Edgewood Residents Say Split District Is Not Their Cup Of Tea

October 27, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

Edgewood residents want their own County Council representative.

That was the message, accompanied by tea bags, delivered to the council Monday by more than 30 Edgewood residents at a public hearing on aproposal for new council district boundaries.

In an impassioned speech, Edgewood resident B. Daniel Riley compared his community's lack of representation to the situation American colonists faced in 1773, when colonists protested taxation without representation by dumping tea into Boston Harbor.

"We deserve and demand our own council person," said Riley, before passing out tea bagsto the six council members present, amid applause from the crowd of about 50 people.

"This is to remind you of how we feel. Think of us when you drink your morning tea."

The plan recommended by the Harford County Redistricting Commission would split Edgewood area precincts between Districts A and F.

The commission proposal would place two Edgewood precincts, including the areas of Edgewater Village and the Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, in District A, currently represented by Republican Susan B. Heselton.

A third Edgewood precinct, which includes most of Edgewood Meadows, would be in District F, represented by Democrat Philip J. Barker.

"All the people you see wearing buttons with '1' on them were disheartened when they learned the plan proposed would split Edgewood," said Robert Hickey, president of the Edgewood Civic Association, who wore a button.

"We feel like we're getting the shaft. If Edgewood has to become a municipality to make a difference, I don't think it's that far down the road."

Hickey was referring to a binding requirement for any redistricting plan: Precincts that include municipalities must be placed in one council district.

In all, 10 people spoke against the commission's plan.

Ten others, including Aberdeen town Commissioner Evelyn Becker, spoke in favor of the commission's recommendation.

"We do sympathize with the other areas," said Becker, "but we support the plan proposed by the commission. We feel the municipalities were treated very fairly."

Questioned closely by Councilwoman Theresa M. Pierno, D-District C, who has co-sponsored a bill offering an alternate redistricting plan which would place all three Edgewood precincts in District A, Becker said her statement represented a consensus among Aberdeen commissioners.

"Forest Hill being added to our district is not necessarily a good choice," said Becker, referring to one change included in the proposed bill Pierno co-sponsored.

Throughout the hearing, Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson repeatedly stressed thatthe decision before the council isn't simply to choose between the commission's plan and the counter-proposal which he, Pierno and Heselton submitted.

Wilson said, the council has four options:

* Approve the commission's redistricting proposal.

* Reject the commission's proposal.

* Enact the bill with new district boundaries proposed by Wilson, Pierno and Heselton, thus voiding the commission's proposal.

* Enact an amended version of Wilson, Pierno, and Heselton's bill, thus voiding the commission's proposal.

At the end of the meeting, Heselton called for a show of hands.

Eleven hands rose insupport of the commission's proposal, 35 hands rose in opposition.

"Edgewood is very much one community that shares a recreation council and a post office," Heselton said after the hearing ended.

Heselton said she, Pierno and Wilson introduced their bill because, "We can't amend the commission's recommended plan."

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