Our View: Whig Editorial

Thumbs up

To the ground breaking of the Elkton Recreation Community Center after many years of proposals, starts and stops. For many of the county seat’s elected and appointed officials, there were wonders if the day would ever arrive that the town would have indoor space of its own for programming. Now the 18,724-square-foot center will be built next to the George Washington Carver Education Leadership Center on Booth Street, with hope to complete the project sometime in August 2020. For many, the groundbreaking ceremony was the culmination of years of debate on the recreation center, dating back to Mayor James G. Crouse in 1997. The closest the town ever got to construction before this moment was in 2013, when the board voted to designate $1.5 million of the town’s fund balances to build a center at another site off Landing Lane. But when faced with a sizable deficit, the board had to reverse course and spend some of it to offset a tax increase. The site later became home to the town’s solar panel array. Under Mayor Rob Alt’s leadership, the town has made tremendous strides in developing the rec center, receiving $800,000 in state funds and negotiating for the purchase of the current site in the downtown area. While there are more questions left to be answered about how the center will be staffed and what programs it will run, all were confident that “if we build it, they will come.” We tend to think that will be true if planned well, and we wish the town luck in its endeavor.

Thumbs down

To the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that it has no role to play in the partisan gerrymandering of congressional and legislative districts, a decision that leaves state officials free from federal court challenges to their plans to shape districts to blatantly help their parties, according to the Associated Press. The court’s conservative majority, including the two justices appointed by President Donald Trump, prevailed in a 5-4 ruling that dealt a huge blow to efforts to combat the redrawing of district lines to benefit a particular party. Redistricting will next take place in 2021, once 2020 census results are available. Voters and elected officials should be the arbiters of what is a political dispute, Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion for the court. Speaking for the dissenters, Justice Elena Kagan said that partisan gerrymandering at its most extreme “amounts to ‘rigging elections.’” While we can appreciate that devising a way to review and approve electoral maps is a tall task, we also disagree that courts do not have standing to rule on clearly inappropriate — and in our opinion, unconstitutional — maps. Advances in technology have allowed map-makers to draw districts with increasing precision, slicing and dicing neighborhoods — sometimes even individual homes — to try to increase odds of election. Surely our 18th century Founding Fathers could never have envisioned, nor had intended for, redistricting to become so partisan.

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