Curb use of resolution
From: Patrick Dornan
A great deal of controversy exists on the issue of the Howard County Council's use of the resolution to enact substantive matters of law, such as tax legislation and redistricting.
One the one hand, the framers of the Howard County Charter never, ever intended that the resolution be used for such matters. Indeed, the charter states that the word "resolution" shall mean a measure adopted by the council having the force and effect of law but of a temporary or administrative character (italics added).
On the other hand, Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran Jr. has issued an opinion which says that state law "unambiguously authorizes" charter counties such as Howard to use either the resolution or a bill for tax increase, and I assume other matters as well.
His opinion goes against the grain of the U.S. Constitution's system of checks and balances in government -- resolutions are not subject to the executive veto; nor are they subject to referendum.
This is not Mr. Curran's first anti-taxpayer opinion, nor will it be his last -- remember how we used to get interest on property taxes collected as part of our mortgage payment? Mr. Curran "fixed" that for us two years ago.
This particular opinion has a wide-ranging impact on the ability of citizens to exercise our rights (limited as they may be) to take matters to referendum when we feel we must.
Resolutions are not subject to referendum, while bills are. Should the County Council decide to tax us into the poorhouse, as has been done in several counties, we are powerless to stop them when a resolution is used.
I call on Howard County's delegations to Annapolis to put an end to this now. Resolutions are for creating commissions, or honoring citizens for good deeds. Bills are for substantive matters of law. Our very freedom is at stake here.
I invite all citizens of Howard County to write or call their representative in Annapolis, and ask that this be corrected immediately. Or call the Howard County Taxpayer's Association at 410-379-0169.
(Patrick Dornan is the president of the Howard County Taxpayer's Association.)
A legacy of shame
From: Jim Mundy
I am ashamed of what has happened at St. Mary's Cemetery. Our county has allowed a developer to destroy a cemetery to develop the lots, for yet two more houses.
What kind of legacy are we creating? Is it that property and profits are even more important than people? What kind of legacy will we be leaving? Is it that if your burial site and body are in the way of sewer line that a bulldozer will plow through your bones?
We're definitely developing a legacy of shame and the Howard County citizens are better than that -- and our public officials should be too.
Cable needs competitors
From: Edward T. Weitzel
I wonder how long the subscribers to Howard County Cable TV are going to tolerate the poor service and programming we are forced to endure because of the lack of a competitive cable TV company in the eastern section of our county.
Considering that our neighbors to the west, who are served by Mid-Atlantic Cable TV, receive for an additional $1.70 per month all of the channels provided by Howard Cable, plus American Movie Classics, Channel 50 -- Washington, Home Team Sports -- Oriole Home Games, Movietime and Bravo, we in the eastern county are short-changed.
fTC They do not get Nostalgia Channel, a real block-buster whose prime-time programming includes such relics as "Burke's Law," "Dragnet," "N.Y.P.D." and "Family!"
They are older than I am -- and I'm on Social Security!
Considering that our cable goes off the air regularly whenever it rains, snows, the wind blows, the wind doesn't blow, or it gets dark, our cable TV leaves much to be desired.
The June issue of Reader's Digest hits home with an article disclosing the questionable practices of cable TV companies, including our own Storer Cable TV, across the country, in areas where they have no competition.
It might make interesting reading for some of Howard Cable's subscribers.
The Howard County Sun welcomes letters to the editor, in response to its reporting, opinion columns or simply on matters affecting Howard County.
Please include a daytime phone number.
Please send letters to "Letters to The Editor," The Howard County Sun, 3300 N. Ridge Road, Suite 140, Ellicott City, Md.