LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Fill-in for executive a caretaker post

Dear Council Members, Despite what seems to be a sense of David [Craig's] confirmation being a done deal, I choose to put my faith in you, the members of the County Council, to carry out your responsibility and consider what's best for all the citizens and voters of the county. That, I believe, and I think most of the citizens of the county would agree, is to appoint someone who is qualified for the job who also clearly states that he or she is not interested in running for it in 2006.

I am the only person in the field of interested appointees who has made this clear and unequivocal. This is a caretaker position and should be treated as such, and not as a steppingstone to re-election.

Only the voters should be able to confer the privilege of incumbency. That way, you and everyone else in the county can rest assured that you're not taking away your constituents' rights to elect that person on an even playing field, just as all of you earned that privilege. This is fundamental to the precepts of our U.S. Democracy, which all of you work hard to uphold, and it's a central tenet of the Republican Party: interfere less, not more, with the rights of the taxpayers.

This is not a move against anyone; it's an affirmation of my strongly held convictions of what a democracy stands for and my belief that elected officials -- you included -- have a solemn covenant to protect those rights.

Perhaps I'm naive in trusting that you will all do that -- but I've worked with too many of you to not believe that you have the integrity to do the right thing.

Finally, as far as concerns that a Democrat could not work well with members of the Republican Party, let me remind you that I was asked by a Republican county executive to serve as director of governmental and community relations, which I proudly did for several years -- and to great criticism from members of my own party. I served with loyalty and integrity, and would do the same in the capacity as interim county executive.

I also worked to re-elect the county executive and several members of the council. If that isn't proof of bipartisanship, I'm not sure what would qualify. I would also ask you to consider why it was so laudable that I wanted to work with members of both parties then, but now.

Regards and respects to all of you. I'd be pleased to meet, talk or correspond with any of you who have questions. Thanks to those of you who've already done that. And finally, know that if you conferred this responsibility on me, that I would work with all of you to move the county forward responsibly and fairly to ensure a smooth transition to the duly elected county executive.

I think that's something everyone could be proud of.

Lucie Snodgrass Street

Thank the heroes of our great nation

As we move closer to our Independence Day celebration, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the men and women in Harford County who, with courage and nobility of purpose, have served our local causes. Exactly 229 years ago this Monday, 56 men crowded in a hot and muggy Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) to declare our independence from Britain and the birth Democracy. Though our forefathers created this great nation, our heroes keep her alive through selfless, under-appreciated contributions.

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident," the declaration reads, "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Our Harford heroes work everyday to keep these rights within our grasp. A Harford hero is a soldier, Marine, sailor, airman or Coast Guardsman who stands as the sentry for liberty many miles from home. A Harford hero is a veteran who, through tears and sweat, has allowed our flag to be raised each day over the seats of government. A Harford hero is a friend or loved one who through courage and supreme sacrifice has given his or her life so that we may live. Harford's heroes are our police, firefighters, teachers and volunteers who without their service our community would falter.

This Independence Day, and every day afterward, let us not forget these patriots of homegrown democracy -- these integral pieces of the diverse American puzzle. When we see a soldier or a veteran, a police officer or a firefighter let us thank them for their sacrifice. When we attend a PTA meeting or graduation, let us thank our teachers -- for without knowledge this country cannot survive. And as we cruise around our many Independence Day parades, let us remember that they not only exist because of the words of men 229 years ago, but because men and women of today have volunteered their time so our collage of freedom -- red, white and blue -- may be seen from every window and our children may know their worthy past.

These unselfish, dedicated and honorable men and women walk among us and we thank them. Have a safe and happy Independence Day.

Robert C. LaPin Bel Air

Cordish Co. must improve property

What was once home to a movie theater, a 5 & 10, a grocery store and several other stores is now a partially empty shopping center. I refer to the Joppatowne Plaza located on Route 40 and Joppa Farm Road in Harford County. For the residents of Joppatowne and nearby, it was so convenient to have these stores in the neighborhood.

The movie theater left many years ago, as did the 5 & 10. These were replaced with other stores and the shopping center seemed to thrive. But on Feb. 26, 2000, the Super Fresh grocery store closed, soon to be followed by the Kmart, and now we have the makings of a white elephant as a gateway to our Harford communities. The landlord, Cordish Co., has told members of our community that things are in the works. We've heard this way too often at community meetings and have come to consider it as the same old spin.

We're tired of spin, and would like to see some positive action on Cordish's part to put productive retail tenants in these buildings that are vacant -- except for birds that fly in and out of the old Super Fresh site.

Compare Cordish's endeavors in St. Louis, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; and Atlantic City, N.J., to the Joppatowne Plaza and the Edgewater Village Shopping Centers in Harford County. Cordish, what have you done for Harford lately? Not much!

Carolyn Hicks Joppa

Cordish Co. is key to Edgewood cleanup

During the past weekend over 70 hard working volunteers joined with Harford County employees, County Executive Jim Harkins, Sheriff Tom Golding, and many others for one of the largest community cleanups in Edgewood history. The event sponsored by the Edgewood Community Council also coincided with the introduction of the new "Community Pride Zones" set up to show everyone that Edgewood is proud of our neighborhoods and that they belong to us.

Now that the community has shown their willingness to roll up our sleeves and do the tough work, it is time that the local shopping center magnate, Cordish Co., does the same. The maintenance, upkeep and occupancy of the shopping centers in Edgewood and Joppatowne are vital to the communities around them and as the center of our neighborhoods they serve as a bellwether to the community.

We are proud of our neighborhoods. We want to continue to work hard to keep our streets clean, safe and beautiful. The Cordish Co. should do the same with their property and follow the lead of the citizens of Joppa and Edgewood in helping to make our community the shining star we all want it to be.

Christopher J. Biggs

Edgewood

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