Redistricting Panel Approves Plan Despite Scathing Dissent

November 28, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

A new redistricting plan for Annapolis that would slightly diminish the percentage of blacks in Ward 6 has been blasted by the vice chairwoman of the redistricting committee as "a plan that would make DavidDuke happy."

"I see this as a retrogression, and I wouldn't thinkit would stand up under the Voting Rights Act," said Carol Gerson, explaining her dissenting vote by reading from a prepared statement.

But the plan passed, 10 to 1, Tuesday night, and some members of the redistricting committee called the charge ridiculous.

The new plan maintains the two existing majority black districts, but reduces-- from 38 to 37 percent -- the proportion of black residents in theWard 6. White Republican Wayne Turner defeated black Democrat Michael Brown by four votes in the 1989 Ward 6 race, and a rematch is expected in 1993.

Alderman Carl Snowden, D-Ward 5, successfully sued the city under the Voting Rights Act in 1984, forcing the city to create two black majority wards and one "competitive" ward during the city's last redistricting battle.

But redistricting chairman John Prehn said the new plan was "legitimately planned" and is "lawsuit-proof."

"You simply can't take pockets of black population and move themacross town so they are contiguous," Prehn said. "It was just impossible to create two majority black wards at around 70 percent, and a third that was competitive. Her (Gerson's) statement was seen as an insult to many members of the committee."

Gerson, who was recommended to the committee by Snowden, refused to retract her statement yesterday, but did provide an explanation.

"It's not that the committeemembers are racists like (former Louisiana Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon) David Duke. But I still think the plan is one that would make DavidDuke happy," she said.

Noting that "no redistricting plan has been accepted without changes," Snowden predicted that the recommended plan would not survive council scrutiny intact.

The City Council will receive copies of the recommended plan at their Dec. 16 meeting. Apublic hearing is scheduled in City Hall Jan. 27.

Other key changes recommended Tuesday night included:

* Moving the President's Hill community from Ward 4 to Ward 1.

* Shifting the Young's Farm and Painter's Hill neighborhoods from Ward 5 to Ward 4.

* Moving Forest Hills Village and Melrob from Ward 7 to Ward 6.

* Shifting Drew, Boxwood and Truxton from Ward 4 to Ward 3.

POPULATION BY DISTRICT,ANNAPOLIS

Ward (alderman).. ..Current.. ..Black.. ..Proposed*.. ..Black*

1 (Hammond-R).. .. .. 3,938.. .. .10%.. .. ..4,266.. .. ..12%

2 (Johnson-I).. .. .. 3,071.. .. .27%.. .. ..3,994.. .. .. 25%

3 (Gilmer-D).. .. .. .3,278.. .. .61%.. .. ..4,147.. .. .. 62%

4 (Gray-R).. .. .. .. 4,658.. .. .30%.. .. ..4,347.. .. .. 22%

5(Snowden-D).. .. .. 5,704.. .. .53%.. .. ..4,050.. .. .. 67%

6 (Turner-R).. .. .. .4,001.. .. .38%.. .. ..4,377.. .. .. 37%

7 (DeGraff-R).. .. .. 4,835.. .. .26%.. .. ..3,995.. .. .. 25%

8 (Moyer-D).. .. .. ..3,720.. .. .13%.. .. ..4,029.. .. .. 17%

Total.. .. .... .. .33,205.. .. .35%.. .. .33,205.. .. .. 33%

* under the planapproved by the city's redistricting committee Nov. 26. (All percentages rounded off)

Source: Annapolis Redistricting Committee, and Annapolis Office of Planning and Zoning

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.