Redistricting plan is the meanest form of partisan...


February 04, 2002

Redistricting plan is the meanest form of partisan politics

The congressional [redistricting] plan released by the governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee has brought out the worst in mean-spirited politics in Maryland ("Planned districts preserve power," Jan. 25).

As with the redistricting plan for the state legislature, county lines are deemed meaningless. Baltimore County is carved into five separate congressional districts, Anne Arundel County into four and Harford County into three.

Gerrymandering reared its ugly head with the new 3rd District, which takes a narrow, snake-like path through Baltimore City to connect two other jurisdictions with Baltimore County.

Communities and regions of interest are split in the name of a "6-2" plan touted by national Democrats, who fume over the even split in the current congressional delegation.

And apparently, Maryland's political diversity does not count when it comes to electing its congressmen.

J. Lowell Stoltzfus


The writer is minority leader of the Maryland Senate.

Add the congressional redistricting map to the list of disasters from the Glendening-Townsend administration.

The map carves Baltimore County into parts of five bizarre districts, diluting the votes of one of Maryland's largest jurisdictions. Residents in Hunt Valley are thrown into a district that stretches from the Susquehanna River to Garrett County. Mays Chapel will now likely be represented by an Eastern Shore congressman.

Communities throughout the county are splintered and mangled just so the Democrats can gain another congressional seat.

It is astounding to read that County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger has no problem with this map (maybe because he plans to run for Congress in a tailor-made district). The Democrat running to succeed Mr. Ruppersberger, Jim Smith, has been silent as well.

Baltimore County voters should remember who sat quietly by while the Glendening-Townsend administration ripped their county to pieces.

Ron Etzel


The writer is vice chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Party.

Viewing the map of Maryland showing the proposed congressional districts, it's hard to imagine any logic was used to draw these lines. And I cannot believe anyone would view this as a fair process.

Party politics are still the driving force in our state.

James Charvat


GOP should stop whining and start building coalitions

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has long been a master of politics and government process. The new congressional districts are a prime example ("Planned districts preserve power," Jan. 25).

But Republicans, instead of endless complaining about unfairness and contemplating expensive court challenges, could try to work together to elect our candidates. What a novel concept.

Who knows? Maybe one day we will get to draw these lines ourselves.

David Blumberg


The writer is a former chairman of the Baltimore City Republican Party.

Drunken driver deserves to be charged with homicide

I was encouraged to see homicide charges filed against the drunken driver who struck [and killed] police Sgt. Mark Parry ("Charges grow against man held in officer's road death," Jan. 29).

Driving an automobile while intoxicated is the same as pulling out a gun: If the loaded weapon is aimed at a human being, the results are no accident.

Until our judicial system realizes this, many more terrible tragedies will occur -- and too many killers will be out on the roads, driving the same streets with us and our children.

Jane F. Riley


Untended tree seedlings send kids wrong message

The Sun's article "With unkind cuts, trees turn to mulch" (Jan. 23) complained about city mowers taking down tree seedlings. If the mowers hadn't taken them out, would the weeds have obliged by not over-growing the seedlings?

I think ecology groups are being irresponsible, not ecological, in planting hundreds of evenly spaced seedlings, then expecting the city to cultivate them. To me, planting even a 3- or 5-year-old tree in a city lot is tantamount to abandonment, and not praiseworthy at all.

Tree plantings receive too much attention and send the wrong message. They tell kids that it's OK to be a deadbeat tree dad -- plant 'em and forget 'em.

Stop the tree madness, Maryland, and find better ways to cultivate instead of complaining.

Dan Prives


Senators ducked a chance to stop corrupt accounting

The Sun's article "Mikulski, Sarbanes question tighter SEC accounting" (Jan. 20) says it all: Our liberal U.S. senators wrote letters raising questions in order to kill a major initiative that might have restricted Arthur Andersen Inc. from the $27 million consulting fees it collected from Enron in 2001 -- a year in which it also collected $25 million in auditing fees.

All this as these two senators received more than $23,000 in campaign contributions from Arthur Andersen.

Our senators ducked when they could have stood up to this ongoing accounting corruption and protected the little guy. They both know better.

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