From: Bob Schaeffer
President, Anne Arundel County Taxpayers Association
In your Sunday, Sept. 15 issue, your political cartoonist, Rob Snyder, chose to lampoon me for reasons completely unclear. At least myfamily, friends, and associates missed whatever message he was trying to get across.
I don't fully understand why I was portrayed popping out of a tank, saying "Ta-Daaa," unless there's supposed to be some very loose comparison with Boris Yeltsin (who actually only borrowed a tank as a platform to speak from). However, being compared with Yeltsin is probably not all bad these days, at least not so far.(Gosh, I certainly hope my presence in the tank won't be compared with that hilarious image of (Michael) Dukakis bouncing around back in '88.)
Maybe your cartoonist should periodically write explanatory columns for those of us who fail to grasp his sometimes garbled point. In any event, I am mystified as to why I was suddenly dragged out and putup for laughs at this time. It's OK with me, if it helps spread around some welcome smiles, but it must be a slow time for cartoon humor to be dredging me up these days. As for the caption indicating the "tax revolution" is "over," I would point out that double the number ofcounty residents are in the second state of appeal this year as compared to last, that my mail and my phone haven't slowed appreciably since the whisker-breadth loss last November, and that the "tax-oppressed throngs" he mentions remain tax-oppressed, and probably see nothing funny about it.
The tax-revolt got lots of people's attention, including most public officials. I assure you that they have not forgotten about it, nor will we let them. But one doesn't have to brandisha club (or a tank) all the time to get things accomplished. The Taxpayers Association works from within and without. We have made many acquaintances and contacts with county government since coming into existence. Not all battles are won in the public eye, and we are not in the business to win fame or public acclaim. So don't worry overmuch about our lack of publicity in this off-election year. We are here andthose decision-makers who count know it.
I do wish your cartoonist would update my image, however. Get with it, Mr. Snyder. I've had afull beard for over ten months now. (It hides those heavy jowls you like to give me.)
You, sir, have the advantage of me with your ready-made forum and a wit obviously sharper than mine. I'll just have to try to keep plodding along as best I can. But as I told my poor mystified mother after your last cartoon, there are those who go out andtry to get things done, and then there are those who stay home and draw them.
SETTLE ABORTION ISSUE NOW
From: Linda Tetrault
The abortion issue in the Anne Arundel County School system is a topic which I feel needs to be clarified so it can be put to rest. If it takes rewriting a portion of the school policy, then so be it.
I plan to write to board members and ask that the portion of the school policy be rewritten which deals with "potentially harmful behavior of a student."
This needs to be acted upon as a priority issue. If the ACLU becomes actively involved in thisand they institute legal action, it will be our tax dollars used to settle this matter in the court system. I would rather see my tax dollars used to educate our children, not pay legal fees.
Once this issue is set out clearly in black and white, there can be no question as to the interpretation. There has been a lot of play on words goingon in this ongoing saga. A clear-cut policy will alleviate this so energies can then be directed in other areas to make this the best county in the state in which to reside and educate our children.
O'MALLEY ARTICLE 'DRIVEL'
From: David N. Hawkins
I am a resident of Baltimore City (Brooklyn) and read your publication religiously.
I just finished reading Pat O'Malley's article on JV sports coverage ("JV gets no press for good reason," Sept. 18, 1991 Anne Arundel County Sun.). This without a doubt is the most absurd and inane piece of drivel I have ever read.
Hey! Why not do away with publicity for Brownies and Cub Scouts! I guess hugs for Special Olympic participants is out of the question also!
DISTRICT PLAN A GOOD ONE
From: Phyllis Blubaugh
As an informed and educated voter, I would like to use this forum to voice my opinion in favor of the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee plan to redraw congressional district lines in Maryland.
I have carefully studied this proposal and it achieves many of the goals the committee had in its statewide hearings. First, it keeps the sparsely populated regions of Southern Maryland, Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore intact. Thisis important because these areas have characteristics that make themunique. Thus, the committee's plan ensures that the problems and concerns of these areas will be addressed by a member of Congress who can devote their energies to that particular region of Maryland.
Another geographical goal that this plan accomplishes is that it gives fast-growing Montgomery County its own district and keeps Anne ArundelCounty basically intact. For similar reasons, keeping these areas inone congressional district respectively is vital.
Concerning the Baltimore area, this plan would keep the city represented by two members, which would not limit its influence in Washington.
This plan gives the area newfound power in the House of Representatives. For the first time the Baltimore area will be represented by a majority of the state's Congressional delegation. This ensures that Baltimore will remain high on the state's agenda in Washington, and there will be a larger top-rate team fighting to preserve the strong level of federal commitment that it currently has.
I firmly believe that the committee's plan is a good one. It is fair, honest, and has Maryland's best interests in mind. No redistricting plan can be perfect, but thisplan obtains its goals of preserving the high level of influence ourcongressional representatives have in Washington.
PLAN MAKES ARUNDELLOSER
From: Janie Ballard
I am a resident of Anne Arundel County who is very upset with the possibility of losing Tom McMillen as our representative in Congress. This is a result of a redistricting plan that is essentially what a recent Baltimore Sun editorial called the "Incumbents' Benevolent Protective Society."
Theplan, backed by a majority of the Maryland congressional delegation,(strangely enough, four Democrats and a Republican) is a plan that is a matter of convenience and a margin of victory for the incumbents -- although, in my view, this plan unfairly shortchanges Mr. McMillen. I cannot understand why Mr. McMillen and Anne Arundel County must be losers in this process.
Anne Arundel County, for the last ten years, has experienced continued growth and development. This is one ofthe reasons why the county needs to be represented in Congress by one representative who can concentrate policy on issues that directly affect us. If Anne Arundel County were to be divided we would be represented in Congress along with other counties. Thus, our effectivenesswould be greatly diminished.
That is why I and other county residents are behind a redistricting plan that places Anne Arundel in one congressional district. I believe this plan is in the best interest of Anne Arundel County. As a result, we can continue to grow as a county throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century.
DON'T DIVIDE THE COUNTY
From: Marge Huggins
After hearing testimony that was given at the congressional redistricting hearing, it is aneven greater concern of mine that Anne Arundel County not be divided, and continue to be represented in Congress by one representative. Aredistricting plan that divides Anne Arundel County into multiple congressional districts would deprive the county of influence it currently enjoys in Washington.
What Anne Arundel County needs is a redistricting plan similar to the one that was created during the last redrawing of the state maps, in 1980, that had the county in one congressional district. As a result of that plan, the county has received federal dollars necessary for the new projects that have benefited ourexpandingpopulation.
The way to ensure that this continues is to have Anne Arundel County drawn into one district, and be represented in Congress by a congressman who has been effective and enthusiastic as the present Congressman. Mr. (Tom) McMillen has been so conscientious that he broke the state congressional voting record, voting a consecutive 2,050 times from Jan. 1987 to July 1991. This type of dedication deserves our full support.
It is my plea that county residents get behind a redistricting plan that keeps the county intact. Any plan that does not do this would be detrimental to the well-being of all Anne Arundel County residents.
IF IT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE
Several times you have reported that Councilman (George) Bachman has proposed a bill that would make it illegal formasseuses to work on members of the opposite sex or touch "erogenousareas."
If masseurs are not similarly prohibited from working on members of the opposite sex or touching their erogenous areas, this is aclear case of sex discrimination against masseuses.