DeGrange says he wouldn't act unethicallyI would like to...

LETTERS

October 05, 1997

DeGrange says he wouldn't act unethically

I would like to clarify statements that were attributed to me in recent newspaper articles about my announcement to run for the District 32 Senate seat. I am quite concerned that the incomplete paraphrasing of my thoughts regarding my building business, and the resulting Republican hype, may have inadvertently left readers with an inaccurate perception.

Had I been quoted directly, the quote would have said, "If I wanted to buy property and submit plans for a subdivision, I didn't feel like I could do that while serving on the council."

I have not, would not and will not conduct business activities that could be construed as unethical. I was merely expressing my concern that I would be limiting DeGrange Enterprises' future business options.

Those who have commented on the partial statement, especially those elected to public office, should have been responsible enough to research records before making erroneous and misleading statements to the public.

Have I built houses in the county? Yes. I have built one house, which I sold, since I was elected to serve on the Anne Arundel County Council and I have consulted on the construction of one other house since I was elected to the County Council.

Have I constructed developments? No.

Have I submitted plans to subdivide property? No.

There is a process set forth for any type of construction in this county, that every citizen must follow whether he is constructing a shed, a garage, an addition or a house. I certainly must follow that same process and acquire the proper permits.

I have consistently demonstrated my commitment to ethical practices. I have recused myself from participating in the discussion and vote on issues which could be construed as a conflict of interest. There have been two separate instances in which I left the council chambers to avoid any chance of a conflict of interest and I will continue to do this in the future.

Thank you for this opportunity to set the record straight.

James "Ed" DeGrange Sr.

Glen Burnie

Give council a raise, but end the pension

The Salary Standard Commission has recommended a 10 percent salary boost for Anne Arundel County Council members. This is not surprising since each council member selects one of his or her constituents to serve on this seven-member commission.

Though one could make a compelling case against the raise, this writer suggests that taxpayers swallow the recommendation, but only on one condition: Termination of a County Council pension.

This writer has crusaded against a council pension for years with the rationale of "what other part-time employee do you know who gets in on a lucrative pension?"

Council members, aides and other county cronies had their own system, which was millions of dollars underfunded. County taxpayers are now bailing out the program.

Unfortunately, on the heels of this discredited system, the salary commission recommends, along with the 10 percent salary increase, that the council be shifted to the regular pension plan of the rest of county employees.

So county employees take a "double whammy." As taxpayers, they are bailing out the old system. As county employees, their pension system will support the council members.

Bill D. Burlison

Odenton

Treadmill tests vs. pollution credits

On the front page Sept. 29, you have the headline, "Mandatory treadmill test to start." You use considerable space for this article. You have the standard quotes that, "This is the single biggest thing we can do to reduce air pollution in Maryland" and "It gives us the biggest bang for the buck."

You also give us the good news that 55 fewer tons of pollutants will be spewed into the air each day by the time all 2.1 million eligible vehicles have undergone the biennial test in the next two years. You also told us that the Environmental Protection Agency is spending $150,000 on an advertising campaign to promote this.

In the business section, in the same issue, is a shorter article. It tells of the little-known practice of buying pollution credits. There are new pollution controls being placed on corporations. Unlike the owners of automobiles, they don't have to comply if they don't want to.

The government sells "pollution credits." In some cases, it is cheaper to buy the credits than to clean up their pollution output. The article also states that BGE expects to be a credit buyer in the near future, which will allow it to pollute our children's air.

Is the $150,000 for the advertising campaign coming from the sale of pollution credits? If BGE can buy pollution credits, why can't owners of vehicles that fail the test?

Robert A. Nist

Glen Burnie

Democratic leader decries name-calling

As a new member of the Annapolis Democratic Central Committee, I am proud of the positive, forward-looking campaign waged for our party's mayoral nomination and the lack of animosity and name-calling among the candidates who were vying for that office.

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