Letters to the editor

April 16, 2005

Old visions can still apply to a new era

It has been both an honor and a pleasure to have served this community as a council member for the last 11 years. I have had the privilege of serving our city during three administrations with three different mayors. I consider Mayors Steve Sager, Bob Bruchey and Bill Breichner to be my friends and respect all three for their past and current service to our community.

During my tenure on the council, I have served with 10 different council members of varying backgrounds, ages and wards. I have agreed with my fellow members more often than not during that time period, but we certainly have had substantial disagreements that were always resolved in a professional and courteous manner.

During my tenure, this city has faced many issues that have required firm positions, not equivocation. My position that substantial city tax funds should not be used to fund a new stadium for a professional baseball team is not new and remains unchanged. I strongly opposed the attempts of Allegheny Energy to relieve this city of its valuable electrical distribution system. Until that utility was turned down, its corporate mantra voiced through its hired executive was to publicly criticize elected officials for their refusal to sell, claiming government just did not understand.


I worked long hours with citizen groups and staff to help "imagineer" our Fairgrounds Park and fought for years over two administrations to fund this city's magnificent July 4 celebration. I am proud of our city's renaissance and our unprecedented good relations with our county government.

The past is my record and I am proud to have it reviewed. The voters can judge from past performance, but deserve to know what my "old visions for a new era" are.

I envision a city where hate, bigotry and prejudice no longer exist. I envision a city that is open-minded enough to not only elect persons of different religious beliefs and physical limitations to our city government, but a community that in the year 2005 will see the wisdom of adding a qualified woman of color to that list.

I envision a city where elected officials can sit a table with all employee bargaining units and learn together how we can set aside the mistrust and misunderstanding that have led to a systemic failure in our dealings with all of our employees, both union and supervisory.

I envision a city where elected officials and developers can share the common goal of optimizing the quality of life for all of our citizens; where growth is not allowed to overburden our infrastructure and quality schools are more important than high-density housing.

I envision a city where government assists private donors to fund a community/high school stadium before even discussing funding a stadium for professional baseball.

There are many more visions but too little space. I do admit that these visions are not new. My visions are indeed old ones. For me, I take some comfort in these old thoughts. If you do also, please consider casting your vote for me and my "old visions for a new era."

Lewis C. Metzner is a member of the Hagerstown City Council.

Get 'er done? Let's get 'er right

In response to Art Callaham, executive director of the Greater Hagerstown Committee, I would offer the following facts regarding his inaccurate statements.

As for the Friends of Hagerstown PAC, consider:

· Eighty-seven percent of reported PAC contributions to the "slate/team" are from developer interests.

· Less than 20 percent of the reported contributors are citizens of Hagerstown.

· At least one developer interest had funds returned for exceeding the contribution limits.

So whose private "agenda" do the Friends of Hagerstown truly represent?

In response to PAC "goals," this administration:

· Reversed a four-year projected budget deficit through fiscally responsible policies.

· Is jointly working with the county and state on at least 10 major projects and initiatives.

· Was the first public body to submit a letter to the state supporting a new health-care facility.

· Developed and implemented the most progressive annexation policy in city history.

· Created an aggressive program to address inflow and infiltration in our entire sewer system.

So what real "agenda" for change do the Friends of Hagerstown have?

Sound fiscal policies have turned the city toward a much more positive financial future. Most fee increases were for new growth, so taxpayers aren't footing the bill for new development. The city and county share a positive relationship with regular meetings on projects and issues we are jointly addressing

The state rejected once, and has yet to approve the hospital's revised financial application. The hospital has refused for at least two years to proceed with requesting zoning approval from the county.

The Herald-Mail Articles