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Commissioners candidate would fight 'excessive development'

Joe Lane says if elected, he would enforce county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance

August 19, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

Washington County Commissioners candidate Joe Lane said he thinks the commissioners too often put the needs of developers and well-connected businessmen over those of other citizens.

"They're mindlessly pro-growth, and they don't consider the downside of sprawl and excessive development," said Lane, 46, a Smithsburg-area resident who is running on the Green Party ticket.

Lane said that, if elected, one of his top priorities would be to enforce the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to prevent road and school overcrowding. He said the commissioners too often exempt developers from the ordinance.

Another priority would be fiscal responsibility, such as not borrowing money to build new infrastructure that encourages sprawl. He said taxpayer money should be used only to serve the needs of the public, not to support filmmakers, build stadiums for privately owned sports teams or otherwise subsidize private enterprise.

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He said he would promote open government by pushing for meetings of the commissioners to be televised and held in the evening when more residents can participate.

Lane said while party has limited relevance at the county government level, one Green Party ideal he would promote is that of a localized economy. He said he would like to see a campaign to encourage residents to shop locally and to support local farmers by buying produce from local farm stands.

"We should have that happening as much as possible, because you can almost create what would seem like growth," by recycling dollars within the county, he said.

He encouraged voters who might be hesitant to vote for a third-party candidate to look at his positions.

"My positions are, I think, clearly the majority positions in this county," Lane said.

Lane said he has been active in local politics for more than 20 years, everywhere he has lived. He previously wrote an occasional column for The Herald-Mail, but, under company policy, he has not been a columnist since filing to run for commissioner.

Lane is a native of Northern Virginia and lived in Prince George's County, Md., before moving to Washington County in 1993. He lived in Hancock before moving to the Smithsburg area.

Lane is one of 14 candidates for five county commissioner seats. The 12 Republican candidates will be narrowed to five in a Sept. 14 primary before facing Lane and Democrat Kristin B. Aleshire in the Nov. 2 general election.

The commissioners are paid $30,000 a year and the commissioners president is paid $33,000 a year.

Joe Lane



Age: 46

Address: 12030 Hippan Hill Road, Smithsburg

Education: Bachelor of science in mathematics from Mount St. Mary's (2002); seeking master's in educational technology from Frostburg University at USM-H

Occupation: Math teacher at Smithsburg High School

Party affiliation: Green Party

Political experience: First run for public office

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