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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |


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September 2, 2004

Some Stuff I Just Donít Understand

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

Glenn Hiller did exactly what he wanted to do. He exercised his right to shout questions to President Bush at a rally in West Virginia. He achieved his intended goal, he obtained national media coverage.

Sue Hough, the owner of Octavo Design, exercised her rights as the owner of her own business. She dismissed an employee for embarrassing an important client who had invited Mr. Hiller to attend the aforementioned rally.

I just donít understand what the big deal is! Democrats argue this is the Republican Party denying people their 1st Amendment rights. BALONEY! Mr. Hiller was able to sidle up to TV crews, shout his questions, and draw attention to himself and his cause. The decision to fire him is merely a matter of accepting the consequences for his actions. Had he attended the rally on his own, as opposed to accepting a ticket from an agency client, we wouldn't have to have these conversations.

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Speaking of national politics, much is being written about the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and the conservative wing of the Republican Party. The news media uses the most blatant policy differences of both parties as a mechanism to define members of both parties.

Moderates in both parties find themselves increasing isolated, struggling to understand why they are forced to justify their beliefs to vocal minorities of cause-driven fringe elements.

My experience, limited to Frederick County, is that the numbers of voters who consider themselves something other than ultra-liberal or neo-conservative is large, and growing annually.

I just donĎt understand why we canít accept that policy differences are healthy, a solid measure of the strength of a political party, not a sign of weakness. The risk that our political system faces is that this trend will continue, and a true, viable third party will emerge that more closely represents the views of a majority of Americans.

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Roy Meachum spent decades doing exactly what an opinion columnist is supposed to do. He wrote columns that angered, provoked, inspired, and motivated folks who would normally be happy to just sit and read.

The editorial letters section of the Frederick News-Post was filled with aspiring writers who honed their craft by responding to what Roy had written. Your humble correspondent found himself the target of Royís keyboard on several occasions. I wish I could tell you that he distorted, manufactured, and misled, but I cannot. He accurately described my situation, including the appropriate level of discomfort.

My favorite columns were Royís reminiscences about Chincoteague and Virginiaís barrier islands. Roy wrote in a lyrical and poetic style, eloquently capturing the peace and beauty of that wonderful place.

Mr. Meachum has been criticized for being inaccurate on technical matters, including specific criticism regarding his opinions about certain county and city political figures.

I just donít understand why he wasnít treated better by the ownership of the paper. I also cannot fathom why his critics canít accept that his role at the paper was to generate reader interest and response. That includes lighting a fire and passion within those who hold a different view. He did that in spades!

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Water is a precious and life-sustaining resource, critically important to our future. Water defines how our county will grow, how our various municipalities will develop, and whether we can maintain our environment.

The battle over water resources is not limited to Frederick County. A conflict similar to that playing out between Frederick City Hall and Winchester Hall is going on over South Mountain. The City of Hagerstown and the Washington County Commissioners are struggling with defining the use of city water resources to serve the growth area outside the city limits.

Sound familiar? The only difference is the financial argument in Frederick County, where millions are at stake in bringing the water line up from the Potomac River to serve the city. In both cases, municipal leaders are arguing to protect their autonomy and independence, while County officials voice concern over stewardship of resources and countywide growth and utility policy issues.

I just donít understand why we canít adopt a regional approach to the management and control over water resources. A regional water authority, populated by representatives of all levels of government, would have the authority to make decisions reflecting our best interests. Internecine squabbles make almost no sense to citizens whose overriding concern is whether weíll have enough water to sustain us in the future. I have no illusions about how difficult it would be to create this entity, but officials motivated by a pure desire to design and implement long-term solutions could overcome these obstacles.

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