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Harford council has double standard on virtual attendance; shame on Giangiordano; schools need to involve parents | READER COMMENTARY

Council has double standard on virtual attendance

Our Harford County Executive, Barry Glassman, was able to participate virtually when he gave his State of the County address. Why is he able to participate virtually when no one else is?

During the Maryland State of Emergency, everyone was allowed to participate virtually – County Council members, the public, presenters – but since it has been rescinded, no one may participate virtually. Also, until recently, there were no mask requirements at council meetings, so many older and physically vulnerable or disabled residents have not felt comfortable attending meetings.

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The refusal to allow virtual participation has also meant that I have been unrepresented on the County Council. For months, our representative, Joe Woods, has been doing his job working for FEMA in Louisiana, but has not been allowed to participate virtually in County Council meetings since the state of emergency was terminated, which means he is not allowed to vote either. Taxation without representation!

Recently, council member Chad Shrodes shared his temporary physical limitations that have complicated his participation in meetings. He left the last council meeting early after telling everyone he would not be able to attend if it were not for the Fallston Volunteer Fire Department providing transportation to and from his most recent meetings, as he cannot drive. So, while our EMS services are at their breaking point and stretched thin from COVID-19 demands, he gets rides on the public dime? What is going on with our County Council?

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Resident Gillian Rust spoke at the meeting about the lack of public transportation that prevents citizens from attending council meetings, as there is no public transportation that will get someone to and from a meeting. So, if you don’t have transportation, if you are elderly or disabled, or if you live in Fallston, they seemingly do not care about your vote. If you are Barry Glassman or Chad Shrodes, there are no obstacles for you. If virtual participation were allowed, then Mr. Shrodes could avoid what looks like an abuse of public resources, and anyone who wanted to participate could be allowed to. That sounds like democracy.

The Harford County Council needs to move quickly to change this law that denies citizens their rights and work to pass legislation that would make virtual participation by anyone permissible. Stop simply accepting the status quo and help us make our democracy better and stronger. ( I hope Mr. Shrodes has a full recovery)

DeLane Lewis, Baldwin

Shame on Giangiordano for COVID-19 comments

At the meeting of the Harford County Council on Jan. 11, councilman Tony Giangiordano had the gall to ask the representatives of the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center – including the head of their ICU and Critical Care department, who had just finished testifying about the impact that treating victims of COVID-19 was having on his department and his staff – whether anyone was actually dying of the virus. He should resign immediately in shame and retreat to a spiritual haven of his choice, where he should live out his days in solitude, flagellate himself in a penitential fervor, and beg absolution of whatever divinity he follows for his willful and prideful ignorance.

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Two years, 850,558 Americans, 12,328 Marylanders, and 444 residents of Harford County later, and he is still questioning whether this virus exists or kills people? His conduct transcends ignorance and achieves a stubborn, purposeful disregard of modern science and medicine that has no place in a decent society. His words tarnish the memory of those unfortunate dead, traumatize many more grieving a relative lost to this plague, deny the struggle of those who suffer long-term effects, and heap both insult and injury on the very health care workers who had come to testify to the hardships their colleagues face. He also glosses over the council’s own negligence in the face of this crisis.

Shame on Giangiordano in particular, but further shame still on others on the council who sought in their lines of questioning to minimize the effects of this virus on their constituents. The residents of your county deserve better.

Henry S. Gibbons, Edgewood

County public schools need to involve parents

In order to be a role model to my three children, who are Harford County Public School students, I am submitting this letter to the editor.

I am trying to raise teenagers who understand the importance of doing their part, that life has real consequences and the value of owning their uniqueness. That complicated issues require listening more than talking and also working together to pull wisdom from all, not just some. The school system is making my job really difficult. I need help. Please follow through on your “It takes a village” rhetoric by consistently seeking parents input in a meaningful manner, by having PTA’s funnel up-to-date, school-based perspectives to you weekly.

We need real dialogue, not expensive surveys that seek to limit your ability to engage. Do you know if we want to offer incentives to non-vaccinated teachers? Do you know if we want non-sport related extracurricular activities canceled? Do you know our ideas on how to address learning while quarantined? Have you asked us what we think, what our ideas are and views on how to allocate funding? Better yet, have you asked your students?

Parents and students may just have some great ideas. Imagine if we felt heard and could be a part of the solutions.

Julia Henry McGovern, Forest Hill

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