Your Government, Your ChoiceAs we get closer to Election...


September 11, 1994

Your Government, Your Choice

As we get closer to Election Day, many questions have come to mind. Are we the people really informed, know the issues and the referendums that are to be voted upon, know our local, state and federal candidates? . . . I believe that we must become much more informed prior to entering the voting booth if government is to improve.

. . . I am a campaign committee chairman for a candidate seeking local office. I have attended political fund-raisers and rallies for many of the candidates and incumbents. After attending these different events and speaking with the candidates, I am amazed at how much I had learned and how uninformed I had been. Instead of feeling secure with the knowledge gained, I find myself asking more questions and wanting more answers. . . .

Getting to know a candidate is not learned from handouts written by the candidate, his/her staff or media hype. Knowledge of the candidates and the major political issues is realized by becoming active in your community and speaking with and listening to your community leaders, neighbors and friends within your community, and directly to the candidates. . . .

Good government doesn't start with an election year and end with expending five minutes in a voting booth. . . .

David A. DeLooze


Sheriff Numbers?

As a Democratic candidate for sheriff of Harford County, I have been on the campaign trail speaking to people about the office and reading the letters on a regular basis. . . . Our current sheriff's literature boasts a 10 percent reduction in crime during 1992 and a 5 percent reduction in 1993, but our sheriff took office in 1991. I do believe that year was left out. It was probably because according to the Maryland Uniform Crime Report, the crime rate increased by 15 percent. . . . A campaign promise made by our sheriff was to put more deputies on the street for the public. In September 1990, the manpower was 22 per shift with a population of approximately 185,000 and there was, in fact, an increase to 27 per shift in 1991 (the year he forgot in his literature). But in February 1992 and as late as October 1993, patrol manpower was reduced to 22 per shift with a county population nearing 200,000 people. This doesn't appear to be someone keeping his promise. . . .

On a more serious note, The database of Sun articles written during this administration also revealed several tragic articles about the detention center:

* March 3, 1992: William Ford is found dead in his cell after preliminary reports said he suffocated himself with a pillow. Later reports allege rape and murder.

* May 16, 1992: Two corrections officers are fired for having social relationships with current or former inmates, one of which involved a sexual liaison in the jail.

* April 16, 1993: Correctional officer was fired April 5 for allegedly having sex with a female inmate inside the jail.

* May 5, 1993: A correctional officer fired from the detention center one month ago is indicted for raping a female inmate inside the jail.

These incidents and the death of an Aberdeen woman on July 24 at the detention center are disgraceful and can be costly to the citizens of Harford County. . . .

George W. Cunningham

Bel Air

The writer is a Democratic candidate for Harford County sheriff.

Sheriff vs. Police: Burns vs. Clockars

Mike Burns, The Sun's editorial writer in Harford County, has a big problem. He wants to persuade Harford County citizens to give up their right to elect a sheriff as their chief law enforcement officer and turn that right over to the county executive who will appoint a chief of police.

This question will be put to voters in the general election in November and Mr. Burns knows that he must overcome two very powerful arguments in favor of maintaining the present system.

The first is cost. Citizens of Harford County currently pay about half of what citizens in comparable Maryland counties pay for their police. While the sheriff's office manages this extraordinary efficiency, in part, through state-of-the-art management and innovative programs for which it has won national recognition and awards, its cost efficiency is due largely to the fact that it combines in a single organization, police, court and correctional services.

In other metropolitan Maryland counties each of these services is handled by a separate bureaucracy. Each of these bureaucracies has its own administration, its own policies, its own agenda and its own territory. In Harford, there is only one administration, one bureaucracy, one set of polices and one agenda. . . .

Mr. Burns' answer to this argument can be summed up simply: Another million dollars or so is really no big deal. After all, Mr. Burns explains, this only works out to another $5 or $6 per person in a county with nearly 200,000 residents. None of that money would put a single new police officer on the street, but, what the heck, it's only a million or so -- no big deal.

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