Friday, July 10, 2009

Swamp Critters

Shortly, I shall be moving back to The Free State of Maryland – Land where I shall have my belly stuffed with Blue Crabs and Old Bay as often as I want. Pile-o-dead-crabs in my face, Yummm!

On the other hand, very soon every evening will be heralded by greeting clouds of hungry mosquitoes. That’s one thing I like about this here part of California: nary a blood-sucker in sight. And speaking of blood-sucking swamp critters, my new/old Representative in Congress will be Steny Hoyer (D-5th District MD). HERE he is spreading some kind of Seeds throughout my district. With a “smile”, I shall brace myself in rejoining that blue collective that is the 5th Congressional District of Maryland - As there is no chance in hell that it will turn even the slightest shade of purple any time soon.

If anything the District has an honest geographical definition covering most of Southern Maryland. It seems that Rep. Hoyer doesn’t need any Gerrymandering to keep being reelected.

Others are not so lucky. In making sure that Maryland keeps its blue allegiance, the State Legislature in Annapolis has done very creative work in carving-up the state to its self-serving advantage. Take for example the 8th Congressional District. For many years, THIS was Connie Morella’s District (R-8th District MD) – A nicely compact district comprising most of Montgomery County and highlighted in yellow. In the 2001 redistricting, Montgomery County was carved-up in two. Annapolis, added heavily Democrat Takoma Park and Hyattsville, and took away marginally Republican upper northeast Montgomery County. As a result Connie Morella lost her Republican seat, and you now have these two districtmanic beauties.

Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) Newly Defined 8th District, and Donna Edwards’ (D-MD) 4th District. I really “like” the look of her beastly-looking district. For Ms. Edwards’ Germantown, Olney and Fairland (Upper Silver Spring) are all marginally Republican, but lower density population. The lower lobe of her district (Prince George’s County) is heavily Democrat and high-density population.

But what takes the cake, is what the Democrats did to neutralize heavily Republican Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Harford Counties.

Robert Erlich’s (R-MD) old 2nd District – Yes the first Republican Governor in over 40 years and partner with Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, comprised of mostly heavily Republican Baltimore and Harford Counties. This district was “Ginsu-knifed” beyond recognition by splitting the heavily Democratic City of Baltimore with tatters of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford Counties. The result: 2nd District is no longer Republican, and you have these two other beastly-looking Salamanders. Maryland’s New 2nd District, and John Sarbanes' (Old Senator Sarbanes' diddle boy) Maryland’s New 3rd District. Beautiful!

What I wish would happen for Maryland and for many other states, is for them to adopt the Iowa Legislative Redistricting Process. Up until the 1960’s Iowa suffered from similar district Gerrymandering by their “Swamp-Critters” in Des Moines. That was until, they decided to put the fate of redistricting in the hands of technical geeks. Their Redistricting Commission is comprised of Non-partisan Statisticians and Demographers, completely isolated from political pressures and manipulations. Ever since 1970, they redistrict their legislature in absolutely statistically neutral boundaries. As a result the seats, for both their State Legislature and Federal Congressmen are hotly contested every election. Thus, they have heavy turnaround and not many career politicians (Senators Harkin (D-IA) and Grassley (R-IA) not withstanding). As a result, their current Congressional Districts look like THIS.

Oh well, into the Swampland I go.


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