Hieroglyphics Hotline

December 17, 1993

Trying to understand a piece of legislation can be like trying to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Anne Arundel County's new critical areas law is a good example. Even reporters, who are paid to explain complex issues to the public, had a hard time sifting through the complexities of this bill. Many ordinary citizens who tried ended up pulling their hair out.

The Anne Arundel Trade Council discovered this recently when it ran an ad offering to provide information about its slant on the critical areas bill. More than 200 people responded, many of them frustrated because they couldn't figure out how the bill would affect them.

Sensing a hunger for legislative information, the trade council has set up a hotline manned by experienced business people and civic leaders. The council has its own political agenda, which callers should bear in mind as they sift through hotline material. Nonetheless, the business group seems serious about providing facts as well as its own opinions. Besides a copy of its position, it will supply callers with a fact sheet and a list of who to contact to influence legislation. It also pledges to record callers' opinions and take them to legislators -- whether or not they coincide with the Trade Council's view.

The Trade Council deserves credit for trying to educate the community. We encourage residents to use the hotline, 757-6709 or 974-4402.

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LONG-DISTANCE HOMEWORK: For ye with little faith in the U.S. Postal Service, consider a letter to the editor we received several days ago. It traveled more than 3,000 miles, all the way from San Clemente, Calif., and landed in our office despite being addressed, "Editor of Local Newspaper, Pasadena, Md."

The writer is fifth-grader Aaron Nesper. "Our class is writing state reports, and I have chosen the state of Maryland," he writes. Aaron is looking for people to send him pictures, maps, letters, postcards and other information about Maryland.

Surely our Anne Arundel readers have some material that would help him. He's a student at Truman Benedict School, 1251 Sarmentoso, San Clemente, Calif., 92673.

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