Letters to the Editor - Oct. 22

October 22, 2012

Independent redistricting commission sought for Md.

To the editor:

More than a year ago, Marylanders for Coherent and Fair Representation was formed as a 501 c4 nonpartisan organization to begin a dialogue of how the congressional districts of the State of Maryland should be drawn. Last fall, through the federal court case, we argued that a third majority-minority coalition district of African-Americans and Latino voters should be created in the suburbs of the District of Columbia.

Earlier this year, MCFR began the petition effort to place the map before the voters of Maryland. After four months, with a lot of hard work by hundreds of dedicated volunteers, we were successful turning in more than 65,000 signatures in July.

This past week, several Democratic elected officials, including the comptroller of the State of Maryland, joined their Republican counterparts to denounce the gerrymandered congressional district map and are actively campaigning against Question 5. MCFR is thrilled that people from across the partisan spectrum have chosen to speak with one voice against this map that serves to disenfranchise Latinos, African-Americans, the citizens of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and breaks up communities of interest by splitting Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties into four different congressional districts.

However, the end goal of this 14-month process has not been only the defeat of the congressional district map; it has always been the goal of this process to create an Independent Redistricting Commission to have fair and coherent representation for every citizen of the State of Maryland. Gerrymandering, in every form — Republican or Democrat — takes away the sovereign right of the governed to choose their representatives; instead, you have a chosen few who are able to choose their targeted voter constituency by carving up Maryland like it is a Thanksgiving turkey.

Voting against Question 5 will allow the voters to choose our representative. If you want good government, vote against Question 5.

Antonio Campbell
Towson, Md.

Commissioners made right call on excise tax

To the editor:

After reading Joe Lane’s column on Sept. 21, my head was spinning. Clearly, Mr. Lane must be living in some sort of parallel universe in Washington County where there is prosperity and an abundance of wealth.

He is correct when he states that former county commissioners imposed a residential building excise tax on developers. Past commissioners did this during the real estate boom years when real estate developers were able to add the cost of the building excise tax to the price of the house. This tax was never paid by developers; it was always passed on to the consumer.

Washington County is now awash with foreclosures and property values and, therefore, property tax revenues have fallen dramatically. In view of this current reality, the present county commissioners wisely decided to suspend the residential property building excise tax as a means of trying to stimulate and/or jump-start what little new housing development they could. In reality, the suspension of the property excise tax is good job-producing policy by our commissioners and they are to be applauded.

Lane tells us that the commissioners are crusading “against government greed.” This is a good thing. The largest growth industry in America for several decades of economic prosperity was government at all levels. Government is not a source of new wealth; whatever government does requires them to tax the people and to take money out of the economy.

This was possible during the good times of past economies, however Washington County remains an economically depressed area. People have lost their jobs, their homes and their hope. The well is now dry and the commissioners are forced to make hard decisions with limited resources.

Lane does a good job of listing items that taxpayers can no longer afford to fund at past levels, however this is not a result of what the commissioners have or have not done; it is a result of the limited resources they have. The only alternative the commissioners have would be to raise taxes on people who cannot pay all of their bills now.

The Washington County Commissioners are our representatives, and I believe they are doing a good job in difficult financial times. Obviously, all of you that disagree with me will have your opportunity to vote them out of office in the future, but be careful what you wish for. High ideals come with a high price tag, and if you cannot afford that price, then keep our current group of commissioners in office.

Rodney Pearson Sr.

I can’t vote for a man whose stance keeps changing

To the editor:

I’ve followed very closely this election cycle, watching most of the Republican debates. The Mitt Romney I saw in the first presidential debate was not the man I’ve watched the last year. He completely changed his stance on everything he was running on.

I realize you’re allowed to change your mind, but in one day? Even the day after the debate, his campaign online changed the things he said about health care and his tax ideas. They didn’t want to upset the far right because he was right of center for the debate. He just said those things to get undecided and independent votes.

I know politicians change their minds to get some votes here and there. But to change your whole core and beliefs just for one night to look good to the public is deceitful and dishonest. He lied to 60 million people just to get 10 million votes.

You can vote for Magical Mitt if you want, but I for one will not vote for a man that will say one thing on a Wednesday and change back on a Friday. I cannot and will not vote for that masked man.

Rodney A. Guessford

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