Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

February 19, 2013

Delegation should stand up for the people

It’s time for you to abide by your inherent elected obligation to protect the rights of the citizens whom you are supposed to represent. Without your help, the citizens are left with absolutely no recourse to amend the wrongs that have been inflicted upon them and their communities with the unwanted closing of their schools.

This is not the way of our democratic way of life or our American way of life. It’s time to put the requested straw ballot legislation on community schools into the hopper and let us see what the citizens say.

We have grown tired of your past excuses that you will do nothing unless the school board and the county commissioners will support it. The numbers are on the side of the citizens which represent hundreds, if not thousands, that have had their wishes and desires ignored.

Who do you truly represent; only the school board and the county commissioners, or are you in Annapolis to represent the people? If you fail to represent the citizens above and beyond what the school board and the county commissioners may say, then perhaps it’s time for the citizens to seek others who will truly represent them in the next election.

As I stated to the school board in a recent letter, and the same is true for you: “You will do one of two things — either decided to stand up for the rights of the citizens and parents by supporting the straw poll on community schools and assessing the public’s opinion, or you will resist the straw poll, which will clearly prove that your desire to maintain the school board’s, county commissioners’ and your monopoly and totalitarian control of the people.”

Refusing to support and act on the straw poll would be taking the position of denying the rights of the citizens and would be yet another sad day for the citizens of Allegany County.

Our citizens have suffered far too many injustices and outright lies pursuant to the unwanted closing of their schools. It’s time now to allow the citizens to exercise their rights, and have input into the education of their children that our democracy is supposed to provide.

Of paramount importance above all other questions or concerns the school board, county commissioners or you may have about the straw poll, the issue that is involved here is the fundamental principles of democracy.

Do the citizens have a constitutional right to participate in the operation of their government, and do they have a right to help control their destiny by making their wishes known to their elected officials? The clear answer is yes.

The next question is, do the citizens and parents have the same constitutional right to have a say in the education of their children? Obviously, once again the clear answer is yes.

However, no one can deny that for over 25 years our county has suffered tremendous controversy, as the citizens have been totally denied these rights.

Our elected representatives stood by and did nothing to protect the citizens’ rights and wishes, as they allowed the school board to repeatedly trample on the democratic rights of the people, and ignore their known wishes about retaining their community schools.

When I was serving in the “Green Berets,” I once had a commander who used a slogan which stated, “Do something — either lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.”

I strongly suggest to you that if you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for the rights and desires of your constituents, then it is time for you to get “out of the way,” and it is time for the citizens to remember that in the next election.

Thomas R. Marsh

Spokesman for Taxpayers Alliance for Fair and Honest Government

Westernport

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