A Prince George's County group known as Citizens for a Community Council has launched a campaign to place on the November election ballot a charter amendment that would reorganize the County Council.
Spokesman for the group say that they collected nearly 4,000 signatures at the polls during last week's primary. To get the referendum on the general election ballot, they must collect 10,000 voters signatures by Aug. 18.
Joseph Johnson, chairman of the newly formed group, said the proposed charter amendment would reduce the size of the council to nine and force all candidates to run in districts. At present, there are 11 council members, all of whom are elected at-large. Under the present system, five members are required to reside in distrcits, although they too must run at-large.
"Almost anyone who follows the council's deliberations knows that . . . it can be a pretty unruly bunch," said Johnson. "Since it is so large and all of its members are elected countywide, it's naturally kind of unresponsive to local needs. These two factors also make it difficult to get anyone elected to the council who doesn't have sizable financial backing.
"We're probably well on our way to getting enough signatures," said Johnson. "Since we got all of the signatures at the polls, most of the signatures should be valid because most of the people who signed were voters.
"If the new system is accepted, I think we'll see some changes in the number of people who are able to run for the council and changes in the responsiveness of individual council members," he added. "It just doesn't seem very realistic for us to have an at-large council representing 700,000 people."
If the proposed amendment is approved in November, the council could be reorganized in time for county elections scheduled for November 1982.