Don't Redistrict us!
Contact your Council Member:
Prince George's County Council Member Contact Information
Mel Franklin Council Member (At-Large) MFranklin1@co.pg.md.us
Calvin S. Hawkins, II Chair, Council Member (At-Large) CSHawkins@co.pg.md.us
Thomas E. Dernoga Council Member (District 1) TEDernoga@co.pg.md.us Councildistrict1@co.pg.md.us
Deni Taveras Vice-Chair, Council Member (District 2) DLTaveras@co.pg.md.us
Dannielle M. Glaros Council Member (District 3) DMGlaros@co.pg.md.us
Todd M. Turner Council Member (District 4) TMTurner@co.pg.md.us
Jolene Ivey Council Member (District 5)
Derrick L. Davis Council Member (District 6) DLDavis@co.pg.md.us
Rodney C. Streeter Council Member (District 7) RCStreeter@co.pg.md.us
Former Monique Anderson-Walker Council Member (District 8) MAWalker1@co.pg.md.us
Sydney J. Harrison Council Member (District 9) SJHarrison@co.pg.md.us
Today the Maryland Court of Appeals rejected the County Council’s gerrymandered Redistricting Map. The Court affirmed the ruling of the Circuit Court that ruled the County Council improperly substituted its Redistricting Map for the Redistricting Commission’s Map by adopting a Resolution instead of a Bill.
The County Charter requires that the “Council shall enact no law except by bill.” A Resolution is “a measure adopted by the Council having the force and effect of law but of a temporary or administrative character.” By adopting a Resolution, the Council eliminated the option for a County Executive veto, unilaterally violating separation of powers.
The Council adopted its gerrymandered map on November 16th through Council Resolution CR-123-2021. Apart from disadvantaging political opponents by using their map to prevent candidates from running, Vansille, Lakeland, College Park and Suitland residents became innocent bystanders whose communities were negatively affected.
Four County residents from these affected communities filed suit arguing that a Council Resolution is an improper means of enacting the Council Redistricting Plan. These residents successfully argued in Circuit Court that the Charter (and State law) require that all "laws" must be adopted by a Council "Bill" subject to Executive Veto (unless specifically excluded).
Persisting in its arrogant attack on Democracy, the Council wasted taxpayer dollars on outside legal counsel and appealed. To anyone that watched the appellate arguments on Friday, the Court of Appeals viewed the Council’s position as laughable. In rapidly rejecting the Council's appeal, the Court stated that it would issue an opinion explaining its decision at a later date.
I have been pleased to have been able to provide assistance in this successful defense of democratic values. Now, we all need to pull together in the upcoming Election.
Please consider supporting our efforts to bring transparent government to Prince George's County that puts people and communities first.
Testimonial to the 11.16.21 Public Hearing
"Last night, 150 community leaders waited approximately 6 hours to testify to the opposition to the last-minute redistricting putsch by 6 County Council members, reading resolutions and reporting the universal anger and dismay of the hundreds of thousands of people they represented. Not even one person supported the ridiculous, gerrymandered map. Not one community. Some of the speakers are geographers, census researchers, university professors. All were representatives of large numbers of constituents.
And then, the six councilpersons voted to institute the gerrymandered plan, even pretending they didn't see the first hand raised of Councilwoman Danielle Glaros, and requesting a motion from the complicit Deni Tavaros. They did this with smirks and grins, with hectoring lectures claiming that they had followed the letter of the law, or that they believed the census data had 67 percent participation, and therefore, they were right to ignore the "least change" plan.
The betrayal of the public, of their own voters, by these six is beyond comprehension. Each one's name is now permanently etched in the public's mind as a corrupt individual who sold favors for personal gain. Hawkins, Franklin, Turner, Tavaros, Harrison, and Davis. Hope the thirty pieces of silver were worth it. "
- Kate Tsubata, Journalist
Today, the Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Snoddy and required Prince George’s County to ONLY use the redistricting commissions map for council council districts. This map minimizes changes countywide. In district 3, it means that there still will be changes to the current boundaries—portions of Lincoln Vista and Glenn Dale—will be in council district 4 starting in the June 2022 primary. I am grateful to all my residents who weighed in since October on redistricting. It is such an honor to represent you!
