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The Tentacle


June 2, 2003

Random Thoughts on Frederick - Political And Social

Bethany Stevenson

What a bold move on the part of Governor Robert Ehrlich in his recent veto of the State Exercise (Walking) Bill!! Controversial to say the least! How many politicians would dare veto a child's bill?

But popularity in a child's view is not efficient government management. Thank you, Governor Ehrlich! Now if only there were a few others in the government willing to stand up and take back the time that is wasted by needless bills and wasteful actions that waste taxpayers' money.

First of all, although many teachers may disagree, stop the students from sending needless and silly bills through the system. How much time gets wasted from all the people who have to review, read, vote on, be interviewed, etc., just for a class project bill that really has no good effect on the people of Maryland. How many people really care what the official exercise, or horse, or drink of Marylanders is? Those things that matter were decided long ago. The song, the tree, the flower, the crustacean. I think we have enough. Leave it alone. And leave the legislators alone.

I would propose that their time could be better spent on projects that can benefit taxpayers, like more in-depth studies on slots, or the effects of proposed legislation on daycare providers, or long-term effects on the economy if the tax rate is changed on certain businesses.

I am not saying never contact our hardworking representatives, just don't burden them with inane bills just for a project's sake.

Secondly, I propose that media sources close to our thriving metropolis could help our legislators save their time for their work by not sensationalizing differences in opinion between elected officials of the same party. I am referring to the recent "scandal" widely publicized by our local tabloid involving the Governor and Delegate Joe Bartlett.

Both are Republicans. Both were elected last November. Both made their stand on slots very clear before election: Governor Ehrlich for, Delegate Bartlett against.

When the bill was presented for votes, it was reported in that paper that Governor Ehrlich chastised Mr. Bartlett severely for his stance, and the tension in the now non-existent relationship was reported on the front page. Even a call to Mr. Bartlett was made, while he was on vacation south of Florida, to get his comment.

Is this relationship so important that it is reported as front-page news, that a cruise is interrupted, that work is detained? And how are we to know that this interpretation by our only media source is the true story and not "blown out of proportion" story as so many stories often are?

Waste of valuable taxpayers time? Yes, I think so.

Who is at fault? Human jealousy and foible, tendency of media to seek sensationalism, and those seeking to be better than the other is?

So, media, leave these speculations on human relationships and their affects on politics alone so that the legislators can spend their time, oh, I don't know, maybe, WORKING. Seems odd, but it's worth a shot.

Switching to a more localized time management area, Mayor Jennifer Dougherty has earned some praise in finally, after 11 years and several mayors, removing the plague and menace from our fine city: X-hale. Talk about a time management fiasco. Now, she can focus on other menaces as well. If the night club had been properly dealt with from the beginning, other mayors, as well as Jennifer, would have been able to focus on other, more pressing issues.

Thankfully, it appears the drought issue has resolved itself. Although maybe it shows we had far too many people praying in Frederick last year for the drought to end, because now it seems to have gone in the opposite direction. Faith can work miracles, but sometimes those miracles aren't always what we expected!

Back to that time management issue, it seems that for the time being the alderman and the mayor have put their personal issues on the side burner and are working together. Way to go!!! The elimination of that waste of time has made it easier to concentrate on the real issues.

There are many personal issues that I have with individuals that I work with everyday, but if I didn't put them aside I would never get anything done.

In an elected position you are elected on those personal beliefs. But if you use those beliefs as walls between you and others, all you are is an inmate in a sanitarium. However, those beliefs can be combined and interwoven with those of others into a blanket where your thread is integral to the design, color and strength of the whole, but alone cannot keep a person warm. Your thread is never the same as any one else's and that is good. Otherwise it would not be a beautiful blanket.

Other random thoughts I have about Frederick:

-I am, on one hand, excited that my property is worth so much more now than it was several years ago. On the other hand, my neighbors are moving to another city. They rent the house next door. They earn a modest income and the rent on the house has now increased, albeit equal to other rents in the city, but not worth the rent for that house and they can no longer afford it. So long to our good neighbors!

-I am concerned about the wide range of parental involvement that I encounter in the children I meet. It is not a typical bell curve in my grand estimation.

I have seen children who fit into either one end of the scale or the other, with only a very few in the middle range. Parents are either very involved with their children, or not involved at all.

One boy in my neighborhood, a teen, has spent some time with us during the daytime, while he should be at school. He is so thirsty for positive adult attention, and for love and admiration. Several times in the past several months he has attempted suicide. Yet his parents have not increased their attempts to improve their meager relationship with him.

These kids are our future. These kids live in our neighborhoods and we are letting them fall through the cracks. It is not the schools' fault, not the police's fault, not the social services' problem or even the mayor's problem. It is the parents. Wake up, parents! There are children screaming for love and attention, and I don't know what you see in them, but they are your children. Love them, spend time with them.

-The rebirth of the Golden Mile is a beautiful thing. With Boscov's coming into the old Penney's, and some sign of life appearing in the old Ward's Automotive shop, the promise of revitalization and thriving business seems just over the horizon. Of course, Giant Eagle brought life into the shopping center up the way over the past couple years, too. Like a game of Sim City, the brown empty buildings come back to life and bring prosperity to those around it. My thoughts for Hechinger's have always been on the fun side, if only I had the business sense and financial backing to make it happen. I'd love to see a wealthy donor make it possible for the YMCA to have an Olympic size pool there for the swim team to use. The Y has a great swim team, but it does not get to practice as often as it should or at times that are conducive for a growing child's healthy schedule.

With this they could also actually have their swim meets without disturbing swim lessons at the Y, free swim time, and have a real six lane meet like real swim teams do.

Since the building is so much larger than is necessary for a pool house, how about a roller rink, not for leagues like some outdoor ones recently mentioned locally, but one for general use for hockey or skating? And a youth dance area for weekly dances, a book exchange area, art exploration areas, drama exploration areas and in general a neat (as in hip), safe place for youth to hang, have fun and not feel pressured to be the best in any of the those areas.

It is the perfect size, location, and with a little creativity and money could look great and appeal to keep youth in a place away from the streets. And as long the owner keeps his greed in check and does it for the benefit for the youth, the kids will thrive.

Then the more kids and parents in the area, the more traffic and business will make the area thrive. Just a thought. Feel free to take it and run with it!!

Just remember, Frederick really is a great place to live, but there is always room for improvement.



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