Bayside Gazette 10031 Old Ocean City Blvd.
Berlin, MD 21811
Phone: 410-641-0039
Fax: 410-641-0085

Editorial

Council faces much work with redistricting ahead

12/19/13

Berlin’s Board of Election Supervisors and the mayor and Town Council sat down for a work session on Monday evening.

The focus was on Berlin’s increase in population from roughly 3,000 to almost 4,500 in the 10 years since the last federal census was taken.

What looks to be more difficult than locating people in small towns for inclusion in our great national numerology is the resolution it could mean for Berlin. Heaven knows it took almost three years to get census figures for Berlin.

It is the responsibility of jurisdictions to redistrict political boundaries when necessary if there are changes in numbers. Berlin has four districts, and its town organizers want to keep the districts equally divided, plus or minus 5 percent, in the 1,124-person-per-district zone.

There are other issues, including a plan that will have Councilman Elroy Brittingham (D-3) and Councilman Dean Burrell (D-4) stay in their homes but switch districts. Brand new constituents? Possibly a big voting bloc of them.

If this isn’t done as the town proposes, than we’re looking at a possible special election.

We support the town’s decision not to go after the option or Plan 2, which would call for a special election, because that could un-seat Burrell and Brittingham.

Plan three would call for exacting boundary adjustments, but would flip-flop the third and fourth districts, thus preserving the incumbents’ seats. It would also maintain the favorable population numbers for these districts.

Nothing, however, is settled yet. Fact is, it was a bit unsettling to sit in council chambers and leave knowing that the solution is yet to be decided. The expert from the Maryland Department of Planning in Baltimore will hopefully come to Berlin, plug in her laptop and get all of this straightened out.

We love that the population has grown. But we don’t think Brittingham and Burrell should be worrying about losing their offices in a special election. It’s difficult enough to figure out Plan 3, the flip flop.

So Berlin residents stay patient, the answer is on its way, hopefully soon.

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