Democrat sues for delegate's files

Using public information law, Carroll party chairman asks for districting survey results

March 04, 2006|By MARY GAIL HARE | MARY GAIL HARE,SUN REPORTER

The chairman of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee filed a lawsuit yesterday under the Maryland Public Information Act, demanding all records related to a state delegate's survey on how Carroll should be divided into five commissioner districts.

Martin Radinsky, a member of the redistricting committee that worked six months to create a map dividing the county into five commissioner districts, said he repeatedly asked Del. Tanya T. Shewell, a Carroll County Republican, for the results of an informal survey she conducted last year on map options for the new districts.

When Shewell failed to respond to his requests, Radinsky, an Annapolis banker who lives in Eldersburg, filed suit in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. He also asked for all legal fees associated with the suit, which cost him $105.

"I want the survey and all her notes," Radinsky said. "Even if it was unscientific, she took notes and she has records. The law is specific. I have the right to sue for this information."

In a local newspaper column, Shewell described how she polled registered voters at two shopping centers in North Carroll. She said that she found most preferred the map option that places Hampstead and Manchester in two different districts.

That map, known as Option One, has been submitted to the General Assembly, which must approve the new districts. The House Environmental Matters Committee is reviewing the bill after conducting a public hearing last month.

The redistricting committee had recommended an alternative map that kept the two northern towns together.

"I want to know how she framed her questions and if she showed residents the map options," Radinsky said. "This information is important to the public debate."

Shewell said Radinsky could have saved his money. On advice from the Attorney General's Office, she said she has turned over her personal work on the survey.

"I took what was relevant to the AG, who will forward it within 30 days of Mr. Radinsky's [Feb. 17] letter," Shewell said. "I have done what the law requires."

Bonnie Kirkland, assistant attorney general, confirmed yesterday that she is "in the process of collecting all the information requested."

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

The delegation's map is at: baltimoresun.com/carrollmap

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