BALTIMORE — The continuing battle between the city and Baltimore County over whowill control more General Assembly districts likely will leave Carroll County untouched.
Even though details of how the state's 47 legislative districts will end up aren't expected before Monday, observers said yesterday that plans to align Carroll with Western Maryland look intact.
"I think that we will be with Western Maryland," said Delegate Richard N. Dixon, D-Carroll, whose legislative district would remain entirely inside county boundaries. "Any disagreements between the city and Baltimore County should go no further than the county."
Members of the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee were to reveal alegislative plan yesterday afternoon. But the squabble between Baltimore and Baltimore County -- the city wants some of its eight districts to remain intact by including parts of the county in them -- has delayed a final plan for the third time in a month.
Baltimore lost about 150,000 people between 1980 and 1990; since each legislative district in the state must include about 101,000 people, the loss is equivalent to more than one district.
Complicating the issue betweenthe county and city is the mandatory creation of a district with an African-American majority. That district, proposed along Liberty Roadon the city-county line, is being claimed by both jurisdictions.
The state has predicted that the two jurisdictions would have a totalof about 15 legislative districts.
The General Assembly must approve a redrawing of legislative lines after every national census. Thecurrent redrawing would show the increasing influence of the Washington suburbs in state politics.
Baltimore is now the second most populous jurisdiction in the state, behind Montgomery County.
Each of the state's 47 districts is represented by three delegates and one senator.
But while Baltimore and Baltimore county slug it out overtheir political boundaries, Carroll is beginning what some local officials hope is an eventual separation from the Baltimore metropolitanarea.
"I think it's important for Carroll to have three delegatesand one senator from within the county," said Dixon. "It would mean less division of interests."
Carroll's current representation is spread throughout four counties. Sen. Larry E. Haines now represents residents from Carroll and Baltimore counties, as does Delegate Lawrence A. LaMotte. Dixon and Delegate Richard C. Matthews represent only Carroll residents.
Sen. Charles H. Smelser and Delegate Donald B. Elliott represent residents in Frederick, Carroll and Howard counties.
"The people of Carroll deserve their own senator, their own representation," said Matthews, a Hampstead Republican. "We are more likeWestern Maryland in our lifestyle, and our government philosophy is more similar to theirs."
Taking Carroll out of metropolitan Baltimore in legislative representation also might give added weight to those wishing to sever the county's ties with the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments, a quasi-governmental agency that funnels federalmoney and provides a clearinghouse of data to the county.
"You'llsee that it is just money wasted," Matthews said, adding that he expects to issue a statement today reiterating his opposition to the council. "This redistricting may help us get out of it."
The county commissioners are debating whether to remain members of the council. Carroll spends about $60,000 a year in membership fees.