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Thumbs up, thumbs down

March 04, 2006

Thumbs up to Hagerstown Mayor Robert Bruchey, for hitting the ground running and traveling to Annapolis on his first full day in office to testify against a bill that would restrict municipalities' powers to annex property outside their borders. Planning Director Kathleen Maher is correct when she says the bill proposes "a dictatorship of counties over cities."




Thumbs up to the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Govermental Affairs Committee, for voting 12-1 to send a bill to require more disclosure from lobbyists to the full Senate. Not only would the bill mandate quarterly reports of lobbying activity that would be available on the Internet, lobbyists would also have to disclose trips arranged for legislators. It's not perfect, but it's a start.




Thumbs down to the Bush administration, for its claim that no one anticipated the breaching of the levees in New Orleans. A videotape of a pre-Katrina briefing clearly shows the president and other officials of his administration were told clearly that the levees could be breached, which invalidates their claim that the disaster was unforeseeable.

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Thumbs up to Virginia "Ginny" Danko, who recently retired after more than 30 years of service as a court clerk for the Maryland District Court in Hagerstown. In retirement, she says, she plans to get involved in dog therapy, taking her pet dog to visit residents of local nursing homes.




Thumbs down to Maryland lawmakers attempting to cut $35 million in funds for correction employees from Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich's budget. The Associated Press reports that the $32.3 million measure would provide pay raises for all correctional officers that would average 6 percent. If that sounds like a lot, the AP also reported that other than cost-of-living adjustments, officers haven't had a pay increase in 15 years!




Thumbs up to Washington County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer, for his attempt to hold down the cost of a new elevator for the prisoner-transport elevator for the County Courthouse. The apparatus could cost up to $650,000, Rohrer said, but added that he hopes to hold the bill to $450,000. Maybe they could install a meter and charge those found guilty to ride.




Thumbs up to Bret Frain, chief of the Waynesboro, (Pa.) Ambulance Squad, for his common-sense advice to cell-phone users - designate some of the numbers in your phone book ICE, as in "in case of emergency." That way the paramedics can notify the people most important in your life that you have been injured.




Thumbs down to the Washington County Commissioners, who apparently never asked if it was legal to send county residents tax rebate checks. This idea was first proposed last September, so why is this possible flaw coming to light so late in the game? If this is a problem with someone on staff not doing their duty, the commissioners should consider giving them a bit of time off to refocus.

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