|Do the math.
If you live on Kent Island itís time to dust off the old abacus and start crunching the numbers being thrown around by the Queen Anneís County Committee to Determine Commissioner District Boundaries. If it isnít already obvious to you that youíre not being taken seriously in Centreville, it wonít be long before you get the picture.
You donít need a degree in rocket science to do the math. Counting to five should be sufficient. (For some of my friends that means having to take off just one shoe!) The magic numbers to remember are 5 and 2. Five elected county commissioners. Two representing Kent Island.
This is the bottom line in all of the various plans currently under consideration for dividing the county into five voting districts.
The plan that received the most discussion at a July 9th meeting was presented by County Administrator Mark Belton. His plan, modified by the committee from four to three districts, would allow two resident commissioners from Kent Island, two from Centreville/North County, one from Queenstown/Grasonville. That plan, like others under consideration, is reportedly based on the 2000 federal census population figures showing 16,812 residents on Kent Island, 15,976 for Centreville/North County and 7,713 in the Grasonville/Queenstown area.
On the face of it, the distribution of voting representation seems reasonable except for one small detail.
Any redistricting plan for Queen Anneís County that is based on what was, and not on what will be, is horribly flawed. For proof of that you need look no further than a county study released recently.
The Route 8 Corridor Traffic Study from the Queen Anneís County Department of Planning projects 3,832 residential units to be built on Kent Island alone by 2010, which would effectively increase the population of Kent Island by 50%, or about 8000 new residents. This is based on developments known to the county at this time, and does not include new projects that will be initiated during the next decade, or permits granted for homes on septic systems.
So itís not inconceivable, based on the countyís own projections, that Kent Island could end up with more than 50% of Queen Anneís population by 2010. Yet the Committee to Determine Commissioner District Boundaries, believes redistricting lines should be based on the 2000 census - and that Kent Island should be content to have a minority (40%) voting representation.
There is hope however. The committee is also considering optional plans. One calls for five at large candidates with no residency districts.
In my humble opinion the ďfive at largeĒ candidate plan is the only one that can provide the built-in flexibility necessary to adapt to future shifts in population, and provide voters fair representation based on where they live.
Drawing lines in the
sand isnít the answer...
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Evans. Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.