From Roy Whiteley, president of Marylanders For Fair Property Taxation:
President Boniface and Members of the Harford County Council
Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last evening’s Council hearing on the redistricting of Harford County. We would, however, like to contribute these brief comments for future consideration of the matter.
As we see the situation, it is not a matter of political party affiliation be they Republican, Democrat, or some splinter organization or who ends up with the political advantage in future elections any more than it is a matter of gender, race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, the number of voters who exercised their privilege or any other grouping you care to tag on the matter of apportioning the available potential voter population in a fair and equitable manner. The only thing that matters is a fair and equal distribution based on the existing population within a relatively closely related and homogeneous geographic area.
That being said, it appears the simplest method of achieving such a distribution or “redistricting” would be an impartial computerized plan based on population within a contiguous area. You have in County employment a very talented Chief Information Officer, namely Justus Eapen, and an able staff supporting him, that in a short period of time could develop a computer model that would apportion the eligible voter population without regard to any political aspects within the geographic confines of the defined number of districts of this county. We urge your consideration of this nonpolitical and simplistic solution to this redistricting question.
Thank You. Roy Whiteley
I have been monitoring the comments on the redistricting at the Dagger for some time. What appears to be happening but is not being discussed by political and school administration leaders is Harford County is being set up for development in the future, very near future. I am left with the impression this is not to accommodate current needs but by shifting student populations to accommodate state mandates governing maximum enrollment of students per school – this will allow for sought after development by political leaders and builders in the future. Just thought people might want to consider this while attending the redistricting meetings.
You are mistaken in your impression. There are no state mandates governing maximum attendance for school populations. School districts can over populate building capacities if they choose and maintain that overcrowding for as long as they see fit. The only time such figures become an issue with the state is when counties want state money to help pay for the cost to renovate existing buildings or build new buildings. The current redistricting plan in Harford Co. has nothing to do with residential development. People may speculate, or want to claim it is part of the decision making process to further their positions on redistricting, but this is simply not a factor in determining school boundaries. The fact that building moratoriums will be lifted in certain areas of the county is no more than a bi-product of school redistricting – which is long overdue. If you want to control development in Harford Co. talk to the County Council not the school board. The BOE has nothing to do with zoning or development. If you cannot get the County Council to listen to you then do your best to have the current members defeated in the next election.
What? This letter is talking about the Council redistricting and has nothing to do with school redistricting.
That being said, it’s interesting that Mr. Whitely would rather have a team of county IT employees redraw the council districts while on the taxpayers’ dime, rather than a commission of 3 citizen volunteers.
Also, how does Mr. Whitely reconcile the fact that the commission is required by the charter, and doing what he suggests would be in violation of the law?
The post by Matt clearly suggests a connection between the County Council and school redistricting (balancing school attendance) relative to future development for the benefit builders – in collusion with the County Council. My post related to evidence that would exclude school redistricting as part of his conspiracy theory.
A Healthy Dose says
I am in agreement with Mr. Whiteley’s overall intention, but having County employees and the County CIO involved in re-doing what the U S Census has already done is absurd!
The whole purpose of the Census every 10 years (it’s in the Constitution) is enumeration of the population for redistricting purposes. The U S Census already has a population count BY ADDRESS – that’s what the Census does – and it’s paid for by OUR federal tax dollars!
Last fall a couple states even passed referendums prohibiting use of party affiliation and/or voting records to determine precinct boundaries and voting districts. If we did that here in Maryland perhaps we could put an end to the outrageous gerrymandering that goes on in Annapolis!
frankly speaking says
I’d say that healthy dose needs a dose of reality, social studies and knowledge of census pursose…which has nothing to do school redistricting!!!. What a tool.
Bull Moose says
Hey Frankly, this article doesn’t have anything to do with school redistricting. Who’s the tool now?
It was Matt’s post that blurred the lines between political and school redistricting.
A Healthy Dose says
Did you READ the original post???????????????
A Healthy Dose says
Sorry, I failed to make it clear that I was referring to those who posted regarding school redistricting. To those of you who actually read the original post and understand that this article was about about political redistricting, I apologize.
They wouldn’t even need to design a new system to do this. There are already existing GIS systems in existence that can do exactly that and other than political greed there is no reason NOT to do the redistricting in this manner. Geographically some areas would be bigger than others because of population density, but each district should be relatively close in population size.
For those talking about school redistricting, this article has absolutely nothing to do with the school system.