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Letters to the Editor

February 01, 2009

City has bigger fish to fry than this



To the editor:

I viewed with dismay the Hagerstown mayor and council meeting with the city's board of elections on Tuesday.

I think it was appropriate for the council to adjourn a discussion that was quickly becoming uncivil and off topic. It was clear that elections board member Paul Muldowney was attempting to incorporate another partisan element into the city election process with some illusion of altering the decisions of the electorate and facilitating the argument that opposing party incumbents would be affected by the same guise.

To reach beyond this partisan thought process, I would support the solutions put forth by at least one current council Republican candidate, Forrest Easton, and incumbent Democratic candidate Lew Metzner.

It is a forgone conclusion that this election will require election board services at more than double the cost of four years ago. Thus focus should be placed on maintaining the city's autonomous election schedule at nonpublic school polling places, and saving the citizens the exorbitant election board costs projected in 2013, regardless of the fact that these issues haven't been a problem in the past.

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Like nearly every other town across the nation, the city should be entitled to hold a local election separate from state and national schedules.

There is no reason that the next city administration cannot organize a committee of our citizenry to come up with an alternative approach to utilize our many public and community buildings for polling and produce a list of citizens interested in volunteering to operate polls.

This could include students at HCC taking local government courses and our active seniors, who, by the way, are sharp as tacks on the election process and many other issues, for that matter.

There may be some cost for printing ballots and building usage, but I am certain it will be somewhere significantly south of $135,000.

Given the large sums of money provided to candidates in recent elections, maybe the city could require all funds not expended to be automatically forfeited to an account to cover costs of the next election. Ballots may take more than a few hours to tally, but show me a local election in recent past where results did not depend on the counting of additional ballots over several days. The only difference is that the media and the public may have to wait that same few days for the news.

It is at this point that I would say to my friends Paul Muldowney and Lew Metzner, who are both long-time, respected community leaders, "can't we all just get along" at least for the sake of not making an issue out of something where there isn't an issue to begin with?

Maybe then our mayor and council can get back to focusing on more important city matters and we can spare the public from endless candidate opinions on nonsubstantive campaign issues.

Kristin Aleshire

Kristin Aleshire is a Washington County Commissioner and a former member of the Hagerstown City Council.




Be a voice for these brave students



To the editor:

The ethics code of the American Psychological Association "urges psychologists to evaluate their competencies and the limitations of their expertise."

The danger of being quoted as an "expert" in any field is that the majority of the people reading the information accept it as fact. I, too, am a psychologist, a clinical psychologist. Before living in Maryland, I was the co- chair of the New York State Psychological Association Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

I have more than 20 years of clinical private practice experience. I am a member of American Psychological Association (APA) and I am in the National Register of Psychologists.

The professional stand on the issue of sexual orientation and homosexuality is very clear: "Since 1975, the American Psychological Association has called on psychologists to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations. The discipline of psychology is concerned with the well-being of people and groups and therefore with threats to that well-being. The prejudice and discrimination that people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual regularly experience have been shown to have negative psychological effects."

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