Prince George's County Council member Darlene Z. White presented her colleagues this week with a charter amendment that would require at lease a one-year residency in the county for anyone seeking an at-large seat on the council, and in a council-manic district for anyone running for a seat from that district.
White, who has announced that she will run for reelection to her fourth district council post in November, said the omission of a residency requirement in the county charter was "brought to her attention" after her staff checked on the residency of a potential rival for her seat.
White, who ran on a ticket with her fellow council members and county executive Winfield M. Kelly four years ago, has recently been "on the outs with Kelly" according to Kelly aides and could be "bumped from the ticket" this year.
According to sources, Kelly is said to want Deborah Marshall, executive director for the Commission on Women and, until last week was a Greenbelt resident, to replace White on a ticket he would head.
Marshall, 27 and a political novice, moved to Suitland this weekend, according to White, "just in time to register to vote and (potentially) to file for the election."
"It frightens me that any group feels powerful enough and has the audacity to sell this kind of program," White siad, "to cram someone down people's throats like that."
White said, "People who represent an area ought to have at least one year's experience living in it, to know the people, to know their concerns."
Marshall said that "certainly there may be an advantage to living in an area, to be aware of what the problems of the community are. But I feel I would have no problem in getting into the community and getting changes done if need be.
"I moved to Suitland to keep my options open.But living here, I have two options (running at large or running in a counclimanic district) instead of one. We need to have more black representation on the council, and there are more black people here than in Green-belt."
White acknowledged the charter amendment would have no effect on this year's election but said she intended to use the residency requirement as an issue in any upcoming political battle.
White said she had not contacted other council members to see if she would have any support for her amendment. If passed by the council, the amendment would be placed on the ballot in the November election.