Redistricting: If the Shoe Pinches, Wear It
Like cruel new shoes, legislative redistricting pinches at the edges: the toes and heels of districts. At the January meeting of the 33rd District Democratic Club in Crofton, we heard both ouches and speculation on how to wear this new shoe however it fits.
I dont know when Ive seen such a mess of confusion, said Bill Burlison, a former Missouri congressman who is the new chairman of the Anne Arundel County Council.
Burlison echoed sentiments sounding throughout Chesapeake Country as people examine the designs of proposed new General Assembly districts reflecting the population shifts of the 2000 census. Several county council members, too, are seeing some puzzling new shifts in political jurisdictions.
I dont know how our citizens are going to acclimate themselves to all the changes theyre being subjected to, said Burlison who, along with wife Mickey Prosser, showed up at the Dough Roller last week as the featured speaker at the local Democratic gathering.
|Anne Arundel County Council chairman Bill Burlison.
Burlison, a former Appropriations Committee member in Congress who switched states and level of government after losing re-election in 1980, sat on Marylands Democratic State Committee for two decades. Elected to the county council in 1998, hes feeling a bit of a pinch from precincts lost to council redistricting.
Redistricting is on a lot of minds these days. At the state level, District 33, which runs east from the Patuxent River from Severna Park to Crofton, is about to take a new turn over to Muddy Creek Road and down to Route 258.
Whats more, the traditional three-member district is about to divide, amoebae-like, into 33A and B. The larger with 31 precincts, 33A would elect two delegates. The smaller with 17 precincts, 33B would elect one delegate and move into a new senatorial district.
We dont know whats going to happen, said outgoing club President Gerald Loren of what he called the fighting 33rd, which is currently represented by three Republicans. Robert Baldwin and David Boschert are likely to run again in 33A, while Janet Greenip is said to be gearing up for a challenge against first-term state Sen. Robert Neale of Davidsonville, a former delegate and county executive who was elected to the Senate as a Republican but who has since switched parties.
What everybody is waiting to hear is whether Democratic party activist and contributor Dottie Chaney, of Lothian, will make her first statewide run for office in a district some say was carved specially for her. Chaney, a former school board member, was defeated in her 1994 run for the county council by John Klocko of Crofton.
Im seriously considering a run, said Chaney at another early-session political gathering, the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee Legislative Reception at Lowe House Office Building. My plan is to talk to people throughout the whole district, which runs all the way from Route 258 in the south up into Herald Harbor in Crownsville in the north.
Where the new 33A ends, at Route 258, the shoe was pinching harder. Much of the old Calvert-Anne Arundel District 27B, represented by George Owings III, is about to merge with 27A. That puts Deale, Tracys Landing, Fairhaven and North Beach in a Prince Georges County District represented by James Vallario Jr. and James Proctor Jr. Owings, meanwhile, will soon represent a Calvert-only district.
Youll still call me, Owings told complaining about-to-be former constituents. Ive already told Vallario and Proctor Im still the man around here.
Meanwhile, Calvert Countys new electorical shoes fit pretty well.
Like Julius Caesars Gaul, all Calvert is divided into three pieces by the Governors Redistricting Advisory Committee.
With a 45.1 percent growth rate, Calverts the fastest growing county in the state, Delegate George Owings said. Its too big for two delegates.
Still, only one of three legislative districts is entirely in Calvert County. Thats Owings new District 27B, running from Dunkirk to Battle Creek. Delegate Tony ODonnells District 29C includes southern Calvert and a hunk of St. Marys County. North Beach and Owings now share delegates with Prince Georges County.
Even county commissioners worried theyd be mapped out of their districts by the hands welding the big pens up in Annapolis.
Weve been flapping in the wind, said Linda Kelley, commissioner from the 2nd District. Now the commissioners have voted to preserve the status quo.
The decision was expressed in a January 22 vote on maps drawn by the bipartisan Calvert County Redistricting Committee. A dozen maps had been offered by the committee, which had reached out to citizens in all sorts of places and events, including the county fair. Citizens had considered raising the number of commissioners and districts.
