I MUST respond to your editorial, "Race in the county" (Oct. 10). It was a very incendiary commentary with few facts to back it up. Since facts are readily available, I would prefer to stick to them.
I would first like to quote from my testimony presented to the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee at the hearing for Baltimore County on July 2: "It was most disappointing 10 years ago to know that there was a large African-American population residing in my community that had no minority representation . . . The time is long overdue for African-American representation in Baltimore County."
For the past several months, I have been meeting with representatives of my minority community and discussing options for representation. In addition, I have consulted with Assistant Attorney General Robert Zarnoch and have been advised that because there is a concentration of minority population that has fielded candidates who have been unsuccessful because of the dilution of the minority vote in a multi-member district, a single-member district must be formed.
Prior to that testimony, I had convened a meeting of African-American leaders in Annapolis and followed up by sending preliminary census figures so they could devise their own redistricting plan.
A follow-up meeting was held on May 22 at the Liberty Family Resource Center, attended by 32 people. The purpose was to bring everyone up to date on census figures and the redistricting process. Constituents were asked to work on possible plans. I received correspondence after the meeting thanking me for taking the time to share this information. At a July 2 public hearing, there was much divergent testimony from my Liberty Road constituents. I had requested the community to submit maps and ideas to me and never heard back from them even though I had gone over at least three different options with them including the 10th district option.
There was a plan devised by and voted on by the entire Baltimore County House delegation. That so-called "insidious plan" adopted by the House delegation was a means of increasing Democratic representation in the 10th and 11th districts without packing two minority populations into one district. There was no "Hollinger plan," no map submitted to me ** or by me! The 'Hollinger Plan" label was perpetrated by those who may not care to represent either minority group.
The writer is a state senator for the 11th district.