My Response on the DPR Funding
By Delegate Mike McDermott
Some clarification is needed regarding the last minute funding of our local National Public Radio affiliate known as Delmarva Public Radio. In his letter, Mr. Pretl stated the following: “ Delegate Mike McDermott betrays an insensitivity toward the highest ideals of participatory democracy — the system which recently put him in office.” I beg to differ.
The high ideals of such a democracy (expressed through our representative republican form of government) begin at the ballot box with a free and fair election. Those elected go to Annapolis to represent the people in our district to the best of their ability. We participate in and conduct bill hearings where we hear from the people regarding proposed legislation, including budgetary items and proposed bond bills.
Would Pretl or others be offended if money was appropriated on the whim of one delegate without any regard to a “participatory democracy”? Well, such was the case with the million dollars provided to DPR. There was no public hearing. There was no request made by the other delegation members. This appropriation merely appeared as a tack on amendment to the budget bill at the ninth hour of session. Last year, the hundred million dollar plus library project was done in similar fashion. If this does not sound like much participation to you, then we are on the same page.
Whether or not DPR receives tax payer money should be the subject of bill hearings and review through the full committee process where it can be vetted accordingly. This is in keeping with the concept and traditions of a “participatory democracy”. The way this money was appropriated was not the subject of any regular channels or participatory process. It was a back room deal.
I made no argument for the need of publicly funded radio (though it could certainly be debated), and I take no issue with a bond bill being requested by a delegate requiring the people of Maryland to provide a million dollars in tax money to support DPR. However, I do take issue with the process by which money like this is “appropriated”. All Marylanders should.
As Pretl stated regarding Delegate Conway, “Once again he has ‘brought home the bacon’”. Well, that “bacon” comes at a price. It increases our state debt and is part of the reason Gov. O’Malley and the democrats have increased our state spending by 29% during this recession. Our taxes continue to rise to pay for this pork.
Are selective new buildings and higher taxes the symbol of “success” in Annapolis? I will continue to be a voice for the people who desire an open government and have had enough of the tax and spend mentality which has controlled Maryland for far too long.
Marylanders, take back your state.