Rushing through redistricting

Something seems awful fishy about this scheme.

On Monday, the Maryland Department of Planning released a schedule of hearing dates for those interested to speak out about the proposed Congressional and legislative redistricting. Today, just five days later, those in western Maryland will have just a few hours to speak up about how their region will be sliced and diced by the majority Democrats (and RINO who now consults for the O’Malley administration) into gerrymandered blobs suitable only for a Rorschach nightmare. On the other hand, the entire Eastern Shore will be covered in one Saturday at the start of ‘second season.’

Here’s the schedule breakdown:

  • Saturday, July 23 – Hancock (Washington County) and Frederick (Frederick County) at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively
  • Monday, July 25 – Largo (Prince George’s County) at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 10 – Rockville (Montgomery County) at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, August 12 – Baltimore City at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 24 – La Plata (Charles County) at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 27 – Bel Air (Harford County) and Towson (Baltimore County) at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively
  • Tuesday, August 30 – Anne Arundel and Howard counties, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively
  • Saturday, September 10 – Salisbury (Wicomico County) and Wye Mills (Queen Anne’s County) at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively

So the Republican areas of the state seem to be stacked up with multiple hearings on one day, while the Democratic and minority areas will have theirs mostly in the evenings. Yeah, that’s a fair hearing opportunity. Also, seven of the twelve hearings will be on weekends where people want to relax and may have made vacation plans.

Speakers addressing both Congressional and legislative redistricting will have five minutes to speak, which means at a maximum there’s going to be only about 15 to 20 able to testify at any weekend hearing. My guess is that hearings will likely be held to a two-hour maximum, particularly if you’re the first in a line of two – far western Maryland, Harford County, Anne Arundel County, and the lower Eastern Shore seem to be getting the short end of the stick here. (So what else is new?)

The other interesting item is requesting speaking time in advance. (Don’t worry, I’ve already signed up for the Wicomico County hearing so there should be at least one voice of sanity.) Who says that Democrats weren’t already tipped off to allow them to get the prime speaking slots? Maybe that’s overreaching a little bit, but the biggest problem with this hearing is that we don’t have a plan to criticize yet (aside from the Republican Congressional redistricting plan.) If we had a preliminary plan put out by the Governor, it would make for more meaningful discussion. We already know some Democrats dream of an 8-0 sweep in the Congressional delegation, and with just a few tweaks in the First and Sixth Districts (like pushing the First into Baltimore City and the Sixth into Montgomery County) they may achieve that goal – a nightmare scenario for the Maryland GOP.

Trust me, I think the die is cast already. But we should put our opposition on the record and perhaps use this momentum to fundraise for a court fight.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

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