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The Tentacle


Did I Watch The Same Debate?

October 19, 2006

I did watch the debate between Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and it's amazing but I totally disagree with Mr. (George) Wenschhof's assessment (The Tentacle October 17). Isn't this a wonderful country where you can actively and openly disagree with another's point of view? Not sure we watched the same debate, though.

While listening to the words and watching the faces and gestures, I got the feeling that Mr. Mayor was talking down to me as if I didn't have a clue what was good for me and he'd lead me down the path............... of whatever. What I didn't get from this debate were truthful answers from Mr. Mayor.

What I did get was much political talking which is similar to a plane circling the runways but never coming in for a landing, just burning off fuel and hoping something inspiring will come to light before he hits the ground in a blaze of flames.

If what I just said left you scratching your head, that is exactly how I felt after the mayor spoke. I felt at any moment he was going to pat someone's head and say "there, there I'll take care of everything. To me, it wasn't a comforting feeling at all.

If you did understand what I just said then I'm not as good at talking in circles as Mr. O'Malley. What can I say other than he's had more practice. This is not a talent I want to perfect - ever.

What I got personally from Governor Ehrlich was passion, even a little irritation when he felt things weren't being truthfully detailed. Also, where we were four years ago, where we are now and where he hopes to guide us in the future, all this being done with cooperation and compromise, (well, as much as he can get considering the past) discussion and to me a thoughtful process. I got a real person, not scripted but from hands-on knowledge. I want solutions; not just ideas of what could be.

Governor Ehrlich went into an office sorely lacking in direction (not his direction but the condition in which his predecessor left our state) and with a huge deficit. We are coming back strong now and it's been a tough four years fiscally.

No, there hasn't been an abundance of extra cash to be spent; but in spite of all that, we are getting things done and moving forward with positive cash flows to education, roads, the bay, environment and a multitude of other issues.

Don't even play "the my kids can't afford college line" with me because during the last four years it just so happens that I had two children in college; and, yes, tuition did rise and rise mightily, but we managed and will be looking at loan payments for some time into the future.

Prior to that, too much money was 'given" to colleges and we had a recovery period. My girls and I fell into that recovery period. Lack of previous planning left us with huge deficit and tightening of our belts was the only way out.

We'd done that, and now things only look brighter for college/university futures. The state offered many options to help with payments in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, etc.

My girls knew college was going to be a struggle not only for them but for their mother also. So guess what they did? Novel as it might seem, they buckled down, got the grades needed to get the scholarships. My youngest got her Associate of Arts at Frederick Community College, took off a year to earn needed money and is now going to the Mount St. Mary's.

My oldest graduated from Salisbury State and is now a teacher and paying back college loans. Instead of opting for what they can't afford, they are both still living at home and taking care of necessities, not whining about what they can't have. Well, maybe, there is a whine once in a while, but I just ignore it most of the time.

Once they have a handle on working, handling their finances and saving enough, they, too, will be able to buy a modest home and lead their independent lives. They learned at an early age that life is not fair and we aren't "Entitled to Squat." You want something, you earn it; and hard work and dedication are what are needed to improve your life.

So, unless we want to return to the Glendening way of government and end up in the hole again, please do your homework. Take a good hard look at what Baltimore City has to offer - or rather not offer now - and remember both when going to the polls. There will be little doubt and you'll stay the course with Governor Ehrlich and Secretary (Kristen) Cox and keep Maryland moving forward in a positive direction and Changing Maryland for the Better.

Please understand I don't speak from an isolation booth either, I'm out there everyday struggling to make ends meet, taking care of my family, my business and then also finding time to give back to my community.

I do this all by myself and I'm not saying it for sympathy (don't need it and don't want it); but rather to let you know it can be done and anyone can do it, if the desire is there. I've never felt I was owed anything, but I do want to keep what I earn and that is why and where my desire to have Governor Ehrlich and Secretary Cox in office to protect what I've earned.

Joan McIntyre Monrovia


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