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Commissioners Withdraw Redistricting Lawsuit

Three commissioners and three delegates are named in the suit.

The Board of County Commissioners has withdrawn a lawsuit it filed against the state over the legislative redistricting plan.

The lawsuit argued that parts of Carroll County won't be properly represented in the state under Gov. Martin O'Malley's .

According to a statement, the decision to withdraw the lawsuit was made based on the advice of legal counsel and is a direct result of a determination that the county’s suit is not necessary in light of the other legal actions that have been filed.

“For a nominal investment we gave the citizens of Carroll County a seat at the table to fight for the Constitutional principles of one man, one vote and the sanctity of our political boundaries," Commissioner Doug Howard said in a statement.

"Our lawsuit has now proven to be duplicative of the others filed and is therefore no longer necessary. We now stand in strong support of the statewide suit fighting to protect these fundamental interests," Howard said.

The Court of Appeals issued a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit earlier this month, noting that "the petitioners lack capacity and standing to sue, and the only legal theory asserted in the petition fails to state a valid claim of lack of 'due regard' for political subdivision boundaries, as a matter of law." 

A county news release said, "It is important to note that this withdrawal is not a result of the state’ motion or the unfounded allegations made in the motion."

The suit named three commissioners-Doug Howard, Richard Rothschild and Dave Roush, and three delegates-Susan Krebs, Donald Eliot and Nancy Stocksdale.

The commissioners named in the lawsuit stand by their decision to file, saying in a statement that "the county’s filing was not unusual at all. The petition was both legally and ethically correct."

Commissioner Robin Bartlett-Frazier disagrees.

“Finally wisdom prevails," Frazier said. "As the Attorney General affirmed in the 'Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss the Petition of J. Douglas Howard et al' that taxpayers' dollars should never have been used for a redistricting challenge.”

