Your Opinions

August 27, 2006

Sign placement is all-important

The campaign season is in full swing in Carroll County and with it comes the myriad of candidate signs dotting our roads and highways.

Take a moment to notice where each candidate has placed signage. Often this will tell you who is really supporting the candidate and what the true intentions of each candidate are.

It seems to me that the majority of signs promoting the candidacy of Sen. [Larry E.] Haines and Dels. [Nancy R.] Stocksdale and [Tanya T.] Shewell are positioned either directly or indirectly near real estate offices, developer and contractor businesses, and professional offices (accountants, attorneys, etc.) and that each has a continued economic stake in the unchecked development and continued sprawl of our county. Several are also prominently placed on large, open, undeveloped (as yet) tracts of land.

Despite what each candidate professes, it is fairly clear that they are happy with the "status quo" and will continue to support developers and contractors with little regard to how this impacts our infrastructure, water supply, and the overall quality of life we enjoy in Carroll County.

Don't be fooled by empty promises and slogans designed to mask the true intentions of these candidates. Remember talk is cheap, but a well-placed sign is worth a thousand words.

Christopher C. Esgar Westminster

Zimmer shows his appreciation

Thank you for your excellent article printed on 8/13/06 about my campaign for commissioner. About 80 percent of the story was accurate. That's quite a high batting average.

A few items do deserve clarification. Regarding the incumbents, they are self-described moderates. However, I find nothing moderate in raising every tax under their control and trying for a transfer tax. I find nothing moderate in their running war of words with the delegation. I find nothing moderate in their blame shifting to the school board.

The suggestion that I lack specifics doesn't hold water. I have a Web site that's chock full of highly specific issues and solutions.

I am amazed that anyone considers these incumbents to be the slow growth candidates. They talk a lot about it, but talk is cheap.

Their actual record on growth leaves much to be desired. Allow me to share one example.

On Liberty Road in Eldersburg, there is a property owned by Security Development Corp. There is no residential development along this particular section of Liberty Road. It should be zoned commercial and turned into a nice office complex or something along those lines.

I'll concede that the property has a long and tortured history, but the commissioners have failed to come to grips with a realistic solution to prevent this property from turning into high-density housing.

The influx of population that would result from high density housing in Eldersburg would blow the doors off our schools. An appeal is not the same as a plan. The incumbents punted on the opportunity to resolve this matter because they thought we were going to have a district system for voting. They assumed they'd escape the wrath of the South Carroll voter and dump this matter onto the next board.

The incumbents have fumbled the ball on growth. They want to build new administrative space when what we really need is school renovation. These are not personal attacks. These are pointed comments from a challenger who's not going to be intimidated by the incumbents. They can't defend their own record, so anyone who points out their deficiencies must be making a personal attack. Thanks again for the very nice article.

Michael D. Zimmer Eldersburg

Present the facts on local government

In a recent letter to The Sun, Ms. Lee Chappell, an avid supporter of Del. Tanya T. Shewell, suggests I owe the voters a response. More than a response, I think the voters deserve the facts.

Unfortunately, both Delegate Shewell and Ms. Chappell seem poorly prepared to provide insight into local government funding and budgets. In Delegate Shewell's case, this is understandable. After all, she has never served as a local elected office or balanced a local government budget.

While the state of Maryland has increased support to education, it severely cut funding to local governments like the town of Hampstead.

For example, in 2002, the state provided $42 million to Program Open Space - our main source of funding for parks and recreation. In 2003, the amount was cut to $17 million and remained below $20 million per year until this year.

In 2004 and 2005, the state cut $12.3 million each year from municipal Highway User Revenues - a 30 percent reduction per annum. Local jurisdictions rely on this money to build and maintain roads.

If Delegate Shewell and her supporters want to sit down with me and the town's budgets, I would be delighted to show the local financial impact of state cuts over the past four years.

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