|The redistricting commission has submitted to the council its recommended map for the seven new council districts, and it is not good for North Bethesda.|
The proposed district is shaped like a bow tie and combines North Bethesda with Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Many individuals and organizations (including Friends of White Flint, Luxmanor Civic Association, the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, and the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee, among others) believe the proposed gerrymandered district minimizes our voice in local politics, pulls North Bethesda away from our neighbors and community, and prevents our needs from being met.
We urge you to ask the county council to create a new map. (Contact info is below.) Also, please post your thoughts on social media with the hashtag #aNewMap … and don’t forget to tag all the county council members.
Here are more detailed reasons why this proposed map disenfranchises North Bethesda residents and businesses and greatly increases the risk that our needs will be ignored.
1) North Bethesda’s economic and political sensibilities lie with the Route 355 Corridor, so we should be in a district with others on the corridor. Whether that’s Rockville or Bethesda is for the Council to decide, but it certainly shouldn’t be Silver Spring and Takoma Park.
2) This is a gerrymandered district. The shape of our proposed new district is a bow tie that is neither compact nor composed of adjoining territory as required by law. It does not preserve communities of interest as required by the commission’s ground rules.
3) There are two sides to this bow tie district. The Silver Spring/Takoma Park side of the bow tie has 100,000 people. The other side of the bow tie which includes North Bethesda has 50,000 people. Our voice will be muted and our residents will be disenfranchised. In fact, the Redistricting Committee is on record calling it the Silver Spring District; already North Bethesda is being marginalized.
4) North Bethesda is one of major economic drivers for Montgomery County and its success is vital to the county’s future. It should be more than an afterthought or sacrificial lamb whose district placement is determined because it achieves some of the goals of the redistricting committee. Other people in the county have had more of a say in the redistricting, which we believe is wrong. Why were the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg allowed to insist they must be in the same district but we were not allowed to insist we are in the same district as other Route 355 communities? Some may argue North Bethesda is part of Rockville while others may argue North Bethesda is part of Bethesda. No one believes it is part of Silver Spring.
5) North Bethesda’s ties are to the Bethesda area. We are part of the BCC Regional Services Center, the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, and the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board. Our children attend schools in Bethesda and North Bethesda. We have few natural ties to the Silver Spring/Takoma Park area.
6) This process is being rushed without sufficient public input, and we will have to live with this redistricting map for the next ten years. Redistricting is too important not to do it right.
What you can do to advocate for our community
We need you to urge the council to create a new map that keeps North Bethesda with its Route 355 neighbors, We also need you to help ensure this becomes a very visible public issue.
1) Write and call ALL the councilmembers before November 18. Just calling our District One Councilmember Andrew Friedson will not have a sufficient impact. It is critical that you reach out to all nine councilmembers. Use the talking points listed above or use your own words. Feel free to copy us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gabe Albornoz 240-777-7959 councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov
Andrew Friedson 240-777-7828 Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov
Evan Glass 240-777-7966 Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov
Tom Hucker 240-777-7960 Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov
Will Jawando 240-777-7811 Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov
Sidney Katz 240-777-7906 Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov
Nancy Navarro 240-777-7968 Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov
Craig Rice 240-777-7955 Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov
Hans Riemer 240-777-7964 Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov
2) Post on social media your reasons why North Bethesda should not be in the same district as Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Use the hash tag #aNewMap and tag all the councilmembers. Utilize the talking points listed above.
Thank you so much for your help making sure our voice is heard.
For more information, please contact Amy Ginsburg, Executive Director of Friends of White Flint, email@example.com or visit www.whiteflint.org