How will home rule really help the county's residents?

January 31, 2008

What's with this push for home rule?

Have Washington County citizens been shortchanged for the last 200-plus years?

What local "laws and issues" have been ignored that have so greatly affected our lives?

To listen to the growing drumbeat from those in support, one would think that unless charter is implemented, local citizens will be cast into some dark, burning pit.

I don't know about you, but every time a special-interest group is hawking for support, there's a whole lot more involved than we simple folks can even guess.

Every day, another home rule committee member writes a letter espousing the virtues of home rule, how we need it and if Washington County doesn't embrace it, we are nothing but backward ignoramuses who will never get out of the Dark Ages.


It all sounds a bit like the herd following the leader off a high cliff, oblivious to the impending catastrophe.

Unless memory fails me, it was only just over a year ago that our local elected county commissioners resisted reducing the annual property reassessment to 5 percent until the General Assembly did some necessary arm-twisting. (Maybe the bureaucrats are incensed at that issue.)

Under home rule, would the General Assembly have as much influence, or would our county officials, being more independent, simply thumb their collective noses at the state legislature and continue the wholesale plundering of taxpayers?

Those who have spoken out against home rule have been publicly labeled as unwilling to embrace change and chastised for questioning the questionable benefits.

Well, not one letter, not one endorsement has convinced this voter that home rule offers any benefits to taxpayers.

A careful reading of the charter and an honest appraisal of our bureaucrats' leadership qualities points the other way.

Seems following the herd ain't always the smart thing to do.

Steve Palmer

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