State Sen. Janice Piccinini, D-Balto. Co., has launched a campaign to derail the county delegation's legislative redistricting plan, saying it would "gerrymander into oblivion" communities in the northern county.
Piccinini complains that the plan, for example, would divide most sections of Owings Mills and Reisterstown between two districts.
The plan would create a single-delegate subdistrict in the majority black community along lower Liberty Road and attach it to the mostly Republican, rural 10th District.
Piccinini has created an alternative plan supported by several north county community leaders. Her plan agrees with a separate one being pushed by a group of politically active blacks who want the subdistrict attached to the 11th District.
Representatives of the Valleys Planning Council, the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Chamber of Commerce, the Greenspring ValleyAssociation, the Fourth District Democratic Club, the Chartley Community Association, and Homeowners of Greenspring, along with two Republican north county delegates and former U.S. Sen. Daniel Brewster, all appeared at Piccinini's offices in Cockeysville last week to back her plan and complain about the one adopted by the county delegation.
A community meeting has been scheduled Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Franklin Senior High in Reisterstown to rally opposition to the controversial plan, which was adopted Monday by the county's house delegation on an 11-9 vote.
Redistricting takes place after each national census to realign political boundaries to account for population shifts. The General Assembly is to vote on new districts during the 90-day session starting in January.
Opponents hope to persuade Gov. William Donald Schaefer to reject the delegation's plan and submit their alternative to the legislature. Whatever redistricting plan the governor submits to the General Assembly automatically becomes law after 45 days if lawmakers cannot agree on any changes.
Piccinini is upset because the legislators in the 11th District, which now covers Pikesville and portions of Liberty Road,
succeeded in getting delegation approval of a plan that moves most of the black community out of their otherwise mostly Jewish district, and extends the 11th District northwest to take big pieces of Owings Mills and Reisterstown instead.
The result is that the 70-percent-black community along the lower Liberty Road portion of the 11th District would be shifted into the otherwise rural legislative 10th District in the north county, along with Subdistrict 5B, which covers Granite, along the Carroll-Baltimore County line.
And the 10th District would lose large parts of its northwestern population center in Owings Mills and Reisterstown to the 11th District.
Piccinini says the existing 11th District need only absorb one or two precincts on its southern border in Woodlawn, leaving the rural communities intact.
She notes that the 10th District already will be losing 26,000 people along the York Road corridor to the Towson-based 9th District. But she says it is at least acceptable because no communities are split.