Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

August 20, 2006

Shoemaker owes voters a response

I have read in The Sun a series of letters concerning assertions made by the mayor of Hampstead. He made claims like Annapolis "has continued to cut funding to local governments." Del. Tanya T. Shewell replied to four points he made with reasoned response and what seemed to be an impressive array of facts and statistics.

The next week, Commissioner [Dean L.] Minnich chimed in defense of [Mayor Haven N.]Shoemaker Jr., basically calling Shewell a liar. Next, a Shoemaker supporter wrote another attack on the delegate.

All three of these guys seemed decidedly emotional in contrast to the reasoned lady delegate.

This was especially true of Minnich. I showed his letter to some of my friends who thought it sounded like a tantrum. He did, however, make one point about Shewell's statistics that was worth looking into. She claimed that the county and municipalities had not been overall cut in funding by the Ehrlich administration and gave statistics for 2005 to 2007, showing increases of 11.5 percent, 9.7 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively.

Minnich shot back that [Gov. Robert L.] Ehrlich Jr. made deep cuts in his first budget (2004) and subsequent increases did not make up for leaving the county in a financial hole. (This would justify the commissioners' substantial raise in taxes). Those three budgets total over 30 percent increase in state aid to counties and municipalities.

So if Minnich is right, the 2004 Ehrlich budget must have been a heck of a cut of state aid to the counties. One doesn't have to Google on down too far (mlis.state.md.us) to arrive at the answer, and here it is. It is true that the counties received substantial increases from the state in 2005-2007, and Shewell's statistics are right.

But what about 2004? There were cuts in some areas such as transportation and police, but a substantial increase in education. In the final tally, "Direct State aid to Carroll County" was $122 million in Ehrlich's 2004 budget, up from $119 million from the last Glendening budget of 2003, or an increase of 2.5 percent.

Add to direct aid, state contributions to retirement payments and the increase is even greater. So, of all the points that Shoemaker made, only one point was defended by his two supporters, and that inaccurately. I would like to see Mr. Shoemaker respond to each of the points that Del. Shewell made and not a surrogate, since he wants to be our delegate.

I appreciate the reasoned approach of the delegate and hope that the other side would stop the wild generalizations and give us some accurate facts. That helps a lot more in deciding who has done a good job.

Lee Chappell Westminster

Conservatives, watch delegate race closely

Social conservatives need to look closely at the candidates for delegate to Annapolis. It is up to individual delegates to research, write, introduce and fight in the General Assembly for the positions they espouse. If they are not passionate about an issue, they will not do the hard work it takes to make it a viable bill.

I see a decided difference between the only two that seem to write much to the papers: Shewell and Shoemaker. As reported in the newspapers and repeated in her literature, Shewell has written and introduced into the legislature bills promoting adult stem cell research as opposed to embryonic stem cell research; a bill to try to reduce the divorce rate, higher in Carroll County than anywhere else in Maryland; and a strong child sex offender law.

On the other hand, Mr. Shoemaker has criticized her, saying issues like BGE are more important than "creating a new government program to mandate pre-marital counseling." A Shoemaker supporter criticizing Shewell recently wrote in like vein, "Leave the moral legislation...to those just hanging around collecting a paycheck."

The above statements are conclusive that Mr. Shoemaker will not be assertive in promoting a socially conservative legislative agenda while Shewell has. Of course, other candidates may argue that they have not had a chance to accumulate a legislative record. So we need, therefore, to find out what they have done to support the conservative social agenda apart from politics.

Have they a long-standing record of contributing time or money to these causes and not just in this recent election cycle? Have they been long time members of socially conservative organizations or have they recently joined some? Have they recently changed their positions on social issues in a way more acceptable to social conservatives?

It is easy to put your finger to the wind and then go in the direction it blows, but election cycle behavior in the absence of long standing attachment to issues should give social conservatives purpose.

Debra Gilbert Westminster

Krebs recaps her achievements

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