By a three-to-two vote, the commissioners kept three districts and five commissioners, two elected at large. Thus no commissioner is redistricted out of a seat.
I hope were safe, said Kelley, but one never knows what will come out of Annapolis.
For Chesapeake Biological Lab, Chef Annamaria Cooks Eel
|Chesapeake Biological Labs Dr. David Secor gives scientific presentations on Bay critters like rockfish and American eel paired with gourmet menus.
The first time I ran into a Chesapeake Bay eel, we were both swimming. I left the Bay to the eel.
The second time, I ran first. Down at Towne Point Marina, eeler Bill Neitzey had just tipped over a 55-gallon drum into which he was packing his catch for shipment to Europe. Loose, the eels were wiggling away fast, while everybody who hadnt run was cussing, scrambling to grab eels and wiping the slime off their hands.
So why am I joining a party of 40 to dine on eel at Chesapeake Biological Laboratorys first Savor the Bay dinner?
Because the third time I ran into eel it was, as sushi, delicious.
The eels to be served at DiGiovannis Dock of the Bay in Solomons, prepared by Chef Annamaria DeGennaro as matelote of eel served over polenta infused with black truffles.
Complementing DeGennaros savory eel stewed in wine and served over corn meal mush is Chesapeake Biological Labs Dr. David Secors scientific presentation on American eel.
Which is just how it should be in a dinner series planned to teach Bayfolk to appreciate their bountiful Bay from the inside out.
Were trying to get the lab and University of Marylands research on the Bay in the public eye, says Jackie Takacs.
At Chesapeake Biological Lab, a couple dozen professors and 70 graduate students do research in toxicology and marine environmental estuarine sciences. Getting information out of the lab to people who can use it is a job cut out for Takacs, whos a graduate of Chesapeake Biological Labs sister school in the Center for Environmental Studies, Horn Point Lab at Cambridge.
Hence the dinner series, which Takacs is copying from Virginia Institute for Marine Sciences in Gloucester. Dinners there are so popular that seats are drawn by lottery for the series of 12.
Eel was not the creature Takacs imagined to kick off a popular series. Eel was the last of 15 or 16 Bay foods I gave our chefs to choose from, she says. The choice was DeGennaros.
Still, we diners wont have to get by on eel alone. Also on Chef DeGennaros inaugural menu is artichoke and oyster soup, baby arugula and blue crab salad with tomato truffle vinaigrette, rainbow of oysters (Toscanini, Rockefeller and blackened on the half-shell accented by watercress and drunken goat cheese) and fresh fruit salad flavored with mint and topped with Italian lemon sorbet.
If eel is not your fancy but savoring the Bay is, youve still time to reserve a seat at the next two eel-free dinners in the short series.
At the Lighthouse Inn on February 27, Chef Kevin Pinti does oysters and rockfish with Dr. Kennedy Paynter. At The Maryland Way restaurant on March 27, Chef Ben Bensaeid does crab and oysters with Dr. Walter Boynton.
Dinners, running from 6-9:30pm, cost $35 and require early reservations: 410/326-7356.
Way Downstream ...
In Virginia, theyre getting ready for the smog dogs high-tech tailpipe sensors that work like red-light cameras to find drivers called gross polluters. The tracking of people by their vehicle tags promises to be an unpopular program because of the intrusiveness and the focus on people who might not be able to afford newer cars
In Maine, authorities last week ordered the death of two million farm-raised salmon out of fear that their disease would spread to the wilds. For the first time in history, the federal government will reimburse the fish farmers. Previously, bail-out moneys went only to livestock farmers
Our Creature Feature comes from the Galapagos Islands, where the toll of a shipwreck a year ago is in. Miraculously, just four pelicans and two blue-footed boobies succumbed to the spill of diesel and oil thanks to favorable winds and tides that carried the fuel out to sea and away from the fragile shoreline.
The sea is turning the tanker, Jessica, into an artificial reef that might even provide sport for divers and snorkelers in a few years. Recently, Reuters news service reported that snorkelers had another adventure: They were chased out of the water by a shark who had arrived to dine on sea lion pups.