County Councilman Dannielle Glaros
Media Coverage of the Court ruling:
Court of Appeals to Consider Prince George’s County Council Redistricting Case
By Bruce DePuyt
February 13, 2022
Boundaries approved by a majority of county councilmembers, based on new contours initially proposed by Councilmember Derrick Leon Davis (D-District 6). Screenshot.
Maryland’s highest court has agreed to consider an appeal filed by the Prince George’s County Council in a controversial local redistricting case.
The order, issued late Friday, came in response to a ruling from a Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge late last month.
In a lawsuit filed by four county residents, Judge William A. Snoddy ruled that the council failed to follow proper procedure when it approved a new map for use beginning this year. He ruled that the Prince George’s charter requires the council to pass a redistricting bill. The panel approved a resolution.
Snoddy ordered the county to void the council-approved map and to use instead the map crafted by an independent commission. That map made only modest changes to the map the county has used since 2012.
The court scheduled oral arguments in the case, Prince George’s County v. Robert E. Thurston, et al, for March 4. The hearing will be held online.
The council has been heavily criticized for the way it handled the once-a-decade process of redrawing local political boundaries. At a marathon hearing just prior to the vote, approximately 120 residents accused the panel of replacing the commission map with one that six council members — just enough to pass the plan — crafted in secret. No one spoke in favor of the plan, which was adopted on a 6-3 vote.
Critics pointed to numerous instances in which progressive and independent-mind candidates — including one former council member — were narrowly drawn out of districts they intended to run in.
Nine members of the Prince George’s Council represent districts and two serve at-large.
The council members who supported the disputed plan expressed confidence that they faithfully followed the law and the charter.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Prince George’s Council Chairman Calvin S. Hawkins II (D) said: “The Council voted to adopt its 2021 Redistricting Plan by Resolution under the authority granted by voters in 2012 with approval of Ballot Question A, and the County Charter, which states the Plan shall be adopted by Council Resolution.”
The original filing deadline for candidates wishing to run this year, when almost all state and local seats are on the ballot, was Feb. 22. But late last week the Court of Appeals moved the deadline to March 22 to give it time to hold hearings in a series of lawsuits challenging the General Assembly’s plans to redraw congressional and state legislative districts.
Court Order issued today!
The Court Order was issued today - it orders
"Prince George's County, Maryland, and/or the Prince George's County Council shall immediately withdraw the redistricting plan in CR-123-2021 and submit the Commission's plan to all entities charged with acting upon or implementing the County's redistricting plan." There is a chance it will be appealed.
See the entire text below:
COURT OVERTURNS COUNCIL REDISTRICTING!
Justice prevailed yesterday.
We are awaiting the Court's formal Order, but it is true the Prince George’s County Circuit Court ruled against Prince George’s County’s redistricting.
The County improperly redistricted County Council districts.
Upon the Court's formal Order, the fair and impartial Redistricting Commission’s plan will go into effect. This keeps communities together, eliminates the politically motivated gerrymandering of districts, and keeps my residence in District 3, where I am proud to remain a candidate for the County Council.
Thank you to plaintiffs Robert Thurston, J.D. Perkins, Stephanie Stullich, and Stanley Holmes. These community leaders’ neighborhoods would have been split apart under the Council’s plan. Thank you, too, to our own District 3 resident, attorney Matthew Sawyer, who argued this case. Thank you to all the residents of District 3 and Prince George’s County who spoke out, who sent messages, and contributed to the cause of justice.
Now, I return my focus to campaigning. We lost the last three months having to battle the council’s action.
