Democrats dominate council redistricting Several years...


November 04, 2001

Democrats dominate council redistricting

Several years ago the County Council voted to adopt a new plan to help end the partisanship associated with the councilmanic redistricting process. Unfortunately, that plan failed miserably - if this year's Redistricting Commission proposal is adopted by the full council next month.

While the removal of partisanship seemed like a good ideal and a worthy goal under the Ecker administration and Republican-controlled council in 1995, that goal was apparently not shared by the current, Democrat-dominated council.

The process was seriously flawed from the start when Democrat Council members Vernon Gray, Mary Lorsung and Guy Guzzone appointed four very partisan Democrat tacticians to form the majority of the new commission.

Over the last several months, it has been very clear that the Democrats have just one goal in mind. That goal was to pack all the Republicans in the county into one or two districts and ensure that three Democrats would be elected to the council.

The commission violated the basic aims of the U.S. census and the directive of forming compact districts. The whole idea of having a census is so that we can have "one man - one vote" and Council Districts of equal size. The Commission had ideal plans submitted by Warren Miller and Michael Deets that accomplished that goal but they were voted down.

The plan the commission adopted on a party-line vote created districts of unequal population. The plan the Democrats adopted also creates essentially three Columbia districts, even though Columbia only has 40 percent of the Howard County population.

Finally, the Democrats' plan creates a huge 5th District, which stretches from Carroll County all the way to Laurel in an attempt to pack all the Republicans into one district.

The idea that this commission was bipartisan or fair [to] the citizens of Howard County is a fraud. While the Republicans tried to create districts that could be won by a candidate of either party, the Democrats were out for Democrat survival.

I believe the record is very clear. The Republicans have tried to be open-minded and bipartisan but this is typical Maryland politics as usual. The plan, which will be presented and probably adopted by the full Council, is very partisan, unfairly crafted and is a disservice to the voters of Howard County.

Louis M. Pope


Chairman Howard County Republican Party

Slowing development by halting immigration

Recent letters calling for population limitations as a way to control development growth in Howard County are convincing. A national immigration moratorium is necessary.

Ever-growing population overwhelms any resistance to development. Pipes and roads beget people faster than people beget people. How can that be? Because of immigration.

Under a national immigration moratorium, developers will lose their development market, but only gradually. There will be no economic hardship. Natural adaptations will occur.

During the 1990s, Maryland's foreign-born increased by 69 percent. This does not count their American-born children.

And, immigration costs. On average, one person added to a community burdens each taxpayer in that locality with infrastructure costs of $15,378, not counting annual operating costs - like, for example, the $1.2 billion to install nitrogen removal technology in most of the 288 major sewage treatment plants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Sam Calaby


School redistricting hurts students, families

As a parent of three children attending two Howard County schools, I can tell you without a doubt that my children are receiving an excellent academic education ... both comprehensive and challenging. The school's teachers, administration and staff are dedicated, caring, and well-qualified individuals. ... Our school districts benefit from services such as Child Find, and others offered to county students. ...

I have but one concern regarding my children's education. I desperately would like to see Howard County support community-based schools and a feeder school system. My oldest child has been separated from many friends over the years due to redistricting.

Many families in our county have shared the same fate. I've read quotes from school principals in the newspaper stating how difficult this is for students. They have spoken of students' grades and self-esteem falling due to the trauma of redistricting.

These roots, formed in the early school years, are important to students and their parents. As a child becomes older, it is of the utmost importance that he or she make good choices in friends. This may take time.

Parents rely on parent networks for car pooling, advice and a sense of community. These relationships, based on trust, are built over time and cannot be dismissed lightly.

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