By Danny Golombek.
Whether we’re digging a neighbor out of the snow, coaching in a Rec Council sports league, or baking for a PTA fundraiser, nobody knows our communities better than the people who live in them.
Whatever our color, background or zip code, in America we value our freedom. The freedom to have a say in decisions that impact our lives—from increasing green spaces to creating new schools to making our community more walkable.
But the Redistricting Commission’s plan will divide us into districts serving other interests instead of our communities’ needs. It does not advance the common good as it does not reflect the current county demographics.
With the proposed map the elected officials pick and choose who counts. This is wrong. We elect our leaders, they work for us, they have to work for our vote, they have to come to us for feedback—not wait for us to come to them.
Around half of the County’s budget is an investment in education. Instead of adding census tracts until the magic number of 122,382 is reached, the commission could have aggregated based on the feeder schools, thus making the elected Board of Education members more representative of that district’s educational ecosystem – from pre-K to high school.
It is possible to create fair and equitable maps: the ACLU, NAACP Baltimore County, NAACP Randallstown and Indivisible Towson, using the same census data as the commission, have demonstrated that.
Maps are just drawings and census tracts are just numbers. These drawings and numbers affect people who should have the freedom to elect leaders that truly represent them — not only championing their causes but also understanding the communities they represent. When everyone, regardless of color or census tract, has the resources they need to lead a better life, the community as a whole benefits.
We can make our communities whole and deliver what our schools and families need for a decade to come.
The Baltimore County Council needs to act with urgency in calling for additional hearings in all districts and rework the proposed councilmanic boundaries.
Danny Golombek resides in Lutherville and is the President of the Baltimore County Progressive Democrats Club