Guest Post: Activists Remain Silent on "Fair" Baltimore County Congressional Maps
County Councilman David Marks ponders why
This is a guest post from Baltimore County Councilman David Marks. Councilman Marks is the senior Republican on the Baltimore County Council.
Like all jurisdictions, Baltimore County is redrawing its legislative boundaries to reflect the latest U.S. Census count. Our charter requires that each of the seven Council districts be “compact, contiguous, and substantially equal in population, and in which due regard is given to current natural, geographic, and community boundaries.”
The map that is before the Baltimore County Council right now creates logical, compact districts that unify neighborhoods like no other earlier plan. The Council proposal would result in two majority-minority districts, as well as two additional districts with significant minority populations—but that has still generated criticism from some advocates.
I always defend the right of citizens to engage in robust debate, but regrettably, the rhetoric has been increasingly toxic.
Truthfully, a qualified candidate of any race could be elected almost anywhere in Baltimore County. In 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama was victorious in Baltimore County by large margins, and minority candidates have either won or almost won legislative districts such as in my hometown of Perry Hall.
But what really frustrates me, however, is the indifference most of these activists have toward the proposed state and federal Congressional maps.
The County Council redistricting was bipartisan—the chairman of the commission is a Republican, and the vote on the map was unanimous—and the map shows the logical boundaries produced when there is collaboration between leaders from both parties.
The state redistricting process produced tortuous boundaries designed to eliminate every Republican from Maryland’s Congressional delegation. In Baltimore County, the lines are grotesque, splitting many communities—yet there is a not a whiff of complaint from activists pushing for “fair” County Council maps.
Republicans have been rightfully criticized in some states for gerrymandering, but Democrats are doing it in places like Illinois, Nevada, and yes—Maryland.
Where is the outrage?