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Kennedy: Thoughts on the O’s, charter, redistricting, the environmental president and more

With vacations scheduled, from congress down to our local governments, many sports leagues, and all of the other groups that I usually comment on, there’s not one thing to devote an entire column on so I’ll touch on a few things that have caused me to think.

The Orioles, as well as most major league teams, are experiencing a downturn in attendance. The Orioles have expressed concern over this fact and have publicly wondered why that is. My take is that there are a couple of reasons. One is that the team is not winning and, in fact, looks totally inept much of the time. People go to games to be entertained, not discouraged. Another possible reason is that the team, several years ago, decided to charge a premium on tickets bought at the box office on the day of the game. Why discourage people by charging more for a ticket if a potential patron decides at the last minute to go to a game, especially as long as there are thousands of seats available?

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After reading many of the letters to the editor and opinion columns concerning the possibility of changing the county’s form of government, for the life of me I can’t understand those in opposition to a change who can’t seem to grasp that a charter, either for true charter or code home rule, can be written to cover all of their concerns. If I were on the committee so charged, I would push for all county elected offices to be nonpartisan, and ban any political party organization or PAC from donating money, in kind services, or any other activity in said elections. I also would limit personal monetary or in kind service donations to a value of no more than $50 for the primary and $50 for the general election.

The Supreme Court certainly did us no favor in their failure to declare partisan gerrymandering to be illegal. We, the people, should be choosing our representation instead of the party in power choosing it. As I have stated in this space on several occasions, I — with a couple of friends armed with the census data, a good map, a ruler, and a couple of beers or a pot of coffee — could set the congressional and legislative districts, adhering to the rules that they be compact and consider natural and legal boundaries, in a couple of hours.

I found it strange when President Trump began to tout his record on protecting the environment as a reason to vote for him in 2020. This is a man who has put oil company and coal mining executives in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency and allowed them to rescind many of the regulations that have been successful in reducing air and water pollution across the country. He also has recommended that oil exploration and drilling be allowed in the most pristine place on earth, the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. Trump and his cronies simply refuse to accept the scientific fact that there is a change in the global climate. Is it simply a coincidence that over the last several weeks the reported temperatures in Fairbanks, Alaska, except for a few scattered days, have been more than 10 degrees higher than those in Mexico City? It makes me wonder what’s going on.

I think that former Maryland congressman John Delaney, even though he gets little national coverage, comes off quite well when he is interviewed on some of those Sunday morning shows on TV. He answers the questions and expresses his views on the issues calmly and succinctly. His more moderate stances on health care, immigration reform, and foreign affairs/diplomacy would resonate positively if he were able to get more opportunities to present himself.

Finally, congratulations to the women’s national soccer team on their exciting, and in some quarters, controversial, victory in the Women’s World Cup. This team is good and they know it. They talk the talk with the best of them but then they walk the walk. It’s no sin to be good, know it, and then prove it on the field. Maybe with the coverage their victory garnered, FIFA and the U.S. federation will finally see the light and treat the women with the same level of support as the men.

Bill Kennedy writes every other Monday from Taneytown. Contact him via email at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

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