Urging residents to `make a difference' As a relative...


February 03, 2002

Urging residents to `make a difference'

As a relative "newbie" to Carroll County (2 1/2 years) with a young family, I have taken great strides to understand the challenges that my community faces. It is my belief and aspiration that it is my civic duty to "make a difference" by becoming an informed and active member of my community. I don't do this for personal reward, but for the desire to improve my community and make it better and stronger for my kids and neighbors.

I am disappointed to report that while most people likely care very much about their community, few invest the time and effort necessary in order to make a difference. Worse yet, many don't think they even can, choosing instead to sit passively on the sidelines, while decisions are made without their input. In fairness, the lack of open government and recent political chicanery is partly to blame for the apparent apathy of our citizens.

Nonetheless, Carroll County and especially the South Carroll area, are at a critical crossroads, desperately in need of new and effective political leadership. Our roads and schools are overcrowded and in decline, we are plagued with government-imposed water shortages and there is no reasonable approach to planned growth or economic development. These are clearly challenging times, which our elected leaders have demonstrated that they are ill equipped to manage (excepting maybe Julia Walsh Gouge).

Many in the state say that Carroll County has itself to blame for electing ineffective local leaders, which includes our Commissioners, State Delegates and U.S. Congressman. Though I have yet to have the opportunity to vote in a local election, I have to agree that on this score, there is little defense. I firmly believe that, if we are not working to change things, then we may very well lose the right to complain.

As citizens, we need to take responsibility for our communities. We need to get off our couches and start talking to the volunteer leaders in our community. We need to get to know our elected leaders and start dragging them back into our communities to tell them about issues that affect us. It all starts with becoming informed. Together we can make a difference. Together we can start to turn Carroll County around in the right direction.

Ross Dangel


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