Lawmakers Should

Respect the Law

I was as astonished as other Seat Pleasant residents were to read that our City Council president, Brian K. Shivers, had been arrested in Ocean City [Prince George's Notebook, July 7]. He was charged with driving an uninsured vehicle, with tags listed as stolen, on a suspended license.

The official city response has been one of silence, perhaps in the hopes that the story will blow over. However, something needs to be said. Silence implies acceptance, and disdain for the law is not acceptable in a public official. The fact that Mr. Shivers was arrested while attending the annual meeting of the state's elected officials adds statewide embarrassment to his irresponsibility.

The great irony is that City Council members are responsible for making the laws. How can a council president claim to be a lawmaker if he is a lawbreaker? Another irony is that Mr. Shivers is a teacher. Some example!

Seat Pleasant under its new mayoral leadership is now calling itself the City of Excellence. Perhaps this is more an aspiration than current truth