May 28, 2006

Everyday concerns are what matter

As a small-town mayor, I do not see much in the way of party politics. In Hampstead, we provide core municipal services like police protection, trash removal, public water and road maintenance. Even conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats can generally agree that fixing a pothole is a good idea.

Over the course of a year, I attend dozens of community events from the opening day of Little League season to Eagle Scout ceremonies to calling bingo at the senior center.

I speak to high school students about business law, say a few words at the Memorial Day service and attend seemingly countless meetings related to Hampstead matters.

An important part of serving as mayor is listening to local people, understanding their hopes and concerns about our community.

Over the past year or so, I have attended more political events. The conversations there are usually different. I have concluded that there are a small but vocal number of people in Carroll County who live, eat and breathe politics. You probably recognize their names ... they love writing letters to the editor. These folks see the world through a partisan glass - Republican or Democrat.

The problem - as I see it - is that these political enthusiasts (including some of our state elected officials) are so wrapped up in party politics that they are out of touch with the real concerns of everyday people.

The redistricting map was a mess, but most residents mostly care that we elect five fiscally conservative, responsible and ethical county commissioners.

Many of our local residents are really starting to feel the budget pinch from higher prices from gas and electricity (and they are starting to find out that we have legislators who were in office in 1999, and supported this farce we call deregulation).

What people care about is keeping taxes low while government provides services efficiently. Our residents are concerned that Carroll County will become one giant suburb of Baltimore with all of its big-city problems. They want to preserve our quality of life.

At political gatherings, you will hear a lot of planning, plotting and politicking. You also won't hear many big-picture ideas about how we can respond to these real issues.

When you do hear ideas, it usually involves how to get elected, stay elected or keeping "the other guy" from getting elected. In fact, there are members of our state delegation who haven't really done anything but win elections for years.

I suppose paying closer attention would make one a better politician. Given the crossroads we face in our county, we don't need better politicians. We need better leaders.

Haven Shoemaker

Mayor of Hampstead

Kittleman vote lacked judgment

Recently I heard Sen. Allan Kittleman speak about voting for redistricting Option 1 instead of Option 2. He claims it was the better choice for South Carroll because it keeps communities together.

Unfortunately, he must not be very familiar with his district or he would come up with another reason. Both options separate communities in his district, therefore his reasoning is, at best, faulty.

What he really did in voting for Option 1 and against Option 2 is to prevent his district from having two commissioners.

The legislators from the northern part of the county have clearly stated that they voted against Option 2 because it would give us, the residents of South Carroll, two commissioners. Why would our representative, Sen. Kittleman, vote to give us less representation? I find this an incredible lack of judgment on his part.

Del. Susan Krebs, on the other hand, voted for Option 2. Having lived, worked and been active in the South Carroll community for years, she recognized the benefits of Option 2 for her constituents and she voted in our best interest.

Del. Krebs should be commended for standing up for us; Sen. Kittleman should make an effort to learn about his district.

Thank you, Del. Krebs.

Kimberly Madeja


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