Cam­paign fi­nance re­form aids fe­male can­di­dates

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NATION & WORLD -

Res­i­dents of Bal­ti­more, as well as many of the city’s law­mak­ers, have ex­pressed sup­port in re­cent weeks for the Fair Elec­tion Fund. On Tues­day, Nov. 5, a Bal­ti­more City Coun­cil com­mit­tee unan­i­mously voted to ap­prove the bill (“Bal­ti­more City coun­cil should swiftly en­act Fair Elec­tion Fund,” Nov. 4). The reper­cus­sions of this bill are pos­i­tive in sev­eral re­gards — es­pe­cially for women.

Re­cent schol­ar­ship has sug­gested that women have a tougher time get­ting do­na­tions for their cam­paigns than men and that women tend to rely heav­ily on small do­na­tions. How­ever, with the Fair Elec­tion Fund, small do­na­tions will have power. By match­ing said small do­na­tions via a public fund, the Fair Elec­tion Fund en­cour­ages more par­tic­i­pa­tion since vot­ers will feel con­fi­dent that their do­na­tions can fi­nally im­pact lo­cal cam­paigns. This will both em­power lower in­come vot­ers and limit the in­flu­ence of the wealth­i­est donors.

Be­cause the Fair Elec­tion Fund’s match­ing pro­gram helps keep all can­di­dates com­pet­i­tive re­gard­less of whether or not they can rally large donors, fe­male can­di­dates will be em­bold­ened and equally able to keep up with their com­peti­tors. This can lead to an in­crease in fe­male voter par­tic­i­pa­tion and an over­all more eq­ui­table rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women in Bal­ti­more. We need to en­cour­age the par­tic­i­pa­tion of ev­ery­one in the demo­cratic process — es­pe­cially those voices that tend to get left out. By do­ing so, we will be ful­fill­ing the pur­pose of democ­racy and ul­ti­mately cre­at­ing a more ef­fi­cient govern­ment for Bal­ti­more that could end up set­ting prece­dents for sim­i­lar sys­tems across the na­tion.

The Sun bi­ased in cov­er­age of Kir­wan Com­mis­sion

Luke Broad­wa­ter’s opin­ion piece (“Larry Ho­gan is us­ing an old play­book to at­tack a plan to trans­form Mary­land schools. What does he hope to gain?” Nov. 8) placed on the front page of to­day’s “news”pa­per is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of the lib­eral mind­set which is rooted in the no­tion that if we (lib­er­als) can think it, dream it, say it, write it, pub­lish it and most of all leg­is­late it, then by God, it must be.

The “it” this time is the Kir­wan Com­mis­sion ini­tia­tive, which if en­acted and funded, is sup­posed “to trans­form Mary­land’s public schools into a world class sys­tem.” Af­ter the “Thornton Plan,” “No Child Left Be­hind,” “Race to the Top,” we still get sto­ries on the front page of The Sun about de­clin­ing read­ing scores. It seems we con­stantly spend more and get less.

North Point park­land should be pre­served

As a reg­u­lar Bal­ti­more Sun reader, I found re­porter Wil­born P. No­bles III’s ar­ti­cle (“Ol­szewski en­cour­ages talks,” Oct. 14) en­light­en­ing and Chas Scheidt’s re­spon­sive let­ter to the edi­tor (“Real story about sale of North Point is elim­i­na­tion of green space,” Oct. 24) thought pro­vok­ing. In to­day’s po­lit­i­cal cli­mate it is some­what re­fresh­ing to note an ar­ti­cle that isn’t driven by a po­lit­i­cal agenda, but rather opts to dis­cuss an is­sue in which ev­ery­one has “skin in the game” — our open space and en­vi­ron­ment.

I am not a woke per­son and cer­tainly do not have a mo­nop­oly on wis­dom. Nev­er­the­less, I can­not un­der­stand why the no­tion of sell­ing open space des­ig­nated as a Bal­ti­more County park is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion at all. Doesn’t the state’s Pro­gram Open Space ex­ist for the main pur­pose of ac­quir­ing ad­di­tional open space and not sell­ing off park­land that we cur­rently own? The sale of even a blade of open space grass seems coun­ter­pro­duc­tive.

Have not the cit­i­zens of Bal­ti­more County ex­pressed con­tin­ued strong sup­port for the value of open space in recre­ation and parks bond ref­er­en­dums ev­ery elec­tion cy­cle? Are these voices be­ing heard or dis­re­garded? Aren’t we en­cour­aged ev­ery year to vol­un­tar­ily con­trib­ute to the ac­qui­si­tion of lo­cal open space when pay­ing our prop­erty taxes? Does any­one dis­agree that open space park­land is a vi­tal piece of the en­vi­ron­men­tal puz­zle?

The many open space park gems we have in our county such as Ore­gon Ridge Park, Cromwell Val­ley Park and Honeygo Park to name a few, ar­guably could have pre­sented ex­cel­lent res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties for an en­ter­pris­ing de­vel­oper. For­tu­nately, our county and its cit­i­zens had their pri­or­i­ties in or­der and chose to value the en­vi­ron­ment over the dol­lar. Hope­fully, things have not changed! North Point Govern­ment Cen­ter Park in Dun­dalk should not be for sale.

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