To the editor:
By now most Kent County residents know that I am resigning from my role as their elected county commissioner. This was a difficult decision, and one made under very difficult circumstances.
Kent County is being crushed by the efforts of the governor and General Assembly in Annapolis to shift an impossible financial burden onto the counties while taking away the authority of local government.
Blair Lee laid out beautifully how Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly are passing the financial buck to the counties (“Thrown under the school bus,” March 23). This shameful political handoff leaves little to do but add to the county’s increasing debt with ever more borrowing and/or significantly raise taxes.
I know that my decision to resign in protest is not going to stop the steamroller, but I hope my resignation draws some attention to the ever-weakening local voice and the self-serving fiscal sleight of hand from Annapolis.
Alex P. Rasin
Kent County has lost a good man, how tragic. This year, the governor and the legislature shifted $250 million of teacher pension costs to Maryland’s 24 local governments, which must now bear that burden annually.
But, to appease the teachers unions who feared the local governments would cut local schools’ spending to pay for the new pension costs, the governor and the legislature also passed a “maintenance of effort” law prohibiting local governments from reducing school spending. That’s how they bought off the teachers unions.
So, Annapolis is now dictating local governments’ budget priorities; “You can balance your local budgets any way you choose except you can never, never cut school spending.”
If the state is going to write the counties’ budgets, why have local governments? Mr. Rasin, I don’t blame you for resigning.
Thank you for your superb analysis of the gambling expansion bill (“Time for gambling intervention?” Aug. 17). It dealt very clearly and informatively with this proposed further taxing of the poor and foolish. I said in 2008 that when the gambling camel got its nose under the tent, it would soon be in much further.
In 2008, Maryland’s voters fell for the promises that legalizing slots would increase school spending, save horse racing and end tax increases. But none of it came true.
Now, gambling expansion is pitching the same promises to see just how dumb we really are. But here’s the most pathetic part: Our elected officials won’t speak out against gambling expansion. Instead, the chief opponents against gambling expansion are the existing casinos who don’t want competition from the new casinos.
So, the public debate over ballot Question 7 isn’t a battle between morality and depravity or between right and wrong — it’s a battle between competing casino interests! God save us.
This week’s Gazette (“Obama’s pit bull,” Sept. 7) just hit my driveway. My God, you’re an ass.
Thanks for your thoughtful analysis, very articulate and persuasive.
I know why I am a Democrat. That was one of the most hatefull articles (“Obama’s pit bull,” Sept. 7) I have ever read. Why don’t you move to Texas, you would fit right in.
Even in Texas the word “hateful” is spelled with only one “l.”
Thank you so much for your article in The Gazette (“Redefining tolerance?” Aug 24). In this county not many people are willing to say what you had the courage to print. It is really troubling when people assume you are a bigot or a racist simply because you don’t agree with their liberal positions.
I appreciate your writing (and I never send emails to writers).
I got over that bigot/racist thing long ago. The really tough part of writing columns is matching wits with guys like William Minning and Robert Haack.
Dear Mr. Lee,
Great piece in last week’s Gazette on the upcoming special session (“Meanwhile, back at the casinos,” Aug 3). I would suggest, however, that you use “Prince George’s” rather than “P.G.” — the abbreviation is considered by many to be diminutive to the point of being derogatory.
I’ll stop using “P.G.” when folks from P.G. stop using “D.C.” and “L.A.”
I loved the article (O’Malley shoots the moon,” July 20) particularly the recognition of Martin O’Malley’s status as a bench warmer at Gonzaga.
Unfortunately, your last paragraph had two errors … you don’t “shoot the moon” in Bridge, you shoot the moon in Hearts.
I know, I know. You were the fifth reader to point out my metaphor misdeal. “Grand slam,” not “shoot the moon,” is the correct terminology. I guess I really am an ass.