Redrawn map splits politicians, neighbors Redistricting plan urged for Assembly.

December 03, 1991|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Evening Sun Staff

Del. Richard Rynd lost his synagogue. Sen. Janice Piccinini lost most of her district. Sen. Michael J. Collins lost his office, church, and the school where he teaches.

The three Baltimore County politicians are among the casualties resulting from a proposal to redraw the state's 47 legislative districts. A gubernatorial advisory panel last night released a plan that would split up some neighborhoods and disrupt some political careers.

"My office is now in Dundalk," lamented Del. E. Farrell Maddox, who now represents the Essex area but finds his district office in a Dundalk-dominated district. The panel's map splits Essex down its main artery, Eastern Boulevard.

"They destroyed the heart of Essex," Maddox said.

The five-member panel voted 4-1 for the final version of the plan, according to chairman Benjamin L. Brown, a former judge in Baltimore. Former state Del. Donna Felling voted against the plan, saying it was too disruptive to Baltimore County, where several incumbents will be forced to run against each other.

The public will get a chance to comment on the proposed map at a hearing in Annapolis Dec. 10. The commission can revise the plan before sending it on to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Schaefer, who said yesterday that he "generally" likes the commission's proposal, will submit a plan to the General Assembly next month. The legislature has 45 days to amend the plan. Otherwise, the governor's plan goes into effect for the 1994 legislative elections.

Under the proposal:

* Baltimore and Baltimore County will share six districts, with four of them dominated by city voters.

* In all, Baltimore loses one of its nine districts. City lawmakers had feared that the city's heavy population loss in the 1980s could have cost it two full districts.

* A majority-black district in the Liberty Road corridor that welds the city and county will be created. It will give the county a strong chance to elect its first black state legislator. The plan maintains four majority black districts in the city and adds a black-dominated subdistrict in north-central Baltimore.

* Howard County's 185,000 residents would be divided among five districts. But the county would have a realistic chance of electing only two of its senators.

Brown said forming the new black-dominated district along Liberty Road created problems for incumbents elsewhere. He said, though, that the federal Voting Rights Act required the new district to give blacks more clout in elections.

James R. Pennington, president of the county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he was happy about the new Liberty Road district but criticized the panel for not creating subdistricts within it that, he said, would give residents a more local voice in the State House.

The new districts mean new problems for some incumbents. The 42nd District, which runs from Johns Hopkins University up through Ruxton, Riderwood and east Pikesville, would be home to five delegates seeking three seats.

The new 9th District, running from Towson up to the Pennsylvania line, would be home to incumbent senators Piccinini, a Democrat with no strong alliances to other county politicians, and F. Vernon Boozer, a Republican. Pitting the two was no accident: The western boundary of that district veers west to pick up half of a precinct that includes Piccinini's home. "It's so blatant," said Carolyn Rodis, Piccinini's chief aide.

Rodis said Piccinini may end up moving into the new 11th District, which includes much of her current district. In that case, she would take on another Democratic incumbent, Sen. Paula C. Hollinger.

Baltimore Sen. Julian L. Lapides saw his district evaporate. He is now lumped in with fellow Democrat Sen. Larry Young in the new 44th District, which takes in the central section of the city.

Lapides, who is white, would face a tough test in the new `D district, which is 85 percent black, according to several city politicians.

"I'm not going to be a baby and cry," said Lapides, a 28-year veteran of the State House who has lost his district twice before in redistrictings. "If I find a district that is more to my liking, I'll go there."

Del. John J. Bishop, R-Balto. Co., was pushed from the 9th District into the 8th, a move that also split the Towson area.

"Baltimore County will no longer have a Towson district," Bishop said. "It really is destroying the integrity of that entire core area."

Bishop and other county lawmakers blamed the disruptions on the commission's insistence on giving Baltimore control of eight, instead of seven, legislative districts.

Montgomery County, the fastest growing area of the state, picks up one new district, for a total of seven. Some county officials had pushed for two new districts in the county.

Districts in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore remain largely unchanged.

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