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Herald-Mail Forums

September 24, 2007

Last week's question:

Washington County's charter-writing board has proposed that the current five-member Board of County Commissioners be replaced by a seven-person county council, with five elected by districts and two at-large. Is that a good system?

· No, we need the check of the state. Someone far removed from this county. I feel we need state protection.

· Did we have this before and did it work? What lessons have we learned from that experience? Do we have qualified people in our area to hold these jobs? Not just the loudest, or those with the most money, or those who want the prestige of elected office, but those who truly care about our area?

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· No, and this is a bad question. Even The Herald-Mail should not isolate one part of charter home rule from all the rest of the parts. The newspaper easily could put either the 16-page draft charter or a link to the draft charter on this Web site, but this has not been done.

(Editor's note: A link to the draft charter is available by going to www.herald-mail.com/forums, or by going directly to www.charterboard.com.)

My guess is that this charter home rule story will be good for filler for the next five months and I think that I will try to skip reading about it just like I skip some comics that I don't like.

· Sounds like an interesting point on paper, but no one has yet explained to the rest of us what this home-rule business would mean for the average Joe or Josephine in this area. I don't think anyone can fully understand and offer an opinion on this until we find out, in shirt-sleeve English, what the heck this means!

· It's not worth the cyberspace it takes up. It's more nod-and-wink fast talking and no one, not a single current commissioner or any one on the charter board or the circulation-dropping paper will go out on a limb and tout it or explain the entire plan.

· Unless you have computer access, you have no access to the draft. What does it tell you about this great new form of government that they paid an outsider to write it? The less we know, the more power they have. The more of them there are, the more of them they have to pass the blame to. I thought they were all Reagan Republicans, so why do they want bigger government?

· Support the charter or be tasered.

· Thanks. Well, in that case, give me liberty or give me death!

· Why do they want to get rid of the state looking at them through the magnifying glass? We need the state!

· If five commissioners cannot explain why not one penny of the $1 million in the FY 2007 budget for the year July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007, put there to assist low income property owners pay their property taxes, has not been spent, why should I believe that seven county councilpeople could explain the foot-dragging by the county government?

· Who you are and who you aren't gets factored in.

· If the system does not represent all of the districts equally, it is not a good system. The southern part of the county has not been represented adequately because the votes of the larger districts impact the results of the elections.

The idea of the two at-large members should be abandoned and replaced by a district representative of south county. The charter committee seems motivated by special interests, as is the norm in politics, and does not represent the interests of all people, which should be the goal of politics.

· This would be fine without charter home rule. I would not want to give the commissioners (and developers) more power. We are already being bankrupted by the current commissioners. Charter home rule gives more power to the commissioners (and developers). More power will make it worse.

· With this recession coming and a record number of houses being put up for auction, maybe this will mean a famous southern BBQ chicken in every pot.

· I have always been in favor of a "ward or district system" This should equal out the voices of all residents in Washington County and may get more people interested in local laws and politics.

· Has anyone (hint to some aspiring Herald-Mail journalist) researched just how many laws (and what they were) could have been passed over the years if we had had home rule? Seems to me its just a big smokescreen to add more bureaucracy to the good ol' boys club. Where's the evidence to the contrary?

· Absolutely not. And who exactly is expected to pay the salary of two more local politicians?

· Would it help if we said no to charter rule, but said yes to changing how our current officials are elected? Maybe divvying the county up into sections and having one rep from each division?

Two at-large members wouldn't have equal sway against five "local" people. If we're trying to even the playing field, then make one rep per region and have everyone on equal ground.

· Yes, it's a good idea. For residents in Cascade, it will mean more representation in Hagerstown.




This week's question:

On Aug. 22, The Associated Press released a poll that found that in the last year, 25 percent of U.S. adults read no books. Have you read a book in the last 12 months and if so, which one(s)?

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