Ecker as Executive: Folksy or Feckless?
Nearly everyone in Howard County, it seems, agrees that Chuck Ecker is a nice old man. Even his re-election campaign plays up his grandfatherly image, how he can cozy up to cows and their 4-H owners, and elicit testimonials to his gregarious and friendly nature from other common folk. His campaign ads suggest a friendliness that is boundless.
Not everyone is taken in by these vacuous images. The reality of Ecker's four years as county executive has been marked by a systematic neglect of the plain folk he claims to be cozy with and an abdication of any real leadership. He has managed to ignore the real concerns of 3,000 people over the Waverly Woods II project, and the protests of many other people over the Alpha Ridge Landfill problems. Apparently, Ecker knew of the pollution problems with the Carr's Mill landfill in Lisbon for 18 months, and chose neither to do nor to say anything about it. His failure in connection with the pollution of the Alpha Ridge landfill is similarly disturbing, as is his refusal to take a stand or get involved in the county schools' plan to let elementary school children walk through dangerous woods to Waterloo Elementary School rather than bus them there.
One could recite an entire litany of Ecker's failures to provide the kind of leadership Howard County needs. . . .
Republicans for Susan Gray has been formed to provide a forum for all the people who may have supported Mr. Ecker in the past, but who feel ignored, betrayed, disappointed or neglected. . . .
Many of us have perceived in Ms. Gray a person of considerable goodwill and intellect, an ability to synthesize appropriate responses to competing viewpoints, a commanding grasp of both the principles and details of policy issues, a quickness of perception that lets her move directly to the heart of problems, and who is generous and energetic in sacrificing her personal comfort for the sake of qualities that are conspicuous by their absence from our current county executive, but are absolutely essential to local leadership as we move into a 16-year period of rapid growth. . . .
I take exception to your criticism ("School Board: Kendrick out of Bounds," Oct. 10) of Jamie Kendrick injecting partisanship into the Board of Education election in Howard County.
In a state where judges and prosectors, of all people, are chosen in partisan elections, how can you say anything against a candidate who wants to make sure people can tell him apart from another candidate with radically different ideals on how our children should be educated? . . .
I had heard rumors. I had even talked briefly with Stephen Bounds, but I had no idea of what he really stood for until Mr. Kendrick, as well as you, the editors of The Sun, in an editorial last month, helped me to understand some of the doublespeak Mr. Bounds has employed. . . . I also take exception with your insinuation that a candidate with partisan views is not acting in the best interest of all children. . . . If Mr. Bounds is allowed to say that his religious view will have no bearing on his school board policy . . . Mr. Kendrick can say the same thing about his political views. . . .
. . . the Problem With Them
One of the most common practices in current politics is to attempt to associate your opponent with the lunatic fringe. This seems to be the strategy employed by Howard County School Board candidate Jamie Kendrick in categorizing fellow candidate Stephen Bounds as a member of the radical right in Howard County. Mr. Bounds has clearly articulated his views on his religious beliefs and the responsibility of a school board member. There is no indication that Mr. Bounds is a member of the radical right nor that he has a stealth agenda.
Prior to the primary election, The Sun endorsed Mr. Kendrick, stating that his youth and energy would be an important asset to the school board. If anything, Mr. Kendrick has exhibited a knowledge of negative politics that one would not expect from a man of his young age. Perhaps the views of a recent student such as Mr. Kendrick would be valuable to the school board. However, if Mr. Kendrick's integrity is consistent with this level of negative campaigning, . . . the residents of Howard County should look elsewhere for this input.