Please consider a campaign donation today:
(Eric Olsen, election candidate & is against the redistricting) 1.29.22
Message from County Council Member Jolene Ivey
Nov. 4 2021
You may have heard about the current controversy concerning the redrawing of the boundary lines for the County Council’s nine districts. I’d like to take this opportunity to go into some detail to explain what is happening, and explain why the redistricting process is important.
The County Council approves land use matters and county laws. Because fair redistricting is fundamental to our democracy, the map the County Council approves matters.
The County Charter requires that every ten years, after the U.S. Census is completed, the County Council must appoint a Redistricting Commission to propose and submit to the Council proposed new district boundaries. The new district lines the Council eventually approves will go into effect for the 2022 elections, and stay in effect for ten years, until after the next U.S. Census.
The required redistricting procedure is determined by Section 305 of the County Code.
The Redistricting Commission
The three members of the Redistricting Commission were appointed by the County Council on January 28, 2021. Over the course of the year the Commission held eleven virtual public meetings open to the public, and two virtual public hearings.
The three Commission members are Pastor James Robinson of the Tree of Life Christian Ministries, Chair; Dr. Charlene Mickens Dukes, President Emeritus of Prince George’s Community College; and Mr. David C. Harrington, the President of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce. The consultant to the Redistricting Commission was Dr. Nathanial Persily of Stanford Law School.
Due to delays caused by the pandemic and the Trump administration’s Commerce Department, the U.S. Census Bureau did not deliver the population data to be used in redistricting by the required date of March 31, 2021. The data came instead, finally, in August 2021.
Because delivery of the official census data was delayed, the Commission decided that it would be in the best interest of the County to move forward with the redistricting process utilizing projected census population data. On August 16, 2021, the Commission finally received the official data.
The Commission was able to make the needed adjustments to the estimated data they had initially used, and on August 30th the Commission voted unanimously (3-0) to adopt their Plan and Report and submitted it to the Council on September 1st.
Information on the Redistricting Commission can be found here: Redistricting Commission Work, Public Documents
The Commission’s Process and the Requirements of the Law
By law, to meet one-person one-vote criteria, there cannot be a variation of more than 5% among the districts. In the proposed map presented by the Commission to the Council, the deviation is about 4%. The Commission’s goal was to be under 4.5%.
Like all jurisdictions, Prince George’s County is subject to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Although important parts of the Voting Rights Act were gutted by the Supreme Court in the 2013 Shelby County decision, Section 2 still applies.
Section 2 is intended to prevent race-based vote dilution. That is not a problem in Prince George’s with the current or proposed districts.
The Redistricting Commission stated that they created a plan that did not dilute the vote of any racial group, saying it wanted to ensure that it did not deprive any racial or ethnic group of an equal opportunity to elect candidates of its choice.
(Such dilution can occur either through over concentration or excessive dispersion of a racial group; that is not an issue here).
Since there was no legal challenge to the 2011 redistricting plan passed by the County Council last time, the Commission decided to use the existing districts as a starting point to prepare the new plan. In doing so, the Commission was guided by five principles: 1) a "least-change" plan, 2) boundaries that are contiguous, 3) avoid splitting precincts, 4) districts that have no greater than 4.5% population deviation, and 5) consideration of assets or community interests that connect each district.
As it turns out, there isn’t much change between the current districts and the new map proposed by the Commission. The following are the relatively minor changes proposed by the Commission’s proposal:
To rectify uneven population numbers in Districts 1 and 2, two precincts (4,075 people) in Adelphi were moved from District 1 to District 2.
To bring District 3 under 4.5% deviation from other districts, one precinct (2,205 people) in Glenn Dale was moved from District 3 to District 4. (This unites almost all of Glenn Dale into District 4).
To rectify uneven numbers in Districts 6 and 7, two precincts (6,040 people) in District Heights were moved from District 6 to District 7. (This change not only fixes the population shortfall in District 7, but it also fully unites the two precincts that form District Heights).
