Letters: What America really looks like; the motivation for pushing charter government

Picture of America not as rosy as portrayed in column

Nice, warm and fuzzy, your recent morning-after July Fourth column, Joe Vigliotti, on what defines America and Americans generally as one of universal belief. Like a beautiful book cover your column says everything at one glance. And leaves a lot out.

Consider delving into the innards of your own preconceived blind spots as you attempted to do by opening your eyes and heart while you crossed from Maryland into Pennsylvania and saw a bucolic but nevertheless a fixed (rather than dynamic) America and fixed definition of American that, by the way, seems, inadvertently at least, to fit your own profile with studied exactitude.


You might surprise yourself if you peer closely into the American tapestry that is woven with threads that enriches rather than detracts from our America the beautiful, that is, each American is different from the next .. lifestyle, religious or nonreligious, sexual orientation, skin color, heritage, political views, young, old, poor, wealthy. All under the tenet that all Americans are equal, free and safe under the law because America is a nation not of men but of laws.

We don’t tolerate criminality nor lies in our leaders, at least not for long. Not in Annapolis, Washington nor in your own local Taneytown, where the police chief is no longer employed. The book with the blue sky and white cloud on the cover is great reading on Independence Day on the beach in Ocean City, but, alas, we must all return home to the darkened clouds of climate emergencies, lack of access for our friends and neighbors to healthcare, homegrown terrorism, jobs, livable wages, infrastructure, rape and women’s control of their bodies, and the next presidential election — the stuff that even the American of the fading middle class faces returning amid gridlock from Ocean City to Carroll County let alone back and forth between work and home.

Poverty, lack of means to get an equal K-12 education, student loan debt, white supremacy and mass shootings by white Americans, like recent blood baths and the one that killed journalists in Maryland a year ago, should remind us that, while motherhood and apple pie are sweet lullabies, the real work for you and me (Americans as we both are) awaits us to recognize that we can come together in spite of our vast differences in outlook, roots, upbringing, age and education to help make our homes, communities, Maryland, our nation and indeed our planet a safe place where freedom rings for all, including for all those innocent youngsters who are now locked away from their moms and dads in filthy American cages.

John D. Witiak

Union Bridge

Who benefits from charter?

I am responding to a pro-charter column by Chris Tomlinson [in Monday’s Times]. I think it is very important to reflect on the language used by Mr. Tomlinson about citizens who asked questions. He described them as “anti-charter rabble-rousers” who submitted “gotcha question after gotcha question.” He asserted these people did not come to be informed but to bully the panelists into taking ridiculous pledges on the spot. The panelists were pushing charter government with a county executive. Two of the panelists, Susan Krebs and Dennis Frazier, and the moderator, Eric Bouchat, are elected officials.

The gotcha question was if charter were passed would you recuse yourselves from running for county executive. The question goes to motivation of the elected officials for pushing charter, especially since it has been voted down six times. I think their answers revealed why they are pushing so hard to get charter government. None of the elected officials would recuse themselves from running for the county executive position under charter. Perhaps this is why county executives’ salaries in contiguous counties are Frederick $95,000; Montgomery $190,000; Baltimore $175,000; and Howard $178,000.

Mr. Tomlinson asserts that Republicans have a 2-1 voter registration difference and should not fear that Democrats will suddenly take over the County government. He may not be aware of a letter from Dana Ricketts dated March 24, 2014 to members of the Carroll County teachers’ union encouraging Democrats to switch parties. The letter states “We are also encouraging registered Democrats to switch parties to vote in the primary for our County Commissioners. All of our recommended candidates are registered as Republicans. You can only vote for these candidates in the primary if you’re a registered Republican. Listed below is the link to change your party affiliation. After the primary you can switch back to the Democratic Party.” So much for purity of voter registration statistics.

Mr. Tomlinson should explain why he as an elected member of the Central Committee skipped the Central Committee meeting to attend Commissioner Bouchat’s forum on Charter. Both meetings were scheduled at the same time. Please attend Taxpayer coalition meetings at 7 p.m. on July 15 at the Eldersburg library or July 18 at the Finksburg library to hear Kirby Delauter talk about his experience in Frederick County as a commissioner and councilman as the government changed from commissioner to charter.

Bruce Holstein