College Park City Council unanimously condemned a proposal to redistrict Prince George’s County Council voting districts. The vote took place during a rare emergency session of City Council held Oct. 18, 2021 specifically to address the redistricting proposal before Prince George’s County Council meets Oct. 19, 2021, to possibly introduce the proposed map for consideration. Once introduced, the map cannot be amended – only voted up or down.
The redistricting proposal itself has been a source of controversy, particularly in Northern Prince George’s County, since it was advanced by a 6-4 vote County Council at a Oct. 14, 2021, meeting. The resulting map was also dramatically different than one proposed by the county’s Redistricting Commission. Voting in favor of the proposed map are Council Chair Calvin Hawkins (At-Large), Vice-Chair Deni Taveras (District 2), Councilman Todd Turner (District 4), Councilman Derrick Leon Davis (District 6), Councilman Sydney Harrison (District 9), and Councilman Mel Franklin (At-Large). The map was adopted 6-4. Voting against were Tom Dernoga (District 1) and Dannielle Glaros (District 3)
If adopted by County Council, the new map will change County-level representation for the next decade.
The changes in Northern Prince George’s County include:
- Moving residents of the Brickyard, Indian Springs, North Creek, and Vansville to District 4, joining those areas with South Bowie;
- Moving residents of South Laurel, south of Cherry Lane and east of Baltimore Avenue, to District 4;
- Moving residents of the Buck Lodge neighborhood of Adelphi to District 2, joining the area with Hyattsville;
- Combining residents of the City of College Park, currently split between Districts 1 and 3, and the entire city into District 1.
In an email, Dernoga criticized the changes proposed for Vansville and South Laurel residents, saying it “separates them from the rest of the Beltsville and Laurel neighborhoods of Council District 1, cutting them off geographically and fracturing these communities.”
College Park officials, voting to condemn the proposed map, said in a letter to Hawkins and County Council that “by introducing and voting in favor of a new redistricting map that ignored much of the public input that went into developing the maps by the Redistricting Commission, the County Council demonstrated a disregard for transparency and public input in redistricting and hurt the overall legitimacy of the elected government in our county.”