A new rule on paying for election recountsThe Sun has...

LETTERS

December 13, 1998

A new rule on paying for election recounts

The Sun has recommended that election recounts in certain close races should be paid for by taxpayers ("To err is not always human," editorial, Dec. 1).

In fact, legislation enacted this year, which takes effect Jan. 1, added an exception to the general rule that a candidate for public office should pay the cost of a requested recount.

The new exception provides that a candidate does not have to pay for a requested recount when the initial margin of difference between an apparent winner and a losing candidate with the highest number of votes is 0.1 percent or less of the total cast for those candidates.

This new exception would have applied in the Schade-Rosso recount had the new law been in effect, because the initial margin of votes between delegate-elect Mary Rosso and Del. Victoria L. Schade was less than 0.1 percent of the total votes cast. Eighteen votes initially separated the candidates, while 0.1 percent of the 30,654 votes cast for both individuals amounts to approximately 30 votes.

The Sun has also suggested that the Anne Arundel County Board of Election Supervisors study whether the margin of error in the 31st District race was "typical." As it is possible that more than 1,000 general election votes may have gone uncounted in )) Anne Arundel County and countless more in the other 16 jurisdictions statewide that use the Eagle Optech IIIP Voting System, I have asked the state Board of Election Laws to conduct a thorough review of the Eagle Optech System to ensure that in future elections all votes cast are counted.

Del. John R. Leopold

Annapolis

The writer represents the 31st Legislative District in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Why seniors chose Janet Owens

In response to your repeated editorials and news stories referring to Janet Owens' victory as Anne Arundel County executive being the sole work of the teachers union and Board of Education, let me rebut that claim.

Mrs. Owens has had the unified support of the senior citizens of Anne Arundel County before, during and after the election. Seniors have voted and worked hard for Mrs. Owens from the heart because they know and love her.

They didn't need a personal vendetta against John Gary. He has done a lot of good things during his administration and was crucified for taking a stand against the Board of Education in demanding accountability of taxpayers money. We don't mind the money being spent on our children for reading matters and better teachers' pay. What I object to, however, is the number of committees and administrators and the bureaucracy that has become the norm with the school system.

Planning and building schools should not be the decision of the school board, but of the construction trade. And hiring school nurses should not be the schools' business, but rather that of the health department. These were some of the issues that Mr. Gary was trying to address.

Granted his manner and attitude was a little brusque. I still would take that hard-nosed stand against the Lighthizer years when everything was given away and it cost the county a bundle.

Senior citizens don't need a special reason to vote.

They do it because they were raised to believe it is a great privilege in a great country. Your repeated references to Mrs. Owens' victory being the work of the education system might result in the educational system having swollen heads and big demands.

I would like to see better-educated students coming out of the school system, and that doesn't take more money. It takes better management of existing funds.

Frances Jones

Brooklyn Park I am responding to the article Nov. 20, "Mayo-Edgewater plan draws critics at forum."

If someone 20 years ago told the Mayo-Edgewater community that most of the United States would be smoke-free, including offices, restaurants, stadiums, even bars and night clubs, the Mayo-Edgewater community would have probably said that it is naive to think that we can make the U.S. smoke-free.

The Mayo-Edgewater Small Area Planning committee developed a vision of a greater and healthier place for us to live that included making bicycling, walking and using the bus viable modes of transportation.

The article stated that the Mayo-Edgewater community said that it is naive to think that these alternate modes of transportation will reduce traffic congestion.

Further, the article indicates that these modes are not viable because people "can't carry their tools in their back packs."

Only 20 percent of all trips made are associated with work commutes. According to a National Personal Transportation Study, 80 percent of all trips are for school, recreation, shopping, errands, etc.

Additionally, 60 percent of all trips are within 5 miles of people's homes.

If alternative transportation were available, people could choose a method that would promote less congestion, wellness and a higher quality of life.

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