Rawlings-Blake tweaks redistricting plan
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released some tweaks to her City Council redistricting plan today as the council prepares for a 5 p.m. hearing on the new map.
The city's population dropped by 30,000 over the past decade, one-third more than Rawlings-Blake had estimated when drawing the districts. A quirk of city law required the preliminary map to be released in early February, before official Census data was available.
The amendments to the redistricting map are relatively minor.
Among the changes: parts of Guilford and Mt Pleasant Park that had been been excised will now remain in the 4th district. Pen Lucy, which was in the 14th district, will be moved to the 4th. The 8th district will now extend up to Liberty Heights Avenue, adding Howard Park, which was formerly part of the 5th district. And all of Druid Heights will me moved from the 11th district to the 7th.
The most major shift in Rawlings-Blake's original proposal -- the peninsula that includes Federal Hill and Locust Point being moved from the 10th district to the 11th -- remains in play. Political insiders speculate the move was made to bolster Council Vice President Ed Reisinger's chances of re-election. He has tepid support in Federal Hill and stronger alliances in the Southwest neighborhoods that would be part of his district according to the plan.
Redistricting plans have prompted some strong reactions from community members in the past. It will be interesting to see what residents say at this, the first of several planned public hearings.