All testimony and proceedings related to the state-mandated Police Accountability Board are over. The county council made its decision and passed a bill that largely ignores the requests, concerns and testimonies of many county residents. The result is something akin to an advisory board with no investigative powers, no authority, and no teeth.
By the end of this parody, some of the council members and police officers who were present at these meetings seemed very pleased with themselves. They had ignored, ignored and rejected dozens of amendments suggested by the Anne Arundel Police Accountability Coalition. To reach the legislative conclusion they made, the council had to ignore the painful memories of many county residents who testified to the mistreatment they suffered at the hands of our police. While I would concede that this abuse of authority “under the guise of law” is probably not rampant, they nevertheless chose to ignore this testimony and these recommendations at our peril.
There may not yet have been a widely recognized event or tragedy in Anne Arundel County that has garnered enough attention to compel the necessary changes. However, I submit that over time, based on the comments of those who testified, such an incident or incidents will eventually occur. Then we’ll find ourselves scrambling to catch up with what we should have been doing all along – giving the Anne Arundel County Board of Accountability the authority and oversight, after the fact, that state lawmakers intended when they passed the bill last year. Proverbs 16:18 in the Bible says, “Pride comes before destruction and pride comes before a fall.” While politicians and police may be content to have won a Pyrrhic victory (a at too high a cost to have been worth the winner), I don’t think it will stand the test of time.
In the meantime, the community will always be watched over by people, most of whom want to do the job the right way and engage with residents and visitors to our county fairly and with respect. Bad actors, however numerous, may feel emboldened that there will still not be the level of transparency and accountability required to protect the police who are doing their job properly and the members of the community who have been victimized when done in an inappropriate, abusive and criminal manner.
Unfortunately, I believe the tone-deaf and arrogant response from those in power will come back to bite us. No matter how well our police perform, by some objective measures, the biggest margin in the world is the “room for improvement”.
Reverend Stephen Tillett, Annapolis
Tillett is pastor of Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church in Annapolis.
I called the County Roads Department several times this spring regarding the condition of Shore Acres Road from College Parkway to the Magothy River. You take control of your life by dodging dresser-sized potholes. The road surface between the traffic barriers also splits and makes travel dangerous. All I get from the roads department is, ‘We’ll meet them and the supervisor will contact you.’ We all pay a lot of taxes to maintain our roads. Also, haven’t states received funds for bridges and roads? If the supervisor running the central district can’t do his job, maybe we need someone who can.
Carl Lazar Arnold
As we celebrate International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, this week, we recognize the workers here and around the world who build the critical infrastructure around us.
Yet the workers who build the roads we travel, the bridges we cross, and the pipelines that supply the energy we consume often work without the protections many of us take for granted: a living wage, a place to secure work, health insurance and secure retirement.
In a few months, Marylanders will go to the polls in a primary election to select candidates for the November 8 gubernatorial race. Now is the perfect time to contemplate which of these candidates will put worker protection at the top of the agenda.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has pledged to create 100,000 family jobs in his first four months in office through investments in key infrastructure projects, the creation of a job training program in statewide and providing better government services to small businesses. In this commitment, however, lies its most important promise of all: its commitment to work with employers and unions to ensure that everyone benefits. Franchot’s support of Project Labor Agreements and Community Benefit Agreements will lay the foundation for infrastructure projects that will benefit Maryland workers, contractors, businesses and communities.
Working with organized labor to ensure good wages, medical coverage and a secure retirement is the best way to celebrate the workers who built our state. Let us recommit to building a healthy economy with the well-being of all Marylanders at its heart.
Meighan is the Deputy Regional Director for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Workers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA-MA) and a resident of Anne Arundel County.
I am writing in response to Brian Griffiths’ commentary on the recent legislative session, particularly his comments on HB 937, the Abortion Care Access Act. I am a retired Certified Nurse Midwife who has provided health care to women in Baltimore City and Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties for over a decade. Many women have come to their first antenatal care appointment late in the second or early third trimester, saying they wanted to terminate the pregnancy when they found out they were pregnant within 12 first few weeks, but that they did not have the means to do so. This bill removes financial barriers that would limit access to abortion care for those who have either Medicaid or state-regulated private insurance. This is a positive step from the perspective of women who seek this care and their providers, regardless of the opinion of Mr. Griffiths, who will never have to make this decision for himself.
As for Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto, Mr. Griffiths appears to have deliberately misrepresented his words. Gov. Hogan says giving non-physician health care providers the power to perform abortions “lowers the standard of care,” not that it “endangers women’s lives.” On the contrary, the bill removed an outdated prohibition, but the bill made it very clear that these practitioners are still only allowed to provide care within their scope of practice. It also provides $3.5 million for clinical training in abortion care, both medical and procedural. Physicians are also eligible to take this training; many say they had little or no opportunity to gain clinical experience in abortion care during their residency.
I urge readers of the Capital Gazette to familiarize themselves with the contents of the bill and not to trust the misinformation and hyperbole presented by Mr. Griffiths.
Catherine M. Salam, Annapolis
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every business in the country in one way or another. But few sectors have been hit harder or face a longer road to recovery than the travel agency industry. And yet government restrictions, such as inbound testing rules, are further delaying the recovery of our industry and creating barriers for travelers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s inbound test order is the biggest obstacle to fully restoring the international travel system. This rule, in place since January 2021, requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country, regardless of their vaccination status.
I am an avid traveler and want to spend my money on US-based travel agencies, but this incoming test requirement is stopping me. Simply put, my fears and risks range from uncertainty about the availability of overseas testing to the financial and psychological burdens associated with being prevented from returning home due to a positive (or false) result. positive).
If the government is unable to provide increased funding to hard-hit businesses like travel agencies, at the very least exempting vaccinated travelers from this rule would help their businesses begin to recover from the devastation of COVID- 19.
My message to elected officials in Congress is simple: When it comes to travel planning, we need consistency and certainty. The solution is within reach – exempting fully immunized US travelers from the testing requirement on arrival.
Marisa Willman, Laurel