Term limits are needed
From: Janet M. Sloan
On behalf of all Americans, I challenge Jim Kraft's assertion that term limitation is unconstitutional.
Not only have term limits been imposed on the president, half the country's governors and our county executive, but recently the California Supreme Court ruled as constitutional a term limitation initiative voted on and passed by Californians, limiting their legislators in the state assembly.
The decision said, "On balance, we conclude the interests of state incumbency reform outweigh any injury to incumbent office holders and those who would vote for them." Chief Justice Malcom Lucas wrote that although voters are restricted, the public interest is better served in "protecting against an entrenched, dynastic, legislative bureaucracy."
Kraft also unfairly asserts that term limitation is a Republican conspiracy to unseat Democrats. Untrue! Term limitation is supported and opposed by Democrat and Republican alike. Recently, the Republican Party in Maryland, led by incumbent Helen Bentley, voted against a resolution supporting term limitation.
In contrast, Cleta Mitchel, a lifelong Democrat and former Oklahoma state representative, has assumed a leadership role in the term limitation movement. Jerry Brown, Texas Gov. Ann Richards and Paul Tsongas are a few well-known Democrats who support term limitation.
Clearly, term limitation would not automatically thrust Democrats from office. It would, however, provide opportunities for American citizens to more fully participate in the political process and restore choice at the ballot box.
Mr. Kraft, if you truly believe in the Democratic Party, you should have more confidence in its ability to produce candidates that can compete with Republicans and win.
Lastly, not all Americans are consumed by partisan party politics. As chairperson of Howard County Action to Limit Terms, I pride myself as an American and registered independent. I am repelled by party politics and devoted to the term limit movement.
Term limitation is needed to free America from a political system paralyzed by entrenched politicians and special-interest groups. My concern, like many term limit supporters, is not with the future of the Democratic or Republican parties, but with the future of America.
More taxes won't help
From: Karen Custer
Although the intentions of the council members advocating a 2 percent raise in the piggyback tax are probably good, reality testing would certainly argue against the implementation of the tax. The nation, the state and the county remain in a recession, and our citizens need help, not an additional burden.
Superintendent Michael Hickey and teacher representative James Swab appear to have been influential in the consideration (The Howard County Sun, April 26). Although Virginia Thomas is not mentioned here, she is a pro-tax increase figure, and any reader might wonder about her role.
Teachers have been rewarded well in Howard County, and if times are ever again as prosperous as they were in the '80s, teachers may again find themselves receiving a 6 to 8 percent annual salary raise plus longevity and merit steps. Meanwhile, it is important that they realize how fortunate they are to register no job losses, no reduction of time, no reduction of benefits and to carry the same workloads they enjoyed in the best of times. It is truly time that this small but vocal group (with natural biases easily transmitted to students) engage in a bit of thought and fair play.
Most teachers have lived in classrooms as children and as adults. Perhaps they need a better understanding of workers in JTC industry, business and other careers -- both more and less lucrative. When this segment of our citizenry asks for raised taxes, have the members any perception of what their request means for the rest of us? Our salaries are not raised by raised taxes.
Michael Hickey reigns over a fat system. The county at large knows this, and I suspect that his employees do, too. Through the application of a wise diet, education in Howard County might become both more efficient and more effective.
It is my earnest request that those of you who we have elected as our public officials will refuse to levy any further taxes for a citizenry struggling with the recession.
There really is a recession. If the economy begins to look up, let us not hurl it down again to please some special-interest group and/or their leaders.