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Saturday  •  February 1, 2020

Concerning Influences & Coordination of Support for CR-112 & 2019 HCPSS Redistricting Plan 

By Steven Keller

As hinted at in the recently leaked text messages here between County Councilwomen Christiana Mercer-Rigby and Liz Walshthe need for socio-economic based redistricting and the supposed “segregation” of Howard County was heavily reliant upon data and opinions from a redistricting study published by a local community member who had served on the ‘Education Committee’ for County Executive Calvin Ball’s 2019 transition team.



Amazingly enough, this same author wrote the following article (with a not-so-politically-correct conclusion) just 15 months earlier.



Here’s the stand-out quote:

“Nonetheless, there are parents who insist that their children attend the “best” school based on test scores. Asian students perform better than other races, and higher incomes perform better than lower. If you move your children to a school with high average family income and a high Asian population, will it affect your family income? Will it make your child more Asian? If not, it is not likely to affect your child’s own performance. The reason the school’s test scores are higher can mostly be explained by the higher percentage of students in groups that score higher. It is better to focus on encouraging your children to do their homework, and find schools that have the resources they need.”


Also recently discovered via a Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) request was an email from the President of the Columbia Regional Office for The Howard Hughes Corporation to the Columbia Downtown Housing Corp (CDHC) that referenced this community member’s redistricting study and urged HCPSS to redistricting based on socio-economic terms.


This letter was relayed by a third party to Kevin Gilbert, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Superintendent Martirano, among others, in July 2019 to provide “an additional reference” for them, likely to provide “cover” for the socio-economic based redistricting plan that Superintendent Martirano was planning.


On the same day that this email from the Columbia Howard Hughes Corp. president was sent to HCPSS, the news organization Center Maryland advertised this blog post research on their Facebook page.


Also, timed perfectly with the press release for the CR-112 resolution by County Councilmembers Christiana Mercer-Rigby, Opel Jones and Deb Jung on August 13, 2019, Center Maryland began advertising heavily for socio-economic based redistricting, as detailed here and here.



It would be interesting to know what Christiana Mercer-Rigby, Opel Jones, Sabina Taj, Mavis Ellis, Jen Mallo, The Howard Hughes Corporation and any other CR-112 & FARM-based redistricting advocates think of this statement and the author’s overall conclusion.

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