Thursday, September 1, 2011

Maryland Juice's Montgomery County Redistricting Testimony // Thanks, Red Maryland!

Today, Maryland Juice will submit testimony to the Montgomery County Redistricting Commission. As a reminder to the public, MoCo is holding a public hearing tonight on two competing County Council maps. Both proposals would re-draw the  boundaries of the county's five single member Council districts. One plan comes from the MoCo Republicans, while the other comes from their Democratic counterparts.

We previously analyzed the competing plans in a prior post entitled: Montgomery County Council Redistricting Review. Nevertheless, the basic summary is that the Democratic plan tinkers with the existing boundaries by swapping a few towns and neighborhoods between districts (ie: Poolesville, Kensington, Leisure World, etc). In contrast, the Republican plan is a laughable gerrymander that is the subject of my testimony below.

I am submitting this testimony at the request of GOP Blogger, Red Maryland's Brian Griffiths. In a June 26th post titled, "Redistricting Starts at Home," he put out the following call to action:
If you're not a resident of Anne Arundel County, I encourage you to look into your own local redistricting process and getting involved. This is where the rubber meets the road folks, so if you want to have an impact, this is a great place to start.
 I would also like to thank Red Maryland for providing me with much of the text for my testimony below:

Montgomery County Redistricting Commission:

I am writing in opposition to Redistricting Commission Member Henry Kahwaty's plan for the County Council. His map is appalling in its visible and obvious political motivations, given that the proposed gerrymander would mangle the existing districts into an unrecognizable form. This would, presumably, all be done for the purpose of trying to squeeze as many Republicans into one district as possible. Acknowledging this motivation, it seems notable that the GOP plan will likely fail to meet its intended purpose (ie: Republican registration will only comprise roughly 30% in the proposed District 2).

With that, I submit to the members of the Redistricting Commission the following persuasive principles from leading Republican political pundit Brian Griffiths of the Red Maryland blog. I have modified the original text to fit Montgomery County's circumstances (note: deleted original text is marked with a strikethrough):

"Residents of all Maryland counties should be entitled to districts that are compact in size and share similar characteristics to the remainder of their district to the extent possible. This should be an ideal applied at all levels of government."

"There is but one way that this Commission and Governor O’Malley can do what is in the best interests of the people of the state of Maryland. That is to ensure that the Congressional and legislative district lines introduced and passed into this state are fair. By fair, I mean geographically compact districts, which are composed of communities and constituencies, which share a common interest."

Mr. Kahwaty's plan, by creating a massive new horseshoe gerrymander, violates the wise principles written by Mr. Griffiths:
The plan is in no way compact, and by creating a massive District 2, it forces many communities and constituencies together who share no obvious common interests. The only conclusion can be that this is a partisan gerrymander. Please reject Mr. Kahwaty's plan. 
Maryland Juice
Now, if it seems like I'm being snarky, maybe it is because I'm fed up with Republicans complaining about redistricting. It seems so disingenuous after hearing them defend all of their unbelievably shocking re-redistricting shenanigans from the last decade. A quick reminder for those of you who don't remember, but the Republicans started doing an unprecedented SECOND round of redistricting, mid-decade just to wipe out the Democrats in various states (ie: Texas and Georgia). The Texas Democratic State Legislators fled the state to prevent a quorum in the statehouse! Never forget who we're dealing with.

The Commission's meeting is TONIGHT - September 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM; the public is invited to comment on the proposed maps. If you have comments for the Commission, please contact 240-777-7896 or send email

No comments:

Post a Comment