Three Strikes, Del. Thomas is OutIncident No. 1: Virginia...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 23, 1994

Three Strikes, Del. Thomas is Out

Incident No. 1: Virginia Thomas faxes out a press release at the close of the legislative session taking full credit for some $13 million in state school construction aid for Howard County. When the true amount is announced by the governor, it is about $2 million less than that. Thomas' explanation: Delegation Chairman Bob Flanagan gave her the wrong figures. Oh . . .

Incident Two: Howard County's nine-member delegation to Annapolis voted 8-1 against Governor Schaefer's 1992 tax increases. County Executive Chuck Ecker, despite numerous attempts by the legislative leadership to get him to change his mind, refuses to ask for taxes to be raised and does not seek the power to increase the local income tax eventually awarded to county governments. Virginia Thomas is the only member of the Howard County delegation to vote for the taxes. Thomas' explanation: She voted for the 1992 tax increase because Chuck Ecker asked her to. Right . . .

Incident Three: During a newspaper interview, Republican Marty Madden related the story of a vote on a 1992 bill that would have capped the liability of oil companies for spills in the Chesapeake Bay at $10 million. Madden correctly stated that Virginia Thomas voted for the bill in the Environmental Matters Committee. Thomas approached Madden at an event later in the week, gave him the name of a lawyer and threatened to sue him for misrepresenting her record. (Apparently, Thomas wanted Madden to note that she had switched her vote on the floor of the House). Thomas acknowledged speaking to Madden but backpedaled on the lawsuit. Thomas' explanation: "I may have. I don't remember."

Does anyone see a pattern here?

Joyce Pope

Laurel

Thomas' Record on Environment

Your article in the Oct. 18 Sun for Howard County regarding the election contest between Virginia Thomas and Marty Madden requires a response and clarification.

First of all, the environmental community has in no way dropped Ginny Thomas or endorsed Marty Madden. The organization which you refer to does not include representatives of most of the major conservation and environmental organizations in the state because such groups, as tax-exempt corporations, are prohibited by law from engaging in partisan political action.

Therefore, they have not endorsed nor can they endorse any candidate. Nor are these major environmental organizations represented by the self-appointed group of self-proclaimed spokespersons for the environment. Over the years, responsible environmental organizations have recognized the outstanding leadership of Virginia Thomas in the environmental area by selecting her from a field of individuals to be the recipient of their awards. She has received recognition from the national Environmental Policy Institute, the statewide Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the local Audubon Society of Central Maryland.

In terms of voting records, both candidates have very good environmental voting records. The difference between the candidates involves a passive response of voting "right" vs. taking the initiative to introduce legislation and to work for nonlegislative solutions to our environmental problems.

Ginny Thomas is a leader; Marty Madden is not. Ginny Thomas has consistently worked with leaders of both environmental groups and business groups to find and implement real solutions to environmental concerns. She calls the parties together, she -- gets the facts, she works to develop solutions.

Ginny doesn't just talk a good game and engage in pro-environment rhetoric. She introduces practical legislation to encourage the use of recycled materials and to require the state to purchase items -- for example, construction materials -- which incorporate recycled material.

Ginny has introduced legislation to promote the use of recycled newsprint, to protect nontidal wetlands, to enhance state reforestation projects, to strengthen radon testing, to remove chlorofluorocarbons from food packaging and vehicle air conditioners. She has supported all major legislation to protect the bay. . . .

Ginny Thomas does not simply vote the way some pressure groups want. That apparently upsets the self-appointed spokespersons, but it is reassuring to the citizens who want sound environmental policy. . . .

Dave Pardoe

Columbia

Gray's Flip-Flops on Taxes

I read with alarm in a recent editorial that Susan Gray planned to raise property taxes to pay for her no-growth policy. Now, she denies making that statement to The Sun.

We don't need a county executive who flip-flops on one of the most pressing issues that affect all of us in Howard County -- taxes.

We know where we stand with Chuck Ecker. He was one of the few county executives who didn't raise our local income tax during the recession. In fact, his policy of managed, controlled development has stabilized our property tax rate.

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