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The Tentacle


July 26, 2002

Sometime You Have To Support The Lesser of Two Evils

Bethany Stevenson

Being not as wise as some of my elders, several years ago I determined to only vote for candidates who have exactly the same views as myself on all the issues. Contemplating the upcoming gubernatorial race, I decided that it was acceptable to vote for a candidate who is not in 100% agreement with my views, as long as the person was the lesser of two evils.

The candidates for governor this year are Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) and Robert Ehrlich(R). Considering Frederick is the second largest city in Maryland, Fredericktonians should strongly consider becoming more involved with nipping the legacy of the current administration in the bud.

If Ms. Townsend is elected governor we can expect the same bungling, mismanagement, and political power playing that is currently ravaging the Maryland state government.

Currently, Maryland's budget is facing a $1 billion budget deficit. Yet, in the past few years, new stadiums were built with state funds, and schools were denied the funding required to keep up with population increases in Frederick County.

Those of us who live in Frederick also deal with other issues that have previously been over looked over by the current administration. The Elmer Spencer issue has hit home as we see repeat criminals being released early for good behavior and then repeating their crime. How many children must die before the governor enlarges the state penitentiary system to keep hardened criminals in lock up? New laws must also ensure that those with mental illness and drug addictions are treated, not just put away.

Mr. Ehrlich, the Republican candidate for governor, issued a statement that sets the tone for his criminal justice stand. He said: "Incarceration is not an effective solution to the rehabilitation of drug addicts or the treatment of the mentally ill." Although I very much agree with that, I also believe in "Do the crime, do the time."

Another issue that Fredericktonians dealt with most recently is safety: safety of our children from being kidnapped or molested; safety for women to walk the streets free from rape; safety to drive through downtown without fear of being shot. Violent crimes have risen over the past 10 years in Frederick, probably in relation to the increase in population.

But harsher punishment for crimes, lack of merits for good behavior in lockup, and rehabilitation of addicts and mental illness could reduce the incidence of these violent crimes.

Mr. Ehrlich also has put his heart into the security of public facilities and communities from internal and external threats. After hearing the recent report from the voluntary investigation of the Arlington Fire and Rescue Company's work on September 11 at the Pentagon, I am surprised that even as effective as their response was, there were areas that need improvement before such events happen again. How prepared are we for not only terrorist attacks, but natural disasters and civil unrest and criminal acts. Is there also room for improvement? This is a very important issue we need to consider.

Mr. Ehrlich's website, found at www.bobehrlich.com, lists the issues and stands he takes in his bid for governor. Although the only faults I find with him are that he calls himself a moderate and takes on some issues that are usually reserved for Democrats (environment and health care), he takes a stand against a Democratic institution and a Kennedy-descendant who sees politics as a birthright.

Seeking new funding to support education deficits, seeking to find a solution to commuter grid-lock and seeking to eliminate the "excessive non-essential spending" in the state government, Ehrlich takes on a great challenge to turn the moderate Democrats to his side. But the issues don't always run on party lines, but, as seen here, on county lines.

Can Ehrlich stand up to his promises and bring order to a state suffering from the disorder brought by the Democratic governor and his hopeful successor? He says he is trustworthy. Is he the lesser of two evils? Definitely.

His stands support the lifestyles of Fredericktonians and, as such, our support should be more vocal. Even if the voice is initiated by a "Nay to Kennedy Townsend."



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