Letters to the editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 25, 2005

Delegation should get more credit

In the article, "Carroll legislators OK a district plan" dated 12/14/2005, the author wrote that in selecting a commissioner districting plan, the state delegation ignored "prevailing sentiment and the recommendation of a committee that worked six months to create five commissioner districts." This statement is far from the truth.

I believe that I speak for all the members of the state delegation when I state that every member carefully reviewed and considered the recommendation of the districting commission and the residents who expressed their opinions to us.

I commend the members of the districting commission for their hard work. They spent many hours compiling information, developing plans and considering various proposals. Their work was instrumental in the final decision on where the commissioner district lines would be drawn.

It is simply unfair and inaccurate to state that by selecting a different district plan, the state delegation ignored the commission's work and the opinions of the residents who spoke in favor of the commission's recommendation.

Many readers may not know that the districting commission was more divided than the state delegation over the commissioner district issue. The Sun article implied that the commission was unanimous in their decision. To the contrary, the commission was divided 4-3 over the two final options.

It is also interesting to note that the three Democratic members [chosen by the Carroll County Democratic Party] supported Option 2 and the three Republican members [chosen by the Carroll County Republican Party] supported Option 1. The state delegation, after hearing public testimony and reviewing the commission's report, voted 5-2 in favor of Option 1.

It is also inaccurate to say that the "prevailing sentiment" was for Option 1. Based upon the public testimony and the emails/correspondence I received on this issue, the residents were as evenly divided over this issue as the districting commission. Therefore, despite the statements in the article, a clear majority of the public was not in favor of one option over the other.

Finally, I was disappointed that the article had three quotes from people supporting the commission's plan and only one quote from someone who supported the state delegation's decision. Therefore, I feel it is important for me to explain my vote. I supported Option 1 because it kept more communities of interest together. In particular, unlike Option 2, Option 1 did not divide Finksburg or Sykesville. It also did not separate Sykesville from Eldersburg.

Allan H. Kittleman State Senate, District 9

Delegate's vote based on homework

Carroll County's delegation recently decided between two plans, Option One and Option Two, in setting five districts for commissioner elections. The path to my decision was independent and deliberate in voting for Option One. This option was chosen to benefit my constituents in District 5A and to provide a vision for the future for all of Carroll County.

Constituents in unincorporated Finksburg deserve to be united into one district to gain a local elected spokesman. Eldersburg and Sykesville are essentially the same town as they share the same zip code and post office. They should remain together as they will under Option One.

Hampstead and Manchester each already have a mayor and town council who are elected to speak for them. Having two commissioner voices to speak up for this northern area of District 5A will be most valuable when it comes time to build the proposed second high school.

Looking at the six years of growth that have occurred since the last census, it is apparent that the population of Hampstead has grown to such an extent that it will in four years cause a reduction in the size of its district by increased population, such that it likely would be split from Manchester anyway. It would make sense to have a longitudinal view from the beginning that recognizes the growth patterns and projections in the vision for Carroll's future.

Both Option One and Option Two meet the eight legal criteria and were deemed equal plans for community review by the districting committee. While the committee that studied this issue did a Herculean job to involve voters, it appears that with citizen apathy they only received the input of 70 people when they made their recommendation as to the favored option.

Wanting to hear from the average voter, my legislative aide and I surveyed in Hampstead and Manchester areas to find that only 4 out of every 10 even knew what we were talking about and most did not care how the districts were drawn.

A survey of Finksburg residents showed strong sentiment about being divided. After consulting districting committee members, Joe Getty and Janet Jump, who voted for opposite options for drawing district lines, I made my decision for the reasons enumerated above.

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