September 17, 2006

Harford GOP has too few true members

I noticed that The Sun endorsed every switch-o-crat (defined as a Democrat who switches parties because the county is trending Republican) running in Tuesday's Republican primary. Consistent with your endorsements, every switch-o-crat was apparently successful in the primary elections.

Although you did not endorse in the Register of Wills race, recent party-switcher Harry Hopkins is holding a slight lead over local GOP leader Bill Christoforo in that race. Unlike the other switch-o-crats, at least Hopkins makes no pretenses about the fact his sentiments still remain with the Democratic Party.

The primary election completes the transformation of the once-proud Harford County Republican Party into little more than an arm of the Democratic Party. Local Democratic leaders must be rejoicing over the results of this election.

Despite the election of Bob Ehrlich as governor in 2002, the local Republican party has seen little benefit. In fact, statewide Republican registration has barely changed since Ehrlich's election. Ehrlich has demonstrated the same lack of leadership in party building as we have seen from him on important issues in the state, such as the energy rate increases.

It seems clear to me that no self-respecting Republican activist who was sincerely interested in the welfare of the party would continue to remain active as a supporter of all the closet Democrats in the Republican Party. Why would anyone want to see a continuation of the current trend and remain active in the local party, other than perhaps those Republicans with business interests before the local and state government?

I for one have had enough. Next week I intend to change my party registration from Republican to Independent. There are sadly few true Republicans remaining for me to support in the Harford County Republican Party.

Daniel J. Earnshaw Edgewood

Council's bid may be too good to be true

The Aberdeen City Council is dangling yet another "carrot on a stick" in front of the residents. A concept plan for a new park, complete with walking trails, community center, senior center, indoor/outdoor tennis courts and ball fields, was presented at a public meeting on Sept. 7. Who could be opposed it? It looks great, and the residents certainly deserve it. Unfortunately, in spite of the recent 48 percent increase in property taxes, there is no money in the city budget to pay for it.

But Mayor Simmons et al. know how to make a deal. The plan is to sell an existing neighborhood park and rezone it for highway commercial development. The city will also rezone several parcels along Beards Hill Road for high density residential, paving the way for 200 condominiums. Middleton Road will be extended to Beards Hill Road, at the expense of the developer, but additional access into the shopping center is not included. In return, the developer will pay for an access road into the proposed park.

The city owns the land (off Beards Hill Road) but who will pay for the park facilities? The plan is to apply for dollars through county, state, and federal grant programs. If the funds are not approved, there may be no park. But the condos will be built and the commercial properties will be developed. There will be more traffic, more noise, and more pollution. And there will be more strain on city services, such as water, sewer, fire and police.

Sounds like a good deal - for the developer. The city should find another way to pay for the access road.

Karen Heavey Aberdeen

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