Thursday, January 15, 2015

April 30, 1998: Baltimore Sun - Charter battle grows fiercer Backers say foes use false information, destroy lawn signs

[October 12, 2005 update and note: I worked on a charter government initiative in 1967 and the 1992 effort… A government and Maryland Constitution geek, I’ve written about the various forms of government numerous times.

On October 12, 2005 I filed a story with the Baltimore Sun, ttp://, “Many forms of government in Carroll’s history,” in which I wrote, “In 1968, the voters of Carroll County rejected both charter government and code home rule. In 1984, code home rule was defeated. In 1992 charter government was defeated at the ballot box. In 1998 the voters rejected a referendum to increase the Board of Commissioners to five at-large members and rejected a charter form of government. 

January 15, 2015 update - I do not remember why I posted this story by mu colleague Mary Gail Hare, except perhaps because it illustrated some of the acrimony and hostility about the issue in Carroll County.

The subject has once again resurfaces as Frederick County began its great experiment with a county executive charter form of government last fall…]

April 30, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare, SUN STAFF

In the waning days of the campaign to change Carroll County's government to an executive and county council, the rhetoric and tactics to keep three commissioners in power are getting harsher.

Charter opponents are "disseminating false information inserted illegally into newspapers" and destroying campaign signs, charter supporter Susan Krebs of Eldersburg charged.

Citizens Against Big Charter Government printed about 7,000 fliers listing five reasons to vote against charter. Charter supporters say there are several errors in the flier printed in bold letters on both sides of the paper.

The fliers say charter will levy taxes on personal property; give unchecked powers to officials; and allow developers to control government. It also will be nearly impossible to revoke, the flier said.

"These tactics are playing on people's fears, and they are all the opponents have," New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. said. "They have no facts to back up their statements."


Lloyd R. Helt, treasurer for the Carroll County Citizens for Charter Government, called the fliers "a big exercise in deception. The opponents' whole campaign is based on deception."


"Our signs are so scarce, they are becoming collectors' items," said Stephen Nevin, chairman of the pro-charter group.

Charter opponents spent more than $800 on a sign campaign and have had no reports of theft, said Reter, who also remarked on the scarcity of pro-charter signs.

"I have only seen five of their signs all over the county," Reter said. "Maybe they are still in the back of somebody's car."

Reter and Carmen Amedori, a member of the anti-charter group, said they are certain no one in their organization is responsible for the lost signs.

"It is probably environmental zealots who don't want signs," Amedori said. "I would swear no one from our group is doing it."


Roberta Windham, also an Eldersburg charter supporter, has lost several signs to vandals.


"It is not Republicans vs. Democrats or conservatives against liberals," he said. "It boils down to the ins vs. the outs. The ins will do anything to stay in power."

People will have to gather the facts and make an informed decision, Helt said.

"The government we have now is colonial," Helt said. "Charter is the most common form of self-government."


Eagle Archive: History of government in Carroll County is one of change and debate

Throughout Carroll County's history, many issues have caused deep divisions among voters. Recently we recalled the stark differences of opinion between the German and English speakers in the October 1833 referendum over whether or not to form Carroll County.

As a matter of fact, it was after that election that Manchester fired the town cannon at Westminster to emphasize how they felt about the disagreement.

But divisions of opinion certainly aren't accentuated only in history. The decision last Nov. 6 by Frederick County voters, to go to a charter form of government, has kept local political junkies preoccupied ever since the election results were announced.

The ballot issue last fall was contentious in Frederick County. In Carroll County, even the preliminary discussions over such a change here have already had a polarizing affect.

There's no word yet as to whether or not any cannon fire will figure into the upcoming discussions, but I suppose we can't rule out the possibility of a few character assassinations.

According to numerous media accounts, including that of Ryan Marshall in the Frederick County Gazette on Nov. 7 …,0,2118722.story


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