Vote 'yes' on home rule charter on Feb. 12

February 09, 2008

To the editor:

To: Fellow residents of Washington County

One of the most important votes in the history of Washington County is upon us. At the Feb. 12 primary, if you are a registered voter, be as a Democrat, a Republican, a Green, an Independent or Unaffiliated, you can help decide if our county is ready to assume more control over local affairs. We all strongly encouraged you to go the polls and vote "yes" to the question adopting charter home rule.

Many of us have worked for more than a year, giving our best efforts to deliver to the citizens a charter that describes the structure and processes of government to better meet the needs of our county.

For nearly a year, the charter board studied, debated, and drafted our own mini-constitution; a.k.a., the charter.

Many issues such as districts versus at-large, county executive and referendum received considerable in-depth discussion. They were not debated in 30-second sound bites. Admittedly every one of us has parts of the charter with which we disagreed. However, compromise and a sense of give-and-take yielded a document that best meets the needs of Washington County.


We sought public input from you on our work. You gave us the desired input and we responded with many of the changes that you desired. The final version of the Charter was submitted on Oct. 30, 2007.

Since then, we have reached out to every corner of our county to make everyone aware of this proposal. Nearly 100 presentations have been made to service clubs, church groups, unions, trade organizations, tenant associations, professional associations, and political bodies. Numerous debates have been held. The response was been very encouraging and positive.

Since Oct. 30, opinions in opposition have been raised. However, we find most opposition to arise from imagined abuses, the charter's failure to further a political position, the Charter's failure to advance a personal agenda, or fear of change.

There has been a great deal of false claims, misinformation, and half truths. Despite the claims of the opposition, Washington County is not nor will it become Montgomery County and to reaffirm, the County Council will have no new authority to levy taxes beyond that already extended to the County Commissioners. None of the arguments in opposition have convinced us to reduce our enthusiasm for adoption of Charter Home Rule. Washington County is ready for home rule, and this Charter is the avenue to it.

We whole heartedly urge your "yes" vote Tuesday.

Ron Bowers, Sharon Leatherman

Jim Brown, Spence Perry

William Christoffel,

Brien Poffenberger

Fanny Crawford, Monda Sagalkin

R. Lee DowneyJeanne Singer

David Hanlin, Mary Ellen Waltemire

Pat Heck, John Williamson

Washington County Charter Board and Friends of Charter Home Rule

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