Representatives assailed over environment votes
In the May 17 edition of The Sun for Carroll, Carroll countians were once again treated to the arrogance and deceit of Del. Joseph Getty and senators Larry Haines and Timothy Ferguson. Speaking to the Homebuilders Association, these three "public representatives" took their Senate Bill 649 antics to the next level, promising this special interest group that they are fighting each day to protect their God-given property rights.
Forgive me, but I am unable to find any version of the Bible that prohibits communities from exercising planning and development responsibilities for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens.
Mr. Haines apparently felt it necessary to blame the media for swaying public opinion on SB 649, and blasted the intelligence of Carroll countians by basically implying that "newspapers could do without the 'funnies,' for those that can't read, and editorials, for those who can't think."
I am not amused. These three men have chosen to ignore the need for local debate on important local issues, such as SB 649, and have shown continued bad judgment in their attempts to frustrate current county efforts for growth management at a critical time in our history. They are three of the best reasons to revive consideration of charter government.
Find the aforementioned article and clip it to your voter registration card. Re-read it before the next election and vote your conscience. I, for one, am sick of the way these men are treating their constituents. And my fear is that they're not done with us yet.
I regret that Del. Donald Elliott found it embarrassing to have me testify in opposition to his efforts to exempt Carroll County from provisions of Maryland's Forestation Act. It should have come as no surprise to him, however, as this year's testimony marked the third consecutive year that I've journeyed to Annapolis to debate those who would emasculate or abolish this much-needed law.
While I am thankful that such efforts have so far failed, I am rather embarrassed that Carroll legislators annually take the lead in attacking the state's efforts to maintain forest cover throughout the Chesapeake Bay drainage area.
In past years, I've sat and listened as Donald Dell explained how, in his view of things, cornstalks serve the same functions as trees, and as Larry Haines reiterated his belief that private property rights should take precedence over such public concerns.
This year, the effort was to exempt businesses from having to comply, as an inducement to locate or expand within Carroll. Have I missed the logic in their position that deforestation associated with a shopping center site should be of less concern than that associated with building homes on a comparable site? Would they have us repaint the storm drain curbings to read "Save the Bay -- unless business objects"?
I firmly believe that the overwhelming majority of Carroll's residents, including business people, want to see Maryland's environment safeguarded.
When testifying in Annapolis, I asked that the committee members "not send a message to Carroll countians that it somehow matters less what we do to our lands than it does in neighboring counties."
I say it again to all who will listen: Carroll County deserves better than that. And its people are better than that. I hope that my friend Don Elliott and the rest of our delegation will listen and stop the efforts to prove otherwise.
W. Benjamin Brown
The writer is vice president of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.
Government needn't sell sex, Bartlett replies
Your May 29 editorial opposed passage of my amendment to the National Security Authorization bill that would end the taxpayer-subsidized distribution of sexually explicit magazines and videos at Defense Department facilities.
You argued that "military stores don't subsidize these magazines." That is not true. Military stores are built with appropriated tax dollars and sell products and services with no sales tax. Any way you look at it, this is a taxpayer subsidy.
Soldiers have the constitutional right to buy this kind of stuff, and my amendment in no way restricts this right. However, the government has no constitutional obligation to sell it to them.
There are substantial numbers of women serving with honor and distinction in the enlisted and officer ranks of our military and 57 percent of active duty personnel are married. I am surprised The Sun would want the federal government to continue to use hard-earned taxpayers' dollars to subsidize and thereby promote the distribution of this kind of material which demeans women.
The House of Representatives approved my amendment to end this abuse of taxpayer money without debate or opposition. I expect the Senate to follow suit and the president to sign it into law.
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett
The writer represents Maryland's 6th Congressional District.