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Redistricting Faces Challenges in Keeping Neighborhoods Together

Competing requirements are challenging City’s redistricting efforts to keep the neighborhood together.

Reapportionment Criteria in Section C2‐2 of the City Charter requires that the reappropriation should be based on (a) population, which includes residents counted in the federal census and (b) actual Voters, which may include residents who voted in either: the immediately preceding statewide election or the immediately preceding City election. Though the Charter does not set any hard numbers, it requires the sum of the population and actual voters should be “substantially equal” across the districts.

The Charter also states that the map should consider other factors such as preserving the core of existing districts, commonality of local economic and social interests, geographic compactness, respect for the neighborhood, and Federal and State requirements. This way, the neighbors living together in one cohesive community can stay together and advocate for their shared causes and goals.

You can see the Commission’s proposed maps here. The draft consultant maps can be viewed here.

At the 9/27 meeting, concerns were expressed about keeping the core of the neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods will not stay together in the proposed maps. For example, District 1 comprises most of the north College Park (Hollywood, Daniels Park and Oaks Spring). Unfortunately, in all five proposed maps, the district 1 boundaries have moved the southern boundary a couple of blocks to the north. The Daniels Park and most Oaks Spring neighborhoods will move out from district 1.

Because no significant roads divide the neighborhoods, most residents think these three neighborhoods are part of one cohesive community. Many District 1 residents haven’t even heard of the names of the Daniels Park and Oak Spring neighborhoods, and even if they’ve heard them, they do not know where the boundaries are. All three neighborhoods have a common characteristic of similar single-family homes, with middle/upper-middle-class working and senior families. There has also been an increasing immigrant/Hispanic population in these three neighborhoods.

Similar concerns were expressed about the proposed District 3 maps, which exclude the College Park Estates and Yarrow neighborhoods from District 3.

Left: Current District 1 map. The boundary lines are shown in red. The proposed maps more or less will remove the neighborhood areas in yellow from District 1. Right: One of the proposed maps. 

At the 9/27 meeting, the Council discussed revisiting the maps to address the concerns. One way to keep the neighborhoods could be by expanding the population and actual voters criteria from the current target of 10% (-5% to +5%) to something more. Using these modified criteria, the Council is expected to discuss some additional proposed maps at next week’s Council worksession.

For District 3, it is suggested to keep all existing neighborhoods in the new District 3. Unfortunately, the proposed maps will still keep District 1 divided. It’s possible to keep the traditional neighborhoods in all respective districts together, as mandated by the City Charter, by relaxing Commission’s self-imposed criteria on population plus active voter numbers.

Section C2‐2 of the City Charter requires the review of the council districts at least every ten years soon after the available federal census. City Council established the Redistricting Commission in February 2022 and appointed members in April 2022.

The federal requirement is for the population to be within 5% of the ideal number. This is related to the 2020 Census population data, not the combined population and actual voters. For the districts, this number varies from 7.2% low in District 1 to 8.2% high in District 4. Thus redistricting is necessary.

The Council also discussed amending the Charter to change or exclude the “actual voters” criteria. For various reasons, since the last redistricting, the District 1 and 3 residents have been more and more engaged during the election period over the past decade compared to the residents of other districts. This number will negatively impact the current District 1 and District 3 residents because these two districts will be significantly changed/divided partly because of their increased engagement during the election period. The Council will most likely bring for further discussion at a future meeting.

Residents can submit comments about the redistricting plan by writing to the Mayor and Council at cpmc@collegeparkmd.gov.

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2 Comments to “Redistricting Faces Challenges in Keeping Neighborhoods Together”

  1. By kennis termini, October 2, 2022 @ 7:15 pm

    As a current resident of District 1 for the past 49 years, I am opposed to the suggested changes. This change would now remove my household from D1 and also construed to be a vieled but a concerted effort to take punitive action against our two sitting elected representatives on the City Council.

    This appears on the surface as a collaberative effort on the part of a few to undermine the civic responsibilty demonstrated by D1 and D3. We vote and now its coming to pass that our engagement in civic pride will now be punished. Is this representative of our new America?

  2. By Jazs, October 4, 2022 @ 5:31 am

    I disagree that there is a need to revise Districts and suggest waiting until all the new apartments etc are finished being built and filled. Your voters will balance out.

    If you cannot stop this Redistricting:

    ☆ Can residents Vote on these proposed changes? (rather than just commenting)

    ☆ Please expand your reach out to Residents so that everyone is aware of these proposed maps and the impacts

    ☆ Ensure feedback is provided by a significant and representative percentage of Residents in each District

    Please follow the Charter and prevent these dividing maps!

    ☆ Please get maps that keep the core neighborhoods together and represent shared interests – particularly District 1

    ☆ Do Not merge Hollywood with the Cherry Hill Road traffic nonsense etc.

    QUESTIONS

    1. Why not share the Public feedback with Residents too and in real time?

    https://collegeparkmdredistricting2022.com/public-comment/

    2. Why are these the only findable requests for public feedback and what is the public feedback timeline?

    https://nextdoor.com/agency-post/md/college-park/city-of-college-park/college-park-redistricting-2022-237994730/

    https://www.kabircares.org/redistricting-faces-challenges-in-keeping-neighborhoods-together/

    https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid0snRUU1xNfmTpfJmU8hoadyUP3gJCkLeyPf4b44VBDpi2kuGbhDzgTwDo59T2D52Kl&id=100064857421482

    https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid0LGgWQw57dz4Nd2QFYkmQNKU5F1ANfZoUYQYd88DoWh1Jxfd3nC1DfHqJVA3H5YQzl&id=100000421233656

    https://dbknews.com/2022/09/15/college-park-redistricting-public-hearing/

    3. How do the proposed maps follow these requirements?

    We are to take into account:

    • “Commonality of local economic and social interests”

    • “Preservation of core of existing council districts”

    • “Geographic compactness of the districts”

    • “Respect for neighborhood”

    Thanks for getting input from the Residents (and preventing what appears to be a political division).

    Jazs
    Hollywood Tax Payer & Voter & Community Advocate