Local officials aren't as far apart as some seem to believe

August 16, 2006|by KRISTIN ALESHIRE

(Editor's note: On July 16, former Washington County Commissioner John Schnebly wrote a column for The Herald-Mail in which he called for new thinking about the City of Hagerstown and regional planning.)

In response to John Schnebly's "love fest" editorial, I agree, and believe John to be one of the more capable leaders of this community. However, I would contend that his letter was more a reflection of past relationships, not recognizing the strides we have made to get everyone at the same table to begin the very process his letter contends is not happening.

In my experience, we have significantly increased direct communication between the county, the board of education, city, towns and state delegation, to collectively develop plans to address our larger issues.

This includes a countywide approach toward the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, revenue sharing, economic development, revitalization initiatives, infrastructure needs, health-care improvements, road system priorities, public safety and education funding just to name a few.


Although I agree we have not resolved every issue, we have come to the same table, and must now work diligently to smooth the edges and make our table round.

I admire John's dedication and believe in leaders willing to put in the time to become as knowledgeable as possible about the issues in order to make the most informed decisions.

These decisions may not always be agreeable to everyone, but must be in the best interest of the overall long term success of our community.

I would hope that my record reflects that this approach is the philosophy with which I undertake the duties public office, as opposed to campof aign rhetoric wrought with arbitrary promises and unfounded assumptions.

To clear up any confusion, political office for me is a passion to participate and bring positive change to the community in which I live, not a career path.

So to correct the impression made by a previous statement in this paper about state office. I simply believe that regardless of what position an elected person holds in this county, finite water and sewer capacity is the most important long-term issue that requires an immediate comprehensive solution. This will provide the framework and vision from which all other service needs may be defined.

I fully understand that there are many other parts of this plan that will require careful analysis, forward thinking, and firm decision making.

I believe that in public office, my primary responsibility is to serve the governmental process with fairness and accuracy that improves the quality of life for the community which we share.

For this reason I will always strive to make myself directly available to fellow citizens to address the needs and issues for which we expect our public officials to adhere.

Kristin Aleshire is a member of the Hagerstown City Council and a candidate for the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

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