Towson Community Leaders Vote to Oppose Redistricting Plan
The community group will join an effort by Liberty Road groups to send the new county council map back to the drawing board.
Community leaders say the plan as approved will spread Towson area residents' votes and influence among four different council districts.
"The feeling last night at our executive session, when we took this vote, is we want to make sure that Towson becomes a bigger player in terms of county politics and we feel that when we are a part of everyone's district that we are not necessarily represented the same," said David Kosak, the council's president.
Earlier this month, community groups in the Liberty Road corridor announced plans to push for a referendum on the redistricting plan. Their petition will require 28,826 signatures to put it on the 2012 ballot. Just over 9,500 of those signatures must be turned in by December.
If the petition is successful, it would be the first county law forced to referendum.
Much of Towson is in the 5th district, currently represented by Councilman David Marks of Perry Hall.
In the new redistricting plan, two Towson neighborhoods, Loch Hill and Glendale-Glenmont, would be shifted to the 6th district, represented by Councilwoman Cathy Bevins of Middle River.
Marks has said in interviews that ultimately there was no support on the council for splitting or swapping election precincts to keep the communities in his district.
Some neighborhoods west of downtown Towson, including Ruxton, Riderwood and Lake Roland are already in 2nd district represented by Councilwoman Vicki Almond, while Hampton and other neighborhoods north of the Baltimore Beltway are represented by 3rd district Councilman Todd Huff.
"This is the first step of many for us in Towson to begin to rebuild that Towson district and all along we're not looking for a specific representative or a specific candidate," said Kosak, who stressed that the vote was not a reflection of the group's recent disagreements with Marks. "We're just looking for a district that we feel is more representative of Towson."
At issue in Woodlawn is the shifting of a precinct whose voters vote at Woodlawn High School.
The shift moves major employers such as the Social Security Administration into Quirk's district.
Bryan P. Sears contributed to this report.