Thanks to Don DeArmon for his Sept. 5 column [“Tension at City Hall? Fights over the county charter? Thank goodness!”] and to the editors for publishing it. I especially appreciate the writer’s attention to reviewing the County Charter, a document I was happily ignorant of until recently, when I discovered its role in actions taken, or not, by the county executive and council, and affecting all of us.
Along with my fellow county residents, I support the modest but needed changes to present charter language that would make the council’s existing but ambiguous, implicit oversight authority undeniable and explicit. Especially in areas where the executive — even one as dedicated and effective as Jan Gardner — may, for political or other reasons, be unwilling or unable to act. (It’s ironic and sad that some local conservatives blame her and council members for finally responding to mounting public pressure to require a measure of transparency and accountability in the sheriff’s office.) The commission, together with a knowledgeable group of concerned citizens, is doing the painstaking work required to review and evaluate the document, propose changes, and send them on to the council for their acceptance or rejection and referral to the voters for a final decision on their fate. Not a simple or easy task, but one that is crucial to realizing the aspirations detailed in the newly adopted Livable Frederick Master Plan, especially its Community section.
About the editors’ willingness to publish the somewhat critical views of Mr. DeArmon, and also of community members upset by what they interpret as the paper’s disrespect for “Frederick’s values, [which] the FNP used to support ... but now not so much,” I want to say, please keep practicing responsible journalism. Because although I too sometimes disagree with the editors’ apparent take on issues like climate change, weaknesses in the charter, and the FCSO/ICE/immigrant community relationship, I respect their commitment to airing the diverse ideas and values — the sometimes messy linen — of this increasingly diverse, self-questioning, and aspirational community.