WatchingInMtAiry June 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Thanks Comm Frazier for only wasting a *little* more money than your normal yearly mileage reimbursement requests...
Buck Harmon June 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Typical ....waste of time and money....great example of bad leadership doing things that they are not supposed to do .... not the brightest bulbs at leading the County... Can only wonder what's next......5 ring circus....plenty of clowns..
David J Iacono June 20, 2012 at 01:18 PM
More sanctimonious BS from Doug Howard. This lawsuit should have never been filed in the first place. If they received sound legal advice from the start, this case was a loser from day one. Also, the case had nothing to do with the residents of Carroll County. It had everything to do with protecting Susan Krebs job.
Neil Ridgely June 20, 2012 at 02:45 PM
The County's pitiful press release on this doesn't even provide a smokescreen for what really occured in the decison to withdraw this lawsuit. Were it not for a handful of vocal citizens who complained about the inappropriate use of public funds by the Commissioners and Senator Joe Getty for providing vocal opposition, the Commissioners would still be plodding along with their lawsuit. Dana Dembrow's appeal to the Judge was certainly on target in nailing the inappropriate use of county funds and the office of the County Attorney for a lawsuit by six individuals. Rob'em Frazier deserves no credit for the withdrawal, she's just out to cover her political flank. While the closed meeting & secret vote on this matter last week may meet the legal requirements, it was patently wrong to do it behind closed doors. The issue was raised in open session, it involved a major policy decision by the Commissioners and the public was due an open meeting and discussion of all the facts that led the Commissioners to withdraw the lawsuit. Instead they used the closed meeting to hide their political squabbling and debate over misuse of county funds. Just why it took the Commissioners 5 days to announce their decision by press release is a telling poitrait of their character. This is what happens when you have County Commissioners who use their offices as a political soapbox.
romeo valianti June 20, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Right om David & Neil, Susan Krebs, if she does not like the re-districting passed by the Maryland General Assembly. she ought to use her own money to file a suit or ask her contributors that elected her to finance her way throught the courts. I am glad that none of our money was used to keep her in office. How refreshing it will be to have a new delegate elected when she leaves office regardless what county they will come from.
Commissioner R Rothschild June 20, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Under the redistricting plan, 38,000 citizens in South Carroll will see their votes diluted (both quantitatively and qualitatively) by Howard County voters... a county with interests that are NOT necessarily congruent with Carroll County. Some courts may believe this type of gerrymandering is perfectly acceptable. I don't. The redistricting was guilty of (a) district packing; (b) failure to show due regard for natural political boundaries; and (c) violating a premise of one-man-one-vote. The redistricting was the product of a biased political process in Annapolis, and it was PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE for the Board of Carroll County Commissioners to use the resources of local government to DEFEND the VOICE AND VOTES of Carroll County citizens. -Commissioner Richard Rothschild
Neil Ridgely June 20, 2012 at 04:15 PM
If you feel that strongly about it Commissioner Rothschild then the Commissioners should have had the discussion and vote on this matter in open session last Thursday instead of slamming the door on the public and doing it in an e mail vote after meeing in closed session. Come to think of it, if you feel so strongly about the redistricting you should have had the ethics to go hire an atorney at your own expense and filed suit like others are doing. The County treasury isn't you personal political bank account Commissioner.
Buck Harmon June 20, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Are the terms (a) thru (c) real legal terms or just stuff you made up to make it sound like you know what you're talking about Ricky..?
romeo valianti June 20, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I have finally studied the Commissioners term in off so far and I am ready to grade them.Doug (Spanky ) Howrd leads off with a grade of a solid F Dave (cement( Raush F Rob-em (Prayers) Raush F Richard (Constitution) Rothschild F Haven (Legal Eagle) Shoemeaker deserves a littlle better but only with a D The county taxpaying citizens gets rated a solid A+ for looking and speking out such as Neil Ridfgely , Dvis Iacono, Buck Harmon. David Grand, Judy Smith, Bonnie Grady and so many others too numerious to mention.
Bonnie Grady June 20, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Ritchie, now that you've earned your dollar-and-fifty-cent law degree through the mail, perhaps you can take on the job of County Attorney too. God knows that Tim Burke deserves a break from you and your colleagues. So the vote was: Howard - for the suit, then against it; Roush - for the suit, then against it; Frazier - first against it, then refused to vote (WTH?); Rothschild - for it, then stupidly still for it; Shoemaker - against it and then still against it. One out of four is pretty lame, don'tcha think??? Thank you, Haven, for getting it right this time, for whatever the reason. You're causing me to wonder if there's real hope for you down the road.
David J Iacono June 20, 2012 at 07:37 PM
More BS from Rothschild. The fact is that the redistricting lawsuit was strictly political and should have been funded out of the Republican Central committee funds or out of the pockets to those affected, i.e.,Krebs, Stockdale, etc. Tea Party types like Rothschild are always complaining about those socialist Democrats but when it comes to feeding off the taxpayer dime whether for bogus travel expenses, bogus environmental summits, or bogus lawsuits, they have no problem sticking their hand in someone elses pocket. Let's not forget all those great socialist benefits Rothschild and company get from the county taxpayers as county employees. Much better than either state or federal employees.
Buck Harmon June 20, 2012 at 07:38 PM
This is a no brainer for Shoemaker....he runs a perpetual campaign and his decisions are calculated on getting the vote...he does deserve credit on this one though...but then again, he's a lawyer and knew all along that his fellow Commissioners were legally dancing on egg shells.
Judith M. Smith June 20, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Perhaps Mr. Rothschild doesn't know the background of the term "gerrymandering"--it actually has evolved from the term "juryrigging." We got jury "rigged" by now retired Senator Haines years ago when he choose to back the LESS popular district choice ...and it has resulted in a stacked "jury" for all sorts of mischief taking place within the County walls. He is in a world of his own delusions just as Mz. Fraiser is...interesting that she protected her mentor, Getty, and also her original mentor, Haines.
WatchingInMtAiry June 20, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Then file a suit as a private citizen Mr Rothschild. Don't spend our tax dollars on this stuff. Focus locally on what you've been elected to do.
Bonnie Grady June 21, 2012 at 03:33 AM
I agree - he saw the handwriting on the wall. Thank God at least one of them has some sense.
Kathy June 21, 2012 at 12:13 PM
I have no great affinity for the actions of the Board of Commissioners in many respects, HOWEVER, if they honestly believed that the citizens of Carroll County were being shortchanged by the redistricting, wouldn't they have the legal right to try and do something about it? Maybe they WERE just trying to keep Carroll County Republican (in fact I am sure that is a major consideration) but, even as a Democrat, I do think that the current redistricting DID unfairly link Carroll County to another county with different interests. The redistricting process is always political--when the Republicans are in office they try to redraw to benefit Republicans and when the Democrats are in office they do try to benefit Democrats. I agree that using County funds for this lawsuit was ill-advised, but I don't know if it follows that the Board's actions were 100% political. The party in power is always using citizen funds to promote itself and its agenda, and if they hold an event say, at a new school or community center, they will take the opportunity to say how great they are, but that doesn't make the event 100% political. In short, the Board's actions might have been ethically close to the line, but legally I think they had the right to bring their suit.
Buck Harmon June 21, 2012 at 01:20 PM
What are the different interests between the Counties?...how was that assessed? That seems to be the real point of contention. Are they political differences or governing differences?
John Culleton June 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM
The term gerrymander has a more direct descent from the antics of a governor Gerry of Mass. long ago who drew election districts, one of which resembled a salamander. Check it on google before you speak.
romeo valianti June 27, 2012 at 12:55 AM
John Culletton. I will side with Judy Smith as she is always at the fore fromt of most politicalm or non political subjects, We cant all be experts like you John
John Culleton June 27, 2012 at 02:13 AM
This year we have had three gerrymanders, for the Congress, the house of delegates and the commissioners. It would make more sense for the commissioners to complain if they had not themselves approved the crazy quilt map with the huge district in the North and the peninsula putting Perry Jones in a district that includes Mt. Airy.

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