EDITOR'S NOTE: Red and white lanterns will brighten many Main Streets in many county communities this holiday season. And most of the time, taxpayers are footing the bill. In Union Bridge, for example, the Town Council -- meeting in an illegally closed session -- voted to spend $7,857 to purchase and install lights; officials had budgeted $20,000. Other examples include Westminster spending $3,200 and Taneytown's $2,899. Electricity costs are additional. The American Civil Liberties Union says towns should not spend money celebrating a religiousholiday. We have been asking readers if they want their tax dollars spent on Christmas lights. If tax dollars are spent for Christmas lights, should towns put up decorations for Hanukkah, the Chinese New Year, and so on? Here are some of the replies we received:
From: Faith J. Barbour
I would not mind the new red and white Christmas lights.
I'm proud of Taneytown and enjoy riding through Carroll County during these holidays and would like our visitors and tourists to see the pride we all feel.
As far as decorating for Hanukkah and Chinese New Year, I don't feel as if they are nationally celebrated holidays and therefore most people don't even know what or when they are.
We are not expressing religious views, merely decorating our towns' Main Street with color, warmth and town pride.
From: Ellen R. Leppo
Yes, my taxes should be used to buy new Christmas lights. Why not?
They certainly were long overdue. Here we had people who used the money for something saved us $12,143.
You used your paper to blow everything out of proportion.
As for the ACLU, I'm sure there's other places to stick their nose without this "nit-picking."
Finally, we get to enjoy some of our tax money.
From: Deborah Hudgins
Yes, I like to see towns decorated for Christmas.
The majority of people in Carroll County are Christian people who celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.
The American Civil Liberties Union says no money should be spent to celebrate a religious holiday. Well, if the majority of people in a community celebrate Christmas and like to see the towns decorated, so it should be.
These civil rights people are trying to do away with traditions this country was based on. If those certain groups of people don't like to see it decorated for Christmas, then leave.
If it's an area where the majority of people are Jewish and want to decorate for Hanukkah, then they should do that if they so desire. If it's an area where the majority are Chinese, the same holds true, and likewise for all the other ethnic groups.
This is a subject I could goon more about. But people who believe in American traditions, what this country was founded on, better start standing up for our rights, or soon our children won't know or experience any of the things we knew as children growing up.
They won't see streets decorated for Christmas, go into shops decorated for the holidays. I personally don'twant to see that happen.
Yes, all people now have the right to live where they want, worship the way they want and celebrate their customs they way they want, and that's fine.
But when minorities moveto a community where old-fashioned traditions are carried out and they don't like it, that's tough. We (people who feel the way I do) were here first. Our values and beliefs should not change for these civil liberties groups.
From: Jean E. Shea
Do not spend money on lights.
Feed us, house us, clothe us.
Let's use ourheads.
Put more women in government. We know where and when to spend.
From: Ethelyn Helwig
I am not against lightsat Christmas, but with the economy and all the cuts in services, we should not be spending this money now.
I can't afford to run up mylight bill with decorations and I sure can't afford more taxes on Social Security of $340 a month to live -- how about you?
Let's savewhere it is necessary. Cut out the frills in our government spending.
If we can light up for Christmas, let's keep the libraries open for the school pupils when they are out of school, home all day, parents working, over the Christmas holidays.
DISAPPOINTED WITH RULE
From: Bob Hargrove
As a host parent, I was greatly disappointed to see that the school system has decided to impose yet another rule on the exchange students and the host families because they "feel" it would be good.
The article in The Carroll County Sun edition of Nov. 3 states that exchange students will no longer be permitted to join families unless they have a child attending the same school asthe exchange student.
All families are thoroughly screened by theorganization (in my case, the American Intercultural Student Exchange) that sponsors them. They are qualified.
Apparently, Edwin L. Davis, director of Pupil Services, and Gregory Eckles, principal of North Carroll High School, have enacted this regulation without the benefit of any surveys or studies.