May 2 charter-proposal election offers tricky choiceBe...


March 29, 1998

May 2 charter-proposal election offers tricky choice

Be sure to vote against both questions on the May 2 special election ballot. You can do that even though many voters are not aware of this choice because the ballot will not show it.

Don't be tricked into voting for either one or the other if you don't understand what you may be voting for.

The proposed charter is too complicated for the public to foresee what it would do for our county, and it will soon be more expensive with salary increases. You might not like who gets the job.

A county executive, with his powers, sounds like a dictator. We don't need that, and we certainly don't need two extra commissioners.

We have an excellent staff at the county level. It would be great, though, to change most of the legislators.

Charlotte H. Garmer


When I am making an important decision that will affect me for a significant period of time, I research all angles. I like to have a clear view of my choices and what the results will be. That may not be the case when I look at the questions in the special election.

The statement of the Board of Supervisors of Elections for Carroll County, published March 22, is a case in point.

According to the board, the statement is being issued at the request of the commissioners to explain "clearly the effect of a vote cast by voters on their choice of form of government" in this special election. The translation appears to be, "The special election is for the voters to choose between charter and commissioner form of government."

"Form of government" is the key phrase, and criterion for the board's statement.

The special election has two questions. Let us see if both questions meet the criterion for a choice between charter and commissioner form of government.

Question 1: "Are you for or against Carroll County adopting the proposed Home Rule Charter as prepared by the Charter Board?" If the majority vote is for the charter form of government, then the commissioner form of government is rejected. This question seems to offer a choice in form of government and therefore meets the criterion.

Question 2: "Board of County Commissioners -- Expansion to Five Commissioners." This question begs clarification. It seems to offer a choice between a three and a five-member style of commissioner form of government. This question seems to offer a choice in the style of a form of government, and does not meet our criterion for form of government.

Remember, the reason for publishing the statement by the board was to explain "clearly the effect of a vote cast by voters on their choice of form of government." With the inclusion of Question 2, a red herring is added to our basic question of which form of government we want to choose.

Confused? It may not be an accident. Confusion and vagueness can be used as weapons to counter the good judgment of citizens. Question 2 is an example of this weaponry.

When George Washington beat the British and secured our country for its citizens, there were those formerly loyal to the British monarchy who asked George Washington to become king of the new country.

They were reactionary people who hated losing their power to ordinary citizens.

Fortunately for us, Washington rejected the status quo for a truly representative form of government. Can we do no less in Carroll County?

Thomas A. Krug

Union Bridge

It was with enormous incredulity that I read Commissioner Donald I. Dell's statement that he was "provoked" because the "charter board didn't do a thorough job so we're going to have to clean up their mess" ("Charter vote faces date conflicts," March 13).

Such unmitigated gall.

It is important to note that the problem isn't with the charter. It is with two commissioners who have selfishly fought to retain their jobs instead of putting the county first. It is yet another chapter in their book, "Dismal Performance in Office." Those commissioners are Mr. Dell and Richard T. Yates.

First, it was Mr. Dell and Mr. Yates who forced citizens to go out in the cold rain to gather 5,000 signatures on a petition to "prove" the county should even consider a charter form of government. Never mind that the last time the issue came up, it lost by only a 3-2 margin and it was a flawed proposal.

Then, they appointed people to help write the charter who were opposed to it. In their twisted logic, this was expected to produce a better charter. They were thwarted, though, when several of the appointees endorsed the idea and helped craft one of the state's best documents for home rule.

It took them longer than it took any other charter board, but by finishing in February instead of later, the issue goes to a special election instead of the general election, where Sen. Larry E. Haines' delegation has confused the issue by declaring the county needs two more commissioners to muck up the works.

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