to the introduction of a bill in the General Assembly this year that would have returned Brooklyn and Curtis Bay to Anne Arundel if a majority of neighborhood residents approved.

No one doubted that such a referendum would easily pass. However, the measure was killed in the House of Delegates.

By yesterday afternoon, news of the redistricting agreement had not yet reached the newly refurbished VFW lodge on Patapsco Avenue. When it did, no one shed a tear.

"The city never cared about Brooklyn," said Ellen Mackay, a 30-year resident and a member of the VFW Auxiliary. "Doesn't make any difference to me whatsoever."

Joe Potee, a retired plumber who stood behind the lodge's bar, also didn't care which district he was in. But, recalling a recent remark by Gov. William Donald Schaefer, he wondered what the new association with the Eastern Shore would do to Brooklyn's image. "Does this make us a s---house, too?" he asked.

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