Thursday, May 12, 2005

This Is Why I Vote No on Vague Ballot Questions

In October, I gave my endorsements on Prince Georges County ballot questions. I said,
Questions A-E are for approving bonds allowing the county to borrow money for roads, libraries, public safety, county buildings and community colleges. The League of Women Voters directs me to a web site where I can look up the text of these bills. Unfortunately, the text just gives a list of projects and refers me to the county "capital program" for details. I can't find the county capital program on-line. They're making this too difficult. In general, I'm going to vote no. But the roads need help, and I find it hard to believe that libraries can't use the money, so yes on A & B, no on C, D & E.

Hmm, "county buildings", what could that be for? After reading an article in today's Post, I have a guess.
The council plans to spend about $1 million to renovate members' offices and staff workspace. And $177,400 has been earmarked for replacing a county car and five sport-utility vehicles assigned to council members.

Now I don't know that this is the same bucket of money. It certainly seems like the cars wouldn't come out of "county buildings" money. And maybe these building expenditures are needed. But given the way they spend the money on cars, I'm not too confident.
According to the plan, the council expects to replace a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer with 56,281 miles; a 2002 Chevy Impala with 53,244 miles; two 2003 Chevy TrailBlazers, one with 61,172 miles and the other with 55,162 miles; and two 2003 Ford Explorers, one with 45,692 miles and one with 53,244 miles.
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