Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

20041019 BRF Other Voices Working for the Bay cct

Working to help the bay

By Kevin Dayhoff, Other Voices
Carroll County Times
Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Last Wednesday, I attended the first meeting of the Bay Restoration Fund Advisory Committee. Gov. Robert Ehrlich appointed me to the committee to represent Maryland's 157 municipalities.

My first reaction after learning of the appointment was what have I gotten myself into? Paying more fees or taxes isn't necessarily popular with me or among us Carroll countians. Let's face it - being on the rules committee to advise MDE as to how to collect and administer Ehrlich's Bay Restoration Fund initiative, which will cost us more money out of our pocket, is not necessarily winning first prize.

But wait a minute, a portion of the revenue flow created by the Bay Restoration Fund is earmarked for four of our Sewage Treatment Plants in Carroll County, directly affected by federal regulations and it is important that Carroll County have a voice in this matter. Odd thing about these regulations is that they were not funded. They make the rules - we pay the bills.

For Westminster alone, the cost of implementing the recent spat of environmental regulations for our Water Treatment and Wastewater Treatment Plants could cost $11 million. The total cost of the upgrades necessary for the four Sewage Treatment Plants in Carroll County as identified in this fund - Freedom District, Taneytown, Mt. Airy and Westminster - is over $9 million, with the other plants in the county to be considered for funding later. Now just how are we supposed to pay for this?

In the coming years, one of the most important challenges to our quality of life will be the availability of quality drinking water. It is a well accepted goal that improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay is important for its scenic and recreational value, but the health of the bay also has an enormous economic impact on all of us, and not just in the cost of crabs and seafood, but in jobs and economic development.

The piece that has been missing after many years of talking about the problems of water quality and availability and the bay is how provide the resources to meet these challenges. Yes, what we are talking about here is how are we are going to pay for the upgrades to the 66 major sewage treatment plants throughout the state. And, just as importantly, how is accountability going to be established for the money collected and the implementation of the upgrades.

Did the Bay Restoration Fund initiative make everyone happy? Certainly not. The legislation was the subject of heated debate and discussion throughout the 2004 General Assembly session. Often the right thing to do is not always popular. I personally applaud Ehrlich for having the leadership to not just talk about the health of the Bay, the environment and the quality of our drinking water, but to actually do something about it.

It has been identified that upgrading sewage treatment plants is necessary in order to improve the health of the bay and protect our drinking water supplies, and this is one of Ehrlich's top environmental priorities. However important the quality of drinking water is to all of us, the Bay Restoration Fund wasn't easy or necessarily the popular thing to do, but it is a small price to pay considering the value we will get for our money.

For once we have a governor who is aware that the map of Maryland goes from Ocean City to Western Maryland and all points in between, including Carroll County. It's nice to be on the map again.

The Bay Restoration Fund fee will appear on a water and sewer bill coming to your house after Jan. 1. Remember that the money is going to benefit Carroll County, jobs and economic development, your drinking water, the environment and the Chesapeake Bay. In the long run, $30 a year is probably less than what it would cost if local government had to raise water and sewer bills in order to pay for the federal and state unfunded mandates. By working together we can all do better.

Kevin Dayhoff is Mayor of Westminster. To submit a piece for Other Voices consideration, send it to: Other Voices, c/o Carroll County Times, 201 Railroad Avenue, Westminster, MD 21157.

Monday, October 11, 2004

20041011 An evening with Ana Marie Cox

An evening with Ana Marie Cox

October 11, 2004

Wonkette In The Flesh: An Evening with Ana Marie Cox transcript of interview at Columbia Journalism School, October 2004

Wonkette In The Flesh: An Evening with Ana Marie Cox
A political blogger visits Columbia Journalism School and the students survive. Sort of.

TRANSCRIPT: Columbia's SPJ chapter hosted Cox on Monday, Oct. 11, from 6-7 pm.

About 60 students attended as their classmate, Richard Morgan moderated the discussion.

Photos by Rebecca Castillo .

Also see a blog's version of the event.

More – much more…

Saturday, October 09, 2004

20041007 Looking at a change in our county government by Mike Zimmer

Looking at a change in our county government

Oct. 7, 2004 Michael Zimmer

Are five heads better than three? Delegate Don Elliott sure thinks so. He spoke forcefully and passionately in favor of the ballot initiative to change our form of county government at the September meeting of the South Carroll Republican Club.

The Elliott plan would both expand the number of Carroll Commissioners from three to five and also change our current at-large voting system to running and voting by district. Both the pro and con sides of the argument are starting to gear up for the debate of this question. I have started seeing vote 5 signs around the county in support of the initiative. Maybe the con side will sport signs saying, "Three is enough!"

I can see good points and negative points on both sides of the question.


I can see some advantages in adding two Commissioners.


On the con side, I'm concerned with the district system. I don't object necessarily to running by district but voting by district worries me a little. In some counties you run for a district seat but the whole county votes for you. This forces candidates to focus on the good of the whole county not merely look to their own area.


I wonder if Delegate Elliott or his colleagues gave any thought to a blend between countywide and district? For example, we could have four Commissioners elected by district. We have two single member delegate districts, which could each have a Commissioner. Delegate District 5A has two seats and could have two commissioners. This would solve the difficult challenge of drawing district lines. The fifth Commissioner would be elected at large. This person would be uniquely charged with looking out for the big picture and would serve as President to the Board. Well if this year's plan goes down in flames, maybe my suggestion will be the next alternative we will consider some years down the road.

Read the entire column here: Looking at a change in our county government