Don't limit `right to referendum'

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 08, 2007

In regard to the Political Notebook column about the newly appointed Howard County Board of Elections ("Elections board due a nearly full turnover," April 1), it was stated by the former chairman that the members were not partisan. Mr. Harriman and the former board may think that, but they cannot deny they were "political" during the past few years.

He does state that it has been "tumultuous," and I would concur. The members of the Citizens for an Open Process for Everyone (COPE) were especially aggrieved after submitting the required number of signatures to bring a legislative decision in Howard County before the voters by referendum and then having the board refuse to support its own decision in approving the legitimacy of the petition.

The board members, represented by the chairman, stated that they did not think they could be involved in a "zoning" issue. That demonstrates to me that they had no comprehension of their authority and had no business getting involved in the issue itself.

At the same time as over 7,000 petitioners were relying on the board to do its duty, the board's own members were in turmoil.

COPE is now spending thousands of dollars collected from angry and disgusted citizens to oppose certain legislative decisions by the Howard County government.

We are hopeful that the newly appointed board will never again limit the "right to referendum" that the previous board did.

Angela Beltram Ellicott City

The writer is the founder and spokeswoman for COPE.

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