Changing of the county guard is inevitable
Mike Burns had it just about right in his column of Feb. 16, about adding two commissioners so the county will have to pay for five instead of three. He proposes it is because of charter government, and the headline declares it "much ado about nothing."
He needs to go much further. I believe it is about control.
For many years, the "good ol' boys" in Westminster determined the fate of the county. They decided where growth areas would be, which schools would be built and where, to what degree the master plan would be followed.
They calculated the land preservation areas, and they enriched themselves by plotting their personal and professional courses in accordance to plans which were readily approved by their hand-picked members of county government.
There was even a time not long ago that when residents referred to "the high school," it meant Westminster High School, despite the fact there were four other high schools in Carroll County.
Trouble is, voters in the growth areas they designated (Mount Airy, Hampstead, Finksburg and Freedom District) now outnumber the rest of the county. They can no longer count on diminishing numbers of farmers and Westminster residents to carry the vote load necessary to continue the plan.
A new breed has arrived in the county, and is ready to fight for a "quality of life" expected but denied by Westminster's so-called finest. After all, it is the new residents who must fund the schools, roads, emergency and other services.
Who are these "good ol' boys" who want to continue the control they have enjoyed for so long? As a Republican of long standing, I regret to say it is mainly components of the Republican Party in Carroll County. The Democratic Party is in such disarray as to be an almost non-factor.
At a meeting of county Republican clubs not long ago, the idea of adding commissioners was promoted as adding new ideas to the office. As several listeners pointed out, if that's the case, why stop at two more? Why not add 10 or 30?
Of course, the voters in this populous area could also simply reject the notion of adding two more commissioners. And I hope they do. If our Annapolis delegation wants to do something for the county, it should get behind legislation supported by the commissioners we elect -- something the state lawmakers are loath to do -- and try to help keep government off our backs. Don't expect it out of this crew, with the possible exception of Democrat Ellen Willis.
In fact, don't expect anything until there is a bipartisan group willing to support only those candidates whose interests are not centered in Westminster. I doubt it is that far off.
State can't afford to let horse racing die
Like the news media and most sportscasters, Gov. Parris N. Glendening has put Maryland horse racing on the back page.
At a Feb. 4 news conference that turned into a pep-rally against casinos and slot machines at the race tracks, the governor said, "This issue has clearly become a distraction. Close this door so we can get on with the business at hand."
It sounded to me as if the governor had issued the Maryland horse racing industry its death sentence.
The Maryland horse racing industry needs the tools (slots) to stay competitive with race tracks in neighboring states.
Why should the state help the tracks? Who will pay the state for the tax revenue it will lose when horse racing in Maryland dies?
The same taxpayer who paid $175 million to build Camden Yards for the Orioles, $200 million to build a stadium for the Baltimore Ravens and an estimated $60 million on infrastructure for a new stadium for the Washington Redskins.
It is disturbing to see some people defend such spending, yet deny us the chance to not only support ourselves but increase the amount of taxes the state would receive from our industry.
Robert J. Lillis
Chemical weapons treaty unenforceable
America is being urged to sign the Chemical Warfare Convention agreement, which would supposedly result in the elimination of chemical weapons from the world. We shouldn't waste the ink.
Disarmament treaties, like handgun laws, are useless in stopping criminal action. This is the real world, not the lollipop kingdom.
Treaty or no treaty, there is no way to be sure if nations have chemical agents. You can hide enough of the stuff in a file cabinet to kill hundreds. American lives would depend on nations keeping their promises, a shaky bet given the history of this century.
Before embracing the flower child fantasies of this nonsensical scheme's supporters, look at a few examples.
The former Soviet Union signed a 1970s treaty banning biological weapons but created a massive germ warfare program. It also violated the provisions of SALT II, which prohibited development of new missile systems and defensive radar capability.
And we all know about Hitler's word.
Thug regimes of more recent vintage have also made promises. Iraq says it does not have biological or chemical weapons but arms inspectors admit they don't know, because the regime interferes with their inspections. The Iraquis have already used poison gas on the Iranians. Should we really eliminate our weapons, and be subject to the tender mercies of Saddam Hussein?
Inability to retaliate in kind begs chemical attack. Our soldiers would either be defenseless against it, or forced to hinder their operations by wearing clumsy protective clothing and leaving themselves more vulnerable to conventional weapons. Both alternatives would be disastrous.
The major powers haven't used chemical weapons against each other since World War I because of certain retaliation. This armed vigilance may not be cuddly, but it beats being dead.
The Senate cannot allow our brave men and women who put their lives on the line for this country to be helpless victims in
some future air because of a starry-eyed agreement that can neither be monitored nor enforced.
It must reject this idiotic scheme.
Pub Date: 2/23/97