Speakout

April 29, 2007

THE ISSUE: -- County Executive Ken Ulman clearly has a "green" agenda, having proposed nine environmental items in his first budget. What do you think of Ulman's approach?

Hands off my wallet

County Executive Ken Ulman certainly has a "green" agenda, but not in the way many interpret it. No, it didn't take Ulman long to start looking for more "green" from the taxpayers to fund his irresponsible choices.

Ulman wants to raise the fire tax, used to finance fire operations only until Ulman gained control, to "reduce fire insurance rates for western county residents." When will Ulman propose another tax increase to lower the rest of the county's homeowners insurance rates?

Mr. Ulman defers the much-needed $18.9 million to renovate Mount Hebron High School so our students won't have to deal with raw sewage leaks in class, and parks $16.6 million in a project for which he "has said he has no specific plan for that money but felt the need to include it as a placeholder. ..." He then earmarks $1.9 million to add a new library on land the county does not even own.

While buying into the "man-made global warming" hype, his search for the taxpayers' "green" -- not the paltry $3.3 million he proposes for such things as "a `Green Howard' public education campaign, "blue, trash-can-style, wheeled recycling bins" for some county residents, a "Green Fund" to study "environmental friendliness," and a solar energy demonstration project" -- is Ulman's real "green" agenda.

Hands off my wallet, Mr. Ulman.

Douglas Dribben Woodstock

Residents, too, must go `green'

Ken Ulman's plans are great but only if county residents follow suit. Builders need to be more responsible in building smaller, more efficient homes that use less energy. People will not open their windows, as opposed to running air conditioners constantly, nor turn off the lights when [they are] not necessary.

Part of Mr. Ulman's plan should include an incentive for builders to provide better housing that utilizes solar panels to harness the energy that is provided free of charge by the sun. This should have been done years ago and should be a tax incentive. Also, residents continue to drive larger and more gas-guzzling cars.

For some reason no children seem to ride the school buses provided by the county any longer -- in Glenelg there are bottlenecks every morning, with people coming and going into the middle school. Most live within a few miles of the school -- this is a gross waste of energy. There are a number of school buses with no children in them.

Our society needs to stop throwing away everything on a whim and being more responsible as a whole. If Mr. Ulman can make this happen, then our little part of the world will be a much better place. Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen.

Connie Regan-Alexander Glenelg

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