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Letters to the Editor - April 9

April 08, 2012

Credibility of editorials a cause for concern

To the editor:

Not knowing who writes the editorials produced by The Herald-Mail, I am left to assume they represent the paper’s general opinion on certain issues, the credibility of which has become increasingly concerning of late. Take for example two recent drafts, one several weeks ago “supporting the Commissioners measured approach,” which showed unfair preferential treatment in promoting a single private company’s opt-out recycling program only to turn around this week rightly in shame of that same Board for “halting steps toward recycling.” 

What compelled me to write, however, was the most recent draft focusing on the hotel/motel tax and the underlying belief that new accountability will finally provide a structure to support “project(s) that will have a meaningful and long-lasting impact (insert stadium) on the community.” I guess the newspaper assumes all of those other projects that weren’t bricks and mortar were meaningless, short-lived wastes of precious resources.

Of course, we would have to overlook the fact that events like Antietam fireworks bring in more people in a single night than baseball does in half a season or the reality that just a few thousand dollars sponsors dozens of traditional cultural festivals all across the county, filling our entire year with family-oriented seasonal activities that have been shared for generations.  

Lastly, I’ll touch on the newspaper’s second vague reference it has made on the T. Rowe Price project. For the record, it was an $810,000 conditional loan tied to T. Rowe Price constructing a $75 million facility, creating 17 new jobs and generating $7 million in new taxes. If my math is right, that’s 1 percent of public funds to 99 percent of private investment, which is a bit different than the $25 million stadium proposal that plans to use 90 percent public funds, pay no property tax and retain all future proceeds.

The Herald-Mail, like others, fails to focus on the fact that much of these hotel/motel tax funds are currently committed, but rather pretends the money is just sitting around waiting for a new stadium proposal that “won’t cost the local taxpayer a dime.” If accountability is welcome, then I would argue credibility is key, and directing public opinion while hiding behind the label of a local and trusted news resource is a disservice to the public it is meant to accurately inform.

Kristin B. Aleshire
Hagerstown

Editor’s note: The letter writer is a candidate for Hagerstown City Council.


Cost of senior center could pay for recycling program

To the editor:

In January, The Herald-Mail reported that the Washington County Commissioners announced the approval of a $6 million senior citizen center project to begin in April. In March, the newspaper reported that the Washington County Commissioners need $200,000 a year to empty recycling bins throughout the county.

The commissioners want to impose a $36 annual fee on everyone who wishes to use a recycling bin. This is one of their suggestions for obtaining the $200,000 they do not have. This would certainly have a very negative impact on a worthwhile program that has taken years of coaxing to enlist public cooperation.

Everyone should be commended for their participation in our much-needed recycling effort. The commissioners do not need to do anything to jeopardize this effort.

Equally disturbing is the commissioners alternative to the $36 sticker, which is increasing landfill fees to raise the needed $200,000 each year. There’s nothing like forcing some to pay for services provided to all. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, if you divide 6 million by 200,000 you come up with 30. This means that for the price of one senior citizen center, the county can pay a contractor to empty all the recycling bins in the county for the next 30 years.

Perhaps the county commissioners should forgo the building of a new senior center.

I am 70 years old, and I don’t believe any senior in this county wants a $6 million project carried out that will ultimately create a hardship for other citizens. Most seniors that I know have a real knack for entertaining themselves through their churches, community activities and volunteering.

How many other times will the county commissioners fall short of money for much-needed smaller projects while they spend millions on needless, unwanted projects?

George S. Coyle
Hagerstown


State seeks volunteers for abused, neglected children

To the editor:

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and our charge is to empower Marylanders to take a stand against child abuse by getting involved in the solution. 

Maryland CASA is a nonprofit organization with 15 affiliated Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs throughout the state — part of a network of more than 900 CASA programs across the country that train and support volunteers to speak and act as advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children. With the help of a CASA volunteer, a child is half as likely to languish in the foster care system, and much more likely to find a safe and permanent home. 

Only one in 10 children in need is appointed a CASA volunteer. Nearly 9,000 children don’t have an advocate. Maryland CASA is committed to ensuring that every child in the child welfare system has a qualified CASA volunteer looking out for their best interests. Our goal is to double the number of CASA volunteers advocating for children in Maryland by 2020. 

Especially needed are men and people of color, as African-American and Latino children are overrepresented in the child welfare system and there are far too few men to assign to the many boys waiting for volunteers.

I invite the people of Maryland to stand and support these children. To see how you can help a child in your community, visit www.marylandcasa.org.

Edward T. Kilcullen Jr., director
Maryland CASA Association

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