Pikesville's state legislators told their constituents last night that they have reached the 11th hour for the 11th District.
Sen. Paula C. Hollinger said the redistricting plan approved Dec. 18 by the governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee would chop up communities and decimate the district she has represented for 14 years.
She said there are problems with the plan everywhere in the district: Communities such as Imperial Gardens and Millbrook would be divided; some 16,000 people would be shifted into the city-based 42nd District; and the Pikesville business district -- the focus of an intensive revitalization effort in the past decade -- would be split between the city and the county.
"It's just a mess," said Ms. Hollinger, a Democrat.
Democratic Delegate Richard Rynd also told the 60 people at the Pikesville Library that the profile of the entire district would change, becoming more conservative and more Republican. "My district is just going to be a lot less Democratic," he said.
The legislators called the meeting last night to rally opposition and fight the plan.
They said it was in the hands of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who is to review it today and tomorrow, and they distributed his office telephone number and hundreds of form letters urging him to keep Pikesville and Randallstown intact.
"He wants to hear from the people of Pikesville. He wants to hear from the people of Randallstown. He is committed to making changes to the map, but he is not going to make them without hearing from you," Ms. Hollinger said.
The problem, Mr. Rynd said, is that Baltimore has a declining population and needs to maintain its political clout by drawing population from county precincts and forming joint city-county districts.
This has angered people throughout Baltimore County, particularly residents of communities along the Baltimore Beltway who say that sharing state legislators with the city will mean diluted representation.
In the 11th District, it means at least 16,000 residents east of Park Heights Avenue and south of the Beltway will be taken out of the district and instead will share a senator and three delegates with the city-based 42nd District.
Delegate Theodore Levin, also a Democrat, said this could spell problems when the legislature has to decide on issues like funding levels for police aid and school construction.
'If you are a delegate with a district that's 80 percent Baltimore City and 20 percent Baltimore County, who are you going to be thinking of first? Who are you going to be working for first?" added Mr. Rynd.
To make up for the loss of those communities, the advisory committee's plan would add northern Baltimore County communities such as Timonium and Cockeysville to the 11th District.
But those communities are seen as heavily Republican and conservative, a formula that wouldn't mix well with the traditionally liberal interests of Pikesville.
Along with making for a more conservative district, such a move could spell the end to their political careers, the legislators acknowledged.
"It could be that we're going to be gone, that we're just not going to be around anymore," Mr. Rynd said. "This next election will possibly be the end of us."