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Mar. 22nd, 2008 | 01:06 pm

Wow! Two posts in the same day.

I have just heard that the City of Greenbelt is being sued by the ACLU and the NAACP for having no minority representatives on its five-member city council. The population is around 22,000, which is about 40% white, 40% black, and 20% Latino.

The one fact which the appelants seem to have overlooked is that in the last six city elections which have occurred since my family moved here, no black or Latino has ever put their name forward to run on the council. The council is non-partisan, but we've had avowed Socialists, Greens and Libertarians all run for it in the past. The current council is as 'middle-class' as can be, three men and two women, all of whom have been in office for at least three terms, some for a lot longer. All would have to be called 'Moderates.'

In the way of a little history, Greenbelt was founded in 1937 as part of the New Deal, to create jobs and to provide affordable housing to middle income families. Two other 'Green' towns were founded at the same time, Greendale, WI, and Greenhills, OH.

Greenbelt has a long history of civic activism. The council members receive only a modest stipend for their service. Greenbelt provides some excellent public services, particularly parks and a city-run fitness center with indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Of course, the residents pay for this with extra taxes.

Still, as towns go, Greenbelt is better than most I've lived in here in Maryland.

I'm just wondering what relief the appelants are going to request. As far as I know, to run for City Council you just have to file your name, I don't think you even need 'x' number of signatures on a petition to do so.

Any opinions?

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Comments {1}


from: anonymous
date: Jun. 30th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)

Hi. I'm a fellow Greenbelter. As you may have learned by now, no suit has actually been filed. They just threatened to sue if the City didn't abandon its at-large voting system in favor of a system of districts, each with a council member to represent its individual interests.

In case you haven't heard, there's going to be a meeting about the NAACP and ACLU's proposal/threat tonight at 7 in the Municipal Building. I'm hoping the conversation can be redirected to what I think is the real problem: the apathy that keeps part of our community from getting involved in the community's affairs in any way at all. I shake my head when I read the precinct totals after an election and see the infinitesimal number of people in Springhill Lake who even bother to vote.

I hope you can make it to the meeting.


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