Pes­ti­cide ban shows the peril of one-party gov­er­nance

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - 3Join the de­bate at wash­ing­ton­post. com/ localop­in­ions Thomas Mur­phy, Rockville

The ban on the use of pes­ti­cides on pri­vate lawns by the Mont­gomery County Coun­cil is an un­war­ranted in­tru­sion on pri­vate prop­erty rights and an un­nec­es­sary du­pli­ca­tion of ex­ist­ing fed­eral and state reg­u­la­tions [“Mont­gomery bans cos­metic pes­ti­cides on lawns,” Metro, Oct. 7]. The ban pro­vides no clearly de­fined public health ben­e­fits be­yond those al­ready pro­vided by ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions, so it is lit­tle more than po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing by its sup­port­ers on the nine-mem­ber, all-Demo­cratic coun­cil.

Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Ge­orge L. Leven­thal (D-At Large), the lead spon­sor of the bill, made it plain at public hear­ings and work ses­sions that he had reached his de­ci­sion on the mea­sure the day he in­tro­duced it. Con­flict­ing tes­ti­mony, in­clud­ing ex­pert tes­ti­mony dis­put­ing the need for the law and its al­leged ben­e­fits, was gen­er­ally ig­nored. The pre­dictable re­sult was bad leg­is­la­tion based on per­sonal phi­los­o­phy and opin­ion rather than facts.

Coun­cil mem­ber Roger Ber­liner (D-Po­tomacBethesda), one of only three coun­cil mem­bers op­pos­ing the bill, pre­dicted that the coun­cil’s ac­tion would re­sult in a back­lash. I hope he is cor­rect. And although I am a reg­is­tered Demo­crat, I hope the back­lash will mo­ti­vate Mont­gomery County’s Repub­li­cans to field some ca­pa­ble and cred­i­ble coun­cil can­di­dates in 2018. The history of this bill clearly il­lus­trates the per­ils of one-party gov­er­nance and demon­strates that it is time to re­store some bal­ance on the coun­cil.

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