From: Douglas Arnold
Member, Republican State Central Committee, District 31
County Executive Robert R. Neall is to be applauded for his announcement that he plans to initiate new affordable housing programs in Anne Arundel County. For too long initiatives of this sort have been missing from local government.
Consider the fact that the average personal income for Anne Arundel County resident is $21,722. This is higher than the national average of $17,592, yet due to high housing costs in Anne Arundel County, it is just not enough to keep the dreamof homeownership alive here. Homeownership now requires at least a two-income household.
When you consider further that a $65,000 house (which is very hard to find in this county) requires an income of nearly $30,000 to purchase, you can see that there is great need for some form of help for first-time homebuyers.
The ideas advanced by Neall in an article from the Aug. 14 Anne Arundel County Sun ("Neall outlines programs for affordable housing") were creative and should receive bipartisan support from the County Council.
Additional initiatives should include reducing impact fees charged to builders of housing under $100,000 and reducing property taxes.
Impact fees, a hangover from (former County Executive) Democrat O. James Lighthizer have become a disincentive to build housing under $100,000. A reduction of impact fees would be a marketforce which would encourage builders, both large and small, to build housing at a cost affordable to many first-time homebuyers. (This could also help bring additional construction jobs to the Anne Arundel County market.)
Finally, our state senators and delegates should work to find innovative ways to reduce closing costs and to enlarge the pool of housing available for first-time home buyers.
As a young person who has resided my entire life in Anne Arundel County, I still hope to some day own a home here. But until real progress is made, that hope is only a dream.
From: Tim Bernadzikowski
Disgusting. That's the only word descriptive of Congressman Tom McMillen's plan to redistrict Maryland, now adopted, with changes, by the Democratic-controlled Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee.
Representative McMillen's proposal to "fairly" redraw Maryland's congressional districts makes a mockery of representative government. Fair to whom? Fair to liberal Democrats who want to force their failed tax-and-spend policies on the nation and perpetuate themselves in office? Yes.But fair to the voters of Maryland? I think not.
McMillen's plan shoves completely heterogenous regions of the state into the same district. His proposal adds 80,000 urban voters from predominately liberal, Democratic Baltimore City to largely conservative rural and suburban Anne Arundel County.Moreover, his proposal combines industrial, blue-collar Baltimore County into large portions of the rural Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland. The constituencies from these areas unquestionably have widely varying, even conflicting, concerns and interests and certainly cannot fairly be represented by the same member of Congress.
McMillen's proposal, however, conclusively proves that his interest is not in fair representation for Maryland voters but rather in saving his political hide. Specifically, McMillen's proposal reflects his realization that he does not represent Anne Arundel County voters' views. Hence, to secure his political fortunes, Mr. McMillen's proposal seeks to guarantee his re-election, not by retaining thesupport of Anne Arundel voters, but by compensating for any deficit he may have in Anne Arundel with the overwhelmingly Democratic precincts of Baltimore City.
Even more troubling, McMillen's plan forcestwo of Maryland's only three Republicans in Congress to run against each other, thereby reducing Maryland's Republican representation to only two of 10 in Congress. Such gerrymandering leaves thousands of Maryland's responsible, conservative voters vastly underrepresented inCongress. That's hardly representative government; it's government ala the Democrats and Tom McMillen.
'A MIRACLE ON 34TH ST.'
From: Joseph "Zastrow" Simms
There was once "A Miracle on 34th Street" and we have heardthat "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Now we have witnessed A Miracle on Clay Street as a fence grows in Annapolis. On Friday, Aug. 16, 70 executives of the Loews Hotel chain, who were in town for their annual meeting, built a fence, constructed shelves and painted two shelters run by Helping Hand.
When you see President and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan N. Tisch sitting on the ground of a Clay Street town house painting a picket fence while other executives clean, haul debris and paint walls, you are witnessing a miracle.