POLITICAL FOUL PLAY
My friend Harry Storm is normally a mild-mannered attorney in Bethesda. But Harry is very upset these days. Harry recently got a look at the new Congressional redistricting map for Maryland and couldn’t believe what he saw.
After the 2010 census, all states redrew their congressional districts. In many states, this is done by an impartial judicial board. In Maryland, it was done by the heavily Democratic legislature. The district lines were drawn up in such a fashion as to make the 6th Congressional district, now represented by Republican Roscoe Bartlett, more favorable for Democrats. To do that, some heavily Democratic pieces of Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties were attached to the 6th, and large portions of lightly populated Republican western Maryland were attached to the Democratic 8th. Nothing about this new map makes any logical geographic sense.
“Where is the outrage from the good-government types in Maryland?” Harry asked me. “Does anybody think the people are better served to have Montgomery County now be part of three different Congressional districts?”
Harry is right. This should not be a partisan issue. You may not agree with Roscoe Barlett’s politics, but nobody can claim he has not served his district honorably in Congress for the last two decades. His Democratic challenger is John Delaney, a respected local businessman. The district will be well represented no matter which man wins. But the more important point is the issue of fairness.
There is a website www.mdpetitions.com. If you go to it and click on the “redistricting petitions” link, you can study the handiwork of the state legislature. If you are motivated to do something about it, you can sign the petition as Harry and I both have done. If the petition gets enough signatures, the redistricting plan will be brought before the voters this November to be either approved or rejected. If it is turned down, a non-partisan panel will re-draft the districts.
I can’t imagine any open-minded Marylander who takes the time to look at this contrived mess the legislature created giving it their approval.
Fair play makes for good government, both Core Values.