Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Franchot - Vote No on Question 5 - Redistricting Map

I find it weird that I'm agreeing more and more with Democrat Peter Franchot, the current State Comptroller.  As I've mentioned before, when he was a state delegate in Montgomery County I thought he was very untrustworthy.  Now I don't think he's half bad.

This week, Comptroller Franchot went on the record against Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on the issue of the Congressional redistricting map that O'Malley and the Democrat-dominated Maryland General Assembly created.  Franchot described the Congressional map as paint splatter and correctly identified the districts as not compact, once a requirement in Article 1, Section 4 Congressional elections, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, though the Supreme Court has muddled the issue with the Equal Protection Clause.  States have pounced on that clause as a valid reason to shove voters into non-compact districts in order to work the election into their favor.

What was really interesting, and most likely valid, is that Franchot said that the Democrats do not need the highly irregular maps to win the Congressional elections, save for 1 or 2 districts.  But since Maryland is about 35% Republican and there are 8 districts, it makes sense that two of them are Represented by Republicans, correct?

And my ultimate favorite statement is that the Congressional districts proposed are an embarrassment to the state and should be created by a bi-partisan commission rather than elected legislators and the Governor.  I don't think Martin O'Malley is embarrassed by his blatant manipulation of the voters in Maryland.  If Franchot wins the gubernatorial election next time, and I'm pretty sure he'll run, I'm going to hold him to that proposal.

The most striking map is District 3 represented by former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbane's son John Sarbanes.  Again, if his name was John Rupper, he would not have been elected.  I hope he thanks his father every day for winning that election for him.

I found this article identifying the most non-compact districts in the country.  Maryland has 6 districts in the 50-worst mapped districts, with Sarbanes' District 3 as the 3rd worst.  And for reference, there are 428 Congressional districts in the United States.  Sarbanes district spans many counties and crosses rivers that are not contiguous with the land around it.  Sarbanes' district goes up streets, turns left on allies, and makes a few stops at Starbucks for a pumpkin latte with a nutmeg sprinkle.  Is that a fair district?

As the article states comically, O'Malley's spokewoman Raquel Guillory said that the redistricting method was necessary due to population shifts.  I guess technically that can mean population shifts of Republicans across the state.  I suppose if O'Malley had his way, all Republicans would be compacted in far away  Garrett County, a county that is ignored to the point that it doesn't even have a casino.

This is another fine example of the disingenuous leadership in Maryland.  Thank goodness for Comptroller Franchot's constant watch-dogging of our elected officials.

In summary, I think it would be wise to vote NO on Question 5.

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