For more information about the timeline as outlined in Section 305 of the County Charter go to: https://pgccouncil.us/840/2021-PRINCE-GEORGES-COUNTY-COUNCIL-REDIS
The Surprise Map Introduced October 14th
The Council’s options are to accept and adopt the Commissions map as submitted, or decide to consider and adopt an alternative map. I thought the Commission had done a good job, and I fully expected the County Council to adopt the map submitted by the Commission on September 1st.
Instead, and as a surprise to four members of the Council, on October 14th in the County Council’s Committee of the Whole, Council Member Derrick Leon Davis proposed a brand-new map that I and three others of my colleagues had not seen before. His map was very different from the one proposed by the Redistricting Commission, which the public had seen and been able to comment on at the public hearings. The surprise Davis map was drawn behind closed doors with no involvement of the public or some members of Council.
The debate in Council on October 14th was intense but short, as there was little opportunity to suggest changes and no willingness by the sponsor and the other five supporters of the map to consider any changes or amendments.
The lack of transparency was appalling. The Council approved the map proposed by Council Member Davis by a vote of 6-4. Those opposing it were Tom Dernoga, Dannielle Glaros, Monique Anderson-Walker and I. Those voting for it were Chair Calvin Hawkins, Vice Chair Deni Taveras, Mel Franklin, Todd Turner, Sydney Harrison, and Derrick Leon Davis.
To view the discussion and vote during the October 14th Committee of the Whole click HERE and go to the 3:47:45 mark.
To view th map proposed by Council Member Davis that was approved October 14th click here:https://bit.ly/DavisMap
A news article on the October 14th map from Maryland Matters can be found HERE.
The October 19th Amended Map
Because of the objections by the University of Maryland, the Davis map supporters on Council made some changes and passed an amendment to modify the original Davis map on October 19th to keep the University in District 3.
Other than making an accommodation to satisfy the request of the University, the map contains the flaws of the October 14th Davis map, and makes its unfairness and intention even clearer.
To see the October 19th County Council meeting where the Davis map was amended, click HERE and go to the 14:27 mark.
A news article on the amended Davis map from Maryland Matters can be found HERE.
The Impact of the Maps
Keep in mind that our County Charter requires that candidates wanting to run for County Council must live in their district for one year prior to running in a primary election. The Council primary election is in June 2022. This new Davis map will impact multiple individuals across the County who are already running for County Council next year or are planning to, because the law requires any candidate to have lived within the new boundaries since last June.
To avoid such a situation, that is one reason why the Redistricting Commission’s map only changed boundaries when it was necessary for population balance. The following map shows where three potential candidates for the next election reside, what districts they expected to run in, and the districts where the Davis map would put them.
Map source: D.W. Rowlands
The Council’s Upcoming Decision The final decision has not yet been made. The two maps will be considered by the County Council on November 16th, so you still have time to make your voice and opinion heard.
To say I’m disappointed in my colleagues who voted for the last-minute Davis redistricting map would be an understatement. If you have concerns about the Davis map or the process how it was created, I hope you contact your County Council member and the two At-Large members before the November 16th Public Hearing to express your opinion on both the process and the district lines, no matter what your opinion is. It is best to contact the members as soon as possible, before their minds have been set. Democracy works only if the voices of the people are heard and listened to.
If the Council chooses not to accept the Davis alternative map to the one created by the Commission, then the Commission’s map will be the one that will go into effect.
I encourage you to sign up to speak during the hearing. To testify at the hearing, you must sign up via the Council’s eComment portal. You need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. on the day BEFORE the meeting. Comments can also be submitted through the portal. To sign up to speak visit: https://pgccouncil.us/458/Public-Hearing-Notices-Sign-Up-to-Speak. Currently the portal does not yet have the November 16th sign-up and comment tab posted, but it should soon. Our government works best when the citizens’ voices are heard and listened to. Let your County Council member and the two At Large members know your opinion. Thank you.
