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Council Names Redistricting Committee

The five committee members who will redraw the council districts are: Dunbar Brooks, Ed Crizer, Jim Gillis, Robert Latshaw and Anne Neal.

The Baltimore County Council has named the five members of the commission that will guide the redistricting of the county's seven council districts later this spring, Council Chairman John Olszewski Sr. said Wednesday.

The commission, which was created by law and added to the county's charter in 2002, is responsible for holding at least three public hearings on redistricting. The commission will make recommendations on how the districts should be drawn but may not increase or decrease the number of council districts.

By law, the districts are required to be compact, contiguous and substantially equal in population—usually about plus or minus 5 percent of the target size for the seven districts. The target size is determined by taking the total population of the county and dividing it by seven.

The target size of each new council districts based on the 2010 census should be approximately 115,000. This figure does not currently include county residents incarcerated in state and federal prisons. State law now requires that those residents be included in the population totals for redistricting. Those figures were not immediately available but are not expected to dramatically change the size of the new districts.

The County Council is required to hold at least one public hearing on the recommendation of the committee and must adopt a final plan no later than Jan. 31, 2012.

The five-member committee, which is expected to be officially announced at the council's Monday night meeting, is expected to begin its work quickly and could make recommendations by June with a council vote in the fall.

The members include:

Dunbar Brooks—Manager of data development for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, according to his official biography on the organization's website. Brooks has a background in planning and worked in 1975 as a land use planner for the Regional Planning Council. Brooks served as president of the Baltimore County Board of Education from 1997-1999 as well as the state Board of Education in 2007. He earned his bachelor's degree in urban studies from Morgan State University and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore.

Ed Crizer— Co-owner of The Seahorse Inn in Dundalk. He was appointed to the county Board of Appeals by Olszewski in 2009. Olszewski said he selected Crizer to serve on the redistricting committee.

Jim Gillis—Former special assistant to County Executive Jim Smith. He currently works as a law clerk in the Baltimore County State's Attorney's office. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Gettysburg College.

Robert Latshaw—The former delegate from Towson from 1970-1974 is the only Republican on the committee. The Towson-based commercial real estate agent and owner of Latshaw Associates was appointed to the committee by Councilman David Marks, who declined to comment when contacted. Latshaw is a Milwaukee native who graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor's degree in finance in 1966. He served as assistant treasurer at Johns Hopkins Hospital and was president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors in 1981. He lives in Mays Chapel.

Anne Neal—An attorney and owner of Neal Consulting, a legal recruiting firm. Neal was selected by Councilwoman Vicki Almond, who declined to comment on the selection. Neal, a Towson resident, received her law degree from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law in 1983. She received her bachelor's degree in English in 1976 and a master's degree in special education in 1977 from The College of William & Mary.  She is a former partner at Williamson, Neal & Amato and an associate attorney at Semmes, Bowen & Semmes.

The council avoided controversy by selecting Neal instead of  Margie Brassil, a Towson resident who is chairwoman of the county Democratic Central Committee. Councilman Tom Quirk selected Brassil but the pick was rejected because Brassil is elected to the central committee, Olszewski said.

The charter prohibits elected officials from serving on the redistricting committee.

Mike Pierce March 03, 2011 at 01:47 PM
If the County Council's options were to accept or reject, but not change, the redistricting commission's proposal, then I suppose it would really matter who is on the commission. But, since the County Council can amend what is proposed, just as they can with any legislation, it seems that the makeup of the commission really isn't that important.
Dundalkwatchdog March 03, 2011 at 05:05 PM
@ Mike. So it is ok with you if a councilman appoints someone who is totally unqualified with no experience for a position that could effect every county reisdent as long as that person works on his and his sons campaign. When are some people going to get it. This kind of behavior where you can do anything and everybody just says its not that important has to stop. Come on, wake up. It's the decision making of the councilman I question. not the duties of the redistricting committee.
Buzz Beeler March 03, 2011 at 05:44 PM
This is a pure case of political patronage at its worst. We also saw this in the councilman's involvement regarding the PUD process and we all know how that turned out. The quote below rings hollow. It pays to have friends in high places. I guess one had to go as it would be difficult to squeeze two of them through the door at the same time. "The council avoided controversy by selecting Neal instead of Margie Brassil, a Towson resident who is chairwoman of the county Democratic Central Committee. Councilman Tom Quirk selected Brassil but the pick was rejected because Brassil is elected to the central committee, Olszewski said."
LT guy April 14, 2011 at 02:50 PM
At some point Ralph Wright replaced Dunbar Brooks on this committee.
Buzz Beeler April 14, 2011 at 02:56 PM
LT, whose going to replace Ed Crizer who serves on two county boards. The arrogance of power. Absolute power corrupts.


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