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Readers Respond

Kamenetz thwarts open government [Letter]

Your recent articles, "Reshaped Baltimore County library board" (July 11) and "Balto. Co. police should not have contacted Dundalk activists, chief says" (July 28), seem to be spot-on regarding the limited amount of free speech and expression that are tolerated by the Baltimore County government.

The library board, a theoretically independent body, disagreed with the County Executive Kevin Kamenetz regarding the reassignment of 28 staff to the county information technology unit. Following that disagreement earlier this year, the county executive recently made wholesale changes to the board by dismissing those members who had expressed concerns about the staff transfers.

Following a July 1 work session of the Baltimore County Council where some community activists expressed themselves in a spirited manner over the sale of the North Point Government Center in Dundalk, three county police officers later met with two "offending" activists in an "intimidating" manner to explain the rules of behavior at County Council work sessions.

These two events confirm a longer standing pattern by the county in thwarting the freedom of speech and expression. These circumstances, in association with the now oft-quoted phrase by the executive at the Mays Chapel event where he expressed himself in a spirited way in saying that it was his turn to speak, theirs to listen, makes it clear that input from opposing perspectives is not to be tolerated.

Open government is essential for honest debate and deliberation.

George Harman, Reisterstown

The writer is the Republican candidate for Baltimore County Executive.

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