County Council Member Contact Information:
Mel Franklin Council Member (At-Large)
Calvin S. Hawkins, II Chair, Council Member (At-Large)
Thomas E. Dernoga Council Member (District 1)
Deni Taveras Vice-Chair, Council Member (District 2)
Dannielle M. Glaros Council Member (District 3)
Todd M. Turner Council Member (District 4)
Derrick L. Davis Council Member (District 6)
Rodney C. Streeter Council Member (District 7)
Monique Anderson-Walker Council Member (District 8)
Sydney J. Harrison Council Member (District 9)
Gerrymandering Press Conference Media Coverage
Nov. 12, 2021
Prince George's County Residents Push Back Ahead of Redistricting vote.
NBC Channel 4 cover of press conference. President Lan Tsubata is shown for a short time.
Stop the Gerrymander Press Conference
Nov. 11, 2021
Join the Stop the Gerrymander Press Conference Thursday
To: Civic Associations, Municipalities, and HOA's
Have you heard about in the gerrymandering that is going on in our county, and are very disappointed, to say the least? If so, you are not alone and have the opportunity join a broad coalition of fellow civic leaders to voice your displeasure, There will be a press conference arranged by county residents this Thursday, November 11th, from 2:00-3:00 pm at Cameron Grove in Upper Marlboro. If you plan to attend, please email Jon Robinson at email@example.com (or call him at 301-648-7141). Also let him know if you would like to speak on behalf of your organization.
What’s Going On? On October 14 and 19, 6 members of the Prince George's County Council with no hearings or other community input pushed through a radical gerrymander of the 9 council districts in Prince George's County for personal political advantage. Councilman Davis submitted this map, with no advance notice to the other 4 members of the Council and no public input. This action tossed aside months of work that the Redistricting Commission had invested in producing a redistricting map that met best practices. These included taking testimony from a wide range of residents, legislators and other stakeholders that produced a least change map that did its best to keep communities of interest together.
This blatant gerrymandering has prompted county wide opposition by residents and civic leaders. To demonstrate the breadth and depth of this opposition, county residents are organizing a press conference to demonstrate this opposition from civic groups, home owners' associations and municipalities. Representatives from a cross section of these organizations will make brief statements to the press, followed by a question and answer session. The press conference is to give a variety of civic leaders about 2 minutes to list their organization and express their opposition to the gerrymandered map embodied in CR-123-2021 and tell their Council Members to vote “NO” on CR-123-2021, so the map produced by the Redistricting Commission can go into effect.
Press Conference Time, Place and Directions: The press conference will be held at the Cameron Grove just off Route 214 (Central Avenue) – Thursday, November 11, 2021 2:00PM -3:00PM
Here are directions on how to get to the press conference site: Going east on Route 214, Central Avenue, turn right onto Cameron Grove Blvd. Ahead will be a large building behind a circle, the Resort Center. Go right at the circle onto Fox Bow, take first left also onto Fox Bow. Turn left into entrance. Park only in spaces that say Visitor Parking. (If the space has a number, it's a private space.)
If you miss the first right, go around the circle and turn right onto New Acadia and turn right at first intersection, also New Acadia. Take first right into parking lot. Park only in spaces that say Visitor Parking. (If the space has a number, it's a private space.)
Hope to see you there Thursday.
P.S. This has been sent BCC to protect your privacy. Please feel free to share with leaders of other civic associations and municipal leaders that may share your concerns about the attempted gerrymandering of Prince George's County's Council Districts.
To Sign Up to testify at the Redistricting Public Hearing
Nov. 10, 2021
A reminder, here is a guide with links on how to sign up to testify on November 16th: https://bit.ly/saveourcounty.
Thank you for getting people to sign up for November 16th, please keep it up! There are two additional items I wanted to make you aware of:
1. Much like what you did as District 3 civic leaders holding a press conference to oppose the gerrymandered map and the non-transparent process, now civic leaders from other districts across Prince George's County are looking to do the same thing together. I should hear more tomorrow and will keep you informed. I understand there are civic leaders from at least 5 of the other districts who have been in communication. At this point, they are looking at a Thursday afternoon press event to be held in the central part of the county. Please hold that on your calendars. I'll let you know more as I hear more.They definitely want as many from District 3 to attend, but they don't have the details quite yet.
