Name on signs is not a big deal
Recently in Anne Arundel County, there has been some grumbling about the county executive placing her name on the signs at the jurisdiction's various entry points.
While I have no personal preferences for or against this development, I do find the protestations odd. For decades Marylanders have been used to seeing the name of the state's top executive, the Governor, on the "Welcome" signs at the state borders and no one has suggested this is improper. Government officials have always used the various trappings of office (letterhead, Web sites, brochures, city guides, etc.) to remind citizens of their titles. Since a majority of the voters returned Ms. Owens to the job of managing the county, it seems incredible that they should be offended if she associates her name with it. The practice does have a useful side as well: anyone that experiences anything unpleasant during their stay, knows who to complain to.
As far as economies go, the costs associated with the name display were minimal when compared to the numerous other large expenditures the county makes. The money spent was not enough to keep anyone employed or to fund a single program. In fact, the wastefulness of the overtime paid to county firefighters to do such unrelated tasks as hang drywall far exceeded this little bit.
And, there is the human side as well. There is a reason that, in the modern day vernacular, political contests are referred to as campaigns, just like military engagements. They are just as fiercely fought and dearly won. Anyone that has ever worked on a campaign, much less been a candidate, can understand the well-deserved pride that would result in wanting to brag about the victory.
Officials sneaking facilities bill through
It's the old sneak-it-through-the-AA-County-Council-in-August. Everyone is away or [inattentive] - just as they are in December, the other sneak-it-through month.
The overdevelopers, their puppets in Planning and Zoning, and Janet Owens herself (believe it or not) are about to drop the mother of all bombs on the school system. Surprisingly, they have already managed to sneak it past the school board.
It is bill number 43-03: Subdivisions - Adequacy, of Public Facilities for Schools. It will require the school board to build new schools to suit the overdevelopers or let the overdevelopers overwhelm existing schools with new students.
New elementaries cost more than $10 million; middle schools, $20 million; and high schools, $40 million. The bill will divert money from such sorely needed projects as replacing worn schools, air conditioning 47 schools and building walls in open space schools. Any overcrowding crisis would threaten money for instructional programs and teachers, and require wide redistricting - changing the schools students can expect to attend.
The bill will end Ms. Owens' policy of not granting waivers to house projects which would overwhelm nearby schools. The bill would delay such projects no more than six years. Overdevelopers' zeal for this bill proves that her policy has slowed overdevelopment.
James A. Hoage