GOP primary doesn't need IndependentsI disagree with the...


May 16, 1999

GOP primary doesn't need Independents

I disagree with the proposal to allow Maryland registered independents to vote in Republican primaries.

Proponents believe independents voting in our primary will be more likely to vote Republican in general elections, enhancing our likelihood of victory.

Taken to its logical extreme, Republicans should all register as independents. Then we would have a bigger party and a better chance of beating the Democrats. We could figure out an ideology later.

No thanks. I'm a Republican because I believe in lower taxes and less government; individual rights, not group rights; free enterprise with less government regulation; a hand up, not a hand out; a good education for all, not just more public education spending; and a stronger commitment to public safety and national defense.

A Republican victory absent these principles would be meaningless to all but the most cynical politician.

I am a white Republican male. In 1997, I won election to the Annapolis City Council in a 70 percent Democratic, 65 percent African-American ward. My campaign was built on basic Republican ideology -- clearly and energetically disseminated door-to-door.

I discovered that most voters are Republicans. They just don't realize it yet. We have to help them see it.

This is not a new concept. Ronald Reagan, and later the Contract with America, applied it, and Republicans won big. George Bush ignored it and lost. The 1998 congressional Republicans ignored it. They "me tooed" the Democrats on education and counted on President Clinton's negatives to save the day.

They lost seats, as did scores of county and state Republicans who softened "their message to appeal" to Democrats and independents.

To paraphrase Harry Truman, if you offer the voters a choice between a Democrat and a Republican who tries to act like a Democrat, they'll choose the Democrat every time. Unfortunately, most Maryland Republican candidates haven't figured this out.

Republicans who want to open our primaries to independents are following a formula of pandering to votes that failed in 1998.

I prefer President Reagan's strategy: Define the Republican message, stay on message and take your case to the people. Through this strategy, many conservative Democrats and independents will join our cause and being a Republican will mean something besides not being a Democrat.

Herbert H. McMillan Annapolis

The writer represents the 5th Ward on the Annapolis City Council.

Outlawing `loitering while black'

Annapolis Alderman Herbert H. McMillan claims that he has introduced an anti-loitering ordinance because that is what the African-American community wants. Right.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union have raised concern about this bill on constitutional grounds. These two organizations know that these kinds of bills always hurt members of the black community and are used to harass our youth.

Recently, the Rev. Barbara Sands, Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church, raised the issue of "racial profiling" by the police. Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Clayton Greene Jr. has expressed concerns about this practice. On a national level, many people have expressed concerns about "DWB," i.e. "driving while black."

Now, we have an alderman who wants to create an "LWB" law, i.e., "loitering while black." If the alderman really wants to help his constituents, he would be fighting for jobs and better recreational facilities.

If I recall correctly, he won his election by 28 votes. You can be sure that he will be a one-term alderman. If he thinks that he can use this issue to run for mayor, he had better rethink his options.

The Black Political Forum proudly joins with the NAACP, United Black Clergy, the Maryland Forum of African American Leaders and the ACLU in opposing this ordinance.

Michael T. Brown Sr. Annapolis

The writer is chairman of the Black Political Forum.

Parents must take the lead with children

While I may have had strong feelings in the past on certain columns, I have never felt compelled to respond in writing.

However, Michael Olesker's May 6 column, about the suspension of a Windsor Farm Elementary fourth-grader and his parents' response to this issue caused me to respond from the heart.

I do not question the Anne Arundel County school system's response to this issue. I do not question Mr. Olesker's assertion that "sometimes, perhaps, we lose a sense of perspective and common sense."

I do not question that perhaps a 9-year-old would not draw a connection between a picture of a gun he had drawn and the Colorado tragedy.

However, I question why a 9-year-old has a James Bond video game. I question why his parents would permit him to "spend too much time with it."

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