Don’t believe myths about Montgomery County charter
People are saying a lot of things about the [Montgomery County charter] that just aren't true.
Let's dispel some myths:
Myth 1: The charter will add another layer of government. False. We already have a layer of government at the county, it's called the county government. Actually, the charter will reduce its size from 15 legislators and executives to nine legislators and one executive.
Myth 2: The county executive will be a 'dictator.' False. The county executive was designed to be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the county. He has all the powers he needs to do that, no more, no less. There are numerous checks on the power of the executive in the charter to ensure that major policy, budgeting and personal decisions go through the Legislature. I've read all 21 state county charters, and I can tell you that powers the executive has are standard.
Myth 3: My town or city government will change. False. You will continue to elect your town and city government officials, with no changes. The charter only affects the workings of county government.
Myth 4: The charter will cost the county more money. False. Many of the opponents of the charter are claiming it will make your taxes go up. That is a scare tactic. Think about it: If you wanted to torpedo something in Montgomery County, you would say the same thing.
A major concern of the charter commission was the cost of government. We designed a system that will maximize efficiency, minimize waste and reward fiscal responsibility. For the first time, we will have someone we elect at the county every day watching your tax dollars.
I'm confident that government will cost no more under the charter, and will ultimately cost less.
For more myths and answers about the charter, visit www.montgomerycountycharter.com.
Let environmental concerns guide your vote
Climate refugees are growing, and the relatively small number of coastal and island people so vulnerable to flooding will someday include many of us.
With the ongoing destruction of forests and habitats crucial not only for wildlife but our own human future, and the steady climb in heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere, I see the big choice in the presidential and congressional elections as: Who seems most aware of our environmental and energy choices, and is willing to push us and the world toward a more sustainable path that also happens to be in our national economic and security interests?
[President] Barack Obama and Rep. Paul Tonko have made the conceptual connections between our atmosphere, our environment, our economy and our national security. Obama’s determined efforts to increase our automobile mileage standard is just one example.
Mitt Romney seems unconversant with science at all and can’t even acknowledge the broad scientific consensus on what is driving climate change. These issues are inextricably bound together.
Vote for what is in your and your children’s environmental and national security interests.
Health account benefit cut in half by Obamacare
I wonder how many Obama supporters are aware of a change coming their way in January — conveniently after the election, of course.
To help pay for his Obamacare, flexible spending accounts, which are used to pay for medical expenses on a pre-tax basis, will be limited to $2,500 per year starting in 2013. There was previously no federal limit on these accounts. What does that mean for those of us who take advantage of them?
If your employer previously allowed you to defer $5,000, you will now be paying an estimated additional $875 in income taxes ($2,500 at a 35 percent federal/state tax rate).
Who does this affect most? Those with the greatest needs — chronic illness, children with special needs, etc.
And Obama claims to be for the middle class? Don’t believe it.
Electoral College critics are right: it’s got to go
Bravo to The Daily Gazette for publishing the Oct. 12 letter, "Electoral College subverts voters' intent," and a related column on Oct. 23 by George Will. This topic seems ripe for debate.
Both had floated the idea that voters are fully capable of electing their own president. The writers pointed to serious flaws when the Electoral College does it for us.
The 2000 contest, for example, showed how the Electoral College can override a solid majority of U.S. voters. That outcome epitomized unfairness, and left the voting public bitterly divided. Yet, college rules would allow a similar travesty every four years. Will and Pete Pidgeon, the local letter writer, both suggested that lawmakers should abolish the Electoral College and establish a new system of direct voting. I agree: Let the people themselves decide, free of this archaic institution's final rulings.
Take it from Christie: Obama’s a friend
Re Oct. 30 AP article, “Obama diverts from politics to oversee disaster response”: President Obama’s swift management of emergency aid to areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy has received high praise from an unlikely source — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
In the aftermath of the hurricane’s destruction, Christie has given the president a lot of credit where credit is due. Heretofore, Christie had never shied away from being one of Obama’s sharpest critics.
Compare Gov. Christie’s newly found appreciation for the federal government’s role in providing New Jersey with disaster relief to that of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who sought, and received, financial aid from the Obama administration following the massive 2010 BP oil spill that profoundly impacted the Gulf.
The striking difference is that while Jindal accepted the funds for Louisiana, to this day he disparages both the federal government and the president.
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