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Elitist attitudes are becoming too common in our local government

October 12, 2003|by Sara Smith, Hagerstown

To the editor:

It is high time to relieve all elitist government officials of their duties. I am struggling to see how these poorly educated people were elected in the first place. Within the last few months we have had Hagerstown Councilwoman Penny Nigh openly display her elitist attitudes by speaking against the less fortunate in the community who rely upon the Section 8 program as a way to provide adequate housing for themselves and their families. Now we are experiencing John Munson's hostility toward the County Commuter and the roughly 67,000 Washington County residents who use it.

Mr. Munson, have you ever ridden a County Commuter? Have you ever been a teenager without a vehicle who is attempting to get to an after-school job? Have you ever been a senior citizen who is unable to drive or has no vehicle and needs groceries or a prescription refilled? Have you ever been unable to afford a vehicle or need to take your children to a physician or need a ride to a store to purchase basic household necessities?

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Have you ever been a college student without a vehicle who needs a ride to classes? Perhaps you've been environmentally conscious and have chosen to share one vehicle with a spouse and have needed public transportation on occasion.

Is there a chance you have ever been disabled or have simply chosen not to drive and have used the County Commuter to get to work?

In an era where most cities are striving to reduce the amount of traffic in the downtown areas and increase public transportation, only John Munson wants to reduce transportation options for county residents and build a new parking deck.

News flash, Mr. Munson. Many people do not own vehicles and are unable to afford one. Many people are unable to drive. Many people are environmentally conscious, unlike you, and have chosen to park their car and take a bus from time to time, eliminating traffic congestion and poor air quality.

I challenge Mr. Munson to park his car at his home for one week and use the County Commuter. No, riding behind a bus every once in a while will not do. Bus windows are tinted and you are not able to look through a back window. While riding the bus during one week I am confident that he will find, as I have witnessed, that many people ride the bus every day. Oftentimes, especially on Saturdays, nearly every seat is carrying a passenger.

The routes encompass far more than downtown, Washington Street and Potomac Street. Any logical thinker would realize that if all riders were able to get downtown without the bus, they would not need the bus in the first place.

Most riders get on or off the bus near their homes or places of employment, not a transfer point, which is what is downtown.

Please keep in mind, Mr. Munson that you are an elected official. The second largest group of riders, i.e., senior citizens, will be voting in large numbers, as usual, in the next election. I personally will be campaigning vigorously to remove you elitist thinkers from our county government. You can bet on my first stops will be all of the local retirement homes and communities.

My second will be at every designated County Commuter bus stop. You may want to warn Penny Nigh that Section 8 participants are able to vote, too. I am confident that many voters would gladly escort you and your attitudes right out of the commissioner's chair.

Sara Smith, Hagerstown

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