YOU ARE HERE: HeraldMail HomeCollectionsArmy

Letters to the Editor - Feb. 22

February 22, 2012

Stadium zeppelin about to balloon out of control

To the editor:

One day, it’s renovating a stadium to preserve a local tradition, and the next its mounting a campaign to replace The Herald-Mail for a new ballpark. Let’s go to the breakdown.

Down the stretch, time to tie this project to anything, except for baseball, that might win public support. From roundhouses and railroads to revitalization, makes me wish I owned a steam engine and that laundromat on Summit Avenue.

This zeppelin looks set to balloon out of control. And unless I’m mistaken, that’s followed by rattling bats for all the credit, which is just before the county errs and state balks, leaving only the shouting over the latest wild pitch. 

But, the money’s in the bag, right? Well ... the city’s pitching in more debt, the county’s stealing funds promised to others and the state’s waving off its Triple-A deficit. Instead of opposing bond bills for fire companies, the delegation’s putting on the rally caps and swinging away for a $5 million state gift. I’m not a betting man, but the odds are on the under for it being over before the bottom of the session.

Why is it always that a new stadium is waved around like a big foam finger during a bad economy? I guess the shot callers figure things are so off base that it’s a good change-up from focusing on issues like fixing roads and upgrading schools.

Lets be realistic, if local government is investing the lion’s share in this long-term debt, which is pledged by the full faith of its taxpayers for a largely private venture, then put it on the ballot and resolve the “fortitude” issue by letting the public decide. After all, it’s a good example of why the majority opposed county charter, and certainly more important than party affiliation of city officeholders.     

Kristin Aleshire

Editor’s note: The letter writer is a former Hagerstown City Councilman and Washington County Commissioner, and a current candidate for Hagerstown City Council.

Writer has many reasons for serving in Army

To the editor:

I’m writing in order to give readers from my home area a view on why I serve in the Army. I graduated from Greencastle-Antrim (Pa.) High School in 1995 and began a journey that culminated with my commissioning as an officer in the U.S. Army in 2000.

Over the past 17 years, I have traveled to numerous countries, including Peru, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Germany and South Korea. I spent the first eight years of my career as a field artillery officer, leading soldiers and directing artillery fire in support of maneuver forces. After eight years of service, I faced a crossroads in life: the choice between staying in the Army or getting out and living life as a civilian. I decided to stay in the Army, and I currently serve as a Foreign Area Officer (FAO) with a regional specialization in the Middle East.

As a FAO, I underwent Arabic language training and obtained a master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Virginia. Through my education and my travels in the Middle East, I have gained an invaluable perspective on not only American foreign policy, but also on world events. The time I have spent in the Middle East has been an amazing opportunity which the majority of the officer corps will never experience.

My decision to stay in the military stemmed from the hope that I can use what I have done to foster better relations with Middle Eastern countries as well as allow me to relate my experiences to Americans. I feel that through cultural understanding and with mutual respect, perhaps the people of the world can continue to reduce the instances of war, and we can move toward a stable, peaceful era of mankind.

Maj. Kyle Davis
Fort Belvoir, Va.

Fire, rescue companies should be funded with tax dollars

To the editor:

I was absolutely shocked to recently learn that Washington County was considering allowing local fire and rescue operations to bill citizens for their services.

Let us put this into perspective. Exactly what are the most important things that the government (to whom we pay a vast amount of tax dollars to) is supposed to do? The most important priorities of state and local government are to provide for public safety (police, fire protection and rescue services), education, health care for the poor and well-maintained roads.

I have no problem paying taxes to support all of the above public necessities; after all, the reason that we formed our social contract was to provide for the individual that which they could not provide for themselves. This is why we pay taxes. The problem here is that government has found ways to waste so much of the taxpayers’ money on the unnecessary that we no longer have enough money to pay for the necessary.

I do not think that it is reasonable to bill any citizen of Washington County for a public safety matter such as fire and rescue. I guess the next step will be to impose a fee on anyone who reports a crime to the police to cover the cost of covering the investigation. We should not be charging fees to victims of crimes, fires or accidents in Washington County. Policies such as these are simply wrong — period.

The underlying problem here is quite simply that matters as important as fire and rescue should never have been left to volunteers. We would never consider having a volunteer police force in the county. Why then is a volunteer fire and rescue force a good idea? There might have been a time in America when this worked, however that time has passed. We need to staff all fire houses and rescue stations with full-time trained professionals and fund them with tax dollars and say good bye to the past.

Rodney Pearson Sr.

The Herald-Mail Articles