2. An activist group has put together the following link about contacting the County Executive about redistricting (This does not mean I'm saying I think the County Executive is behind the gerrymander): https://actionnetwork.org/letters/ask-county-executive-alsobrooks-to-publicly-oppose-the-councils-gerrymandered-district-map?source=direct_link&
Media coverage of Redistricting Press Conference
Oct. 19, 2021
West Lanham Hills and many communities were represented at the press conference.
Here are links to the media coverages:
Sign the petition against the redistricting:
Sign the petition against the redistricting:
October 18, 2021
Redistricting Commission Press Conference TODAY 10.18.21
Voice your concern about the redistricting issue!
TODAY Monday, October 18th
A press conference will be held to demand that the County Council restore District 3 back to the plan established by the Redistricting Commission.
Location: plaza of the College Park Town Hall
Parking is available in the garage next to Ledo's on Knox Rd.
Appalling Lack of Transparency in Redistricting Map
Date: October 15, 2021 Time:10:25 AM
The County Charter requires that every ten years after the Census the County Council appoints a commission to propose a new redistricting plan. They held eleven public meetings and two public hearings. The redistricting process is fundamental to our democracy.
Yesterday afternoon in the County Council’s Committee of the Whole, Council Member Derrick Leon Davis proposed a brand-new map that I and several of my colleagues had not seen before. His map is completely different from the one proposed by the Redistricting Commission, which many of you have seen at the public hearings. Our debate was intense but short, as there was little opportunity to suggest changes and no willingness by the sponsor of the map, or many of our colleagues, to consider any changes to his map.
The lack of transparency was appalling. The Council approved the map proposed by Council Member Davis by a vote of 6-4. Those opposing it were Tom Dernoga, Dannielle Glaros, Monique Anderson-Walker and I. Those voting for it were Chair Calvin Hawkins, Vice Chair Deni Taveras, Mel Franklin, Todd Turner, Sydney Harrison and Derrick Leon Davis. The meeting was live-streamed and the archived video should be available to view here at the 3:47:45 mark.
For our District 5 residents, this new map includes multiple changes to your representation. Below are several of the largest changes:
The Port Towns will be split up with some remaining in District 5 while Edmonston will be in District 2. The Town of Landover Hills and Bellemeade community will be moved to District 5 from District 3. Cedar Heights, Seat Pleasant and a part of Summerfield will be moved
into District 5 from District 7.
Keep in mind that our County Charter requires that Council Members must live in their district for one year prior to running in a primary election. The Council primary is in June 2022. This new map may impact multiple individuals across the County who are already running for County Council next year or are planning to but will have been required to live within these new boundaries since last June. This is the reason that the Redistricting Commission’s map only changed boundaries when it was necessary for population balance.
To view the Redistricting Commission’s report click here: https://pgccouncil.us/326/Redistricting-Commission To view the map proposed by Council Member Davis that was approved today click here: https://bit.ly/DavisMap
The new proposed Councilmanic district map will be on the agenda for Introduction on Tuesday morning. If it receives a favorable vote on Tuesday, it will not be able to be changed. The public hearing will take place in November. However, at that time, only two options are possible: approval of the new map approved today, or the Council could take no action which would mean the Redistricting Commission's recommended map moves forward.
If you have concerns about the map or the process, I urge you to reach out to your elected officials and the At-Large members before Tuesday, October 19, when this new map is on the agenda for Introduction. Their email addresses are available below.
Jolene Ivey Councilmember, District 5
Prince George's County Council Member Contact Information
Mel Franklin Council Member (At-Large) MFranklin1@co.pg.md.us At-LargeMemberFranklin@co.pg.md.us
Calvin S. Hawkins, II Chair, Council Member (At-Large) CSHawkins@co.pg.md.us At-LargeMemberHawkins@co.pg.md.us
Thomas E. Dernoga Council Member (District 1)