Two parties still dominate Carroll ... both Republican

Culleton on Carroll

October 29, 2011|By John Culleton

In Carroll County we keep alive the fiction of the two-party system.

In fact, it's a three-party system, Democrats and the two wings of the Republican Party, the pro-growthers and the slow-growthers.

Right now the pro-growthers are in the saddle, both in our local government and the legislative delegation.

Politics is all about the tax rate and economy in government, right? Well, the tax rate is high because we keep building residential units. New or newish residential units attract families with children.

Educating those children costs more than the residential family pays in taxes. The school budget is half the county budget.

So those concerned about controlling costs — and hence controlling the tax rate — should vote for politicians who act to control residential growth.

But they don't. And in large part, it's because of the two-party fiction.

The real contest is in the Republican primary, not the General Election.

In the last primary, three commissioners were chosen with a minority of total votes cast in their districts.

According to the Board of Elections, Robin Frazier got 41.5 percent of Republican primary votes in District 1, a total of 1,572 votes. Richard Rothschild got 1,391 votes, or 36.51 percent, of the Republican primary votes cast in District 4.

Of the five, only Dave Roush and Doug Howard won their respective primaries with more than 50 percent of the votes cast. Rouse received 51.37 percent (1,720 votes) in District 3, while Howard received 52.51 percent (1,965 votes) in District 5.

Just to round it out, Haven Shoemaker received 39.04 percent, or 1,592 Republican primary votes, in District 2.

And yet Frazier and Rothschild seem to be setting the agenda for the county. To me, it seems only Shoemaker stands up to them.

Among the decisions of the board has been to give a blogger a consultant contract to serve a public information function, filling a role vacated by an county employee who left ... supposedly in an effort to save money.

How this nets out as a savings only a politician can understand.

Also, tax dollars will be spent this week to conduct a meeting that seems aimed at perpetuating the notion that climate change is not affected by human activity. Should Carroll County taxpayers pay for this anti-science love fest?

So what is the solution to all this? First, the county needs to have home rule to get out from under the thumb of the delegation.

Second, after we get home rule, we should make commissioner elections nonpartisan, as they are with the school board, with three commissioners elected at large.

Sensible residents, both Republican and Democrat, could vote into office commissioners without regard to party labels.

The primary election could narrow down the field to six commissioner candidates and the General Election could pick the top three.

All citizens need to have a chance to vote on all the commissioners and without party labels muddying the waters.

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