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A little more civility, please

November 01, 2004

Did Hagerstown Councilwoman Penny Nigh shove Ed Lough or just brush up against him on her way out of the council chamber?

Accounts of what happened differ - Lough said he would have been arrested for doing the same thing to Nigh - but there's another, more important point to be made here.

Lough is one of the leaders of a coalition supporting the Washington County Hospital's move to Robinwood - an idea some councilmembers strongly oppose.

Some members of the business community strongly opposed locating the University Systems of Maryland campus downtown, but they made their arguments in a dignified way that did not prevent them for working with UMS once the decision was made.

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All members of the council should be able to listen to points of view with which they disagree without insulting the people making those arguments, as Nigh did last week when she told Lough's group that "You all have have nauseated me to no end."

This community and its leaders need to mature to the point where folks can have an honest, vocal, heated exchange on an issue, and then move on to other things. That doesn't mean stifling debate. It does mean conducting it with respect for the people who are on the other side.

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