Doug Gansler, Maryland Attorney General, finally made his entry to the Democratic gubernatorial primary contest official, and now his campaign website seems fully functional. After having been surprised by the Brown and Mizeur campaign sites for their complete lack of information on their issue platforms, I was pleased to see that Gansler actually has a relatively robust “issues” section on his site. Based on the campaign sites, one could consider Gansler’s claim to be the “ideas candidate” justified.
On his website, Gansler details six “good government” proposals. They all revolve around transparency and access to public information. While these are obviously important issues, I hope that our next governor will take a broader view of what “good government” means. Current total dysfunction in Congress cries for non-partisan redistricting reform. I also hope that our next governor will understand how corrosive Maryland’s system of candidate slates is to our basic democratic values.
The pitfalls of blatant, politically-motivated gerrymandering are fairly obvious and acknowledged by most people who care about good governance. My take on the issue is summarized in a letter to the editor published in the Gazette before the November 2012 election:
New districts are ‘illogical and disjointed’
Don’t get me wrong. I am as strong a Democrat as they come. But, any objective observer must conclude that the new congressional districts created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2011 are the product of outrageous gerrymandering. Many of the new districts follow no logical geographic or political boundaries, creating completely illogical and disjointed districts. Such districts do not serve the best interests of Maryland residents. It is clear the districts were drawn to the sole benefit of the Democratic Party and certain incumbent politicians.
Luckily, on Nov. 6, Maryland voters can vote “no” on Ballot Question 5 to reject the gerrymandered maps. This will send a strong message to our elected leaders in Annapolis that there is no place for such blatant cronyism in our state. I also hope this debacle will lead our legislators to adopt an independent, nonpartisan way to establish congressional districts, as is done in many other states.
Tommi Makila, Accokeek
Sadly, the wording of Ballot Question 5 was so convoluted that most people had no idea what the issue with the new maps was. So there really was no realistic chance for voters to reject the gerrymandered districts.
If you want to take a look at the wonderfully gerrymandered Maryland congressional districts, take a peek here. For comparison, you can check out the Iowa maps here. – Guess which state uses a nonpartisan system for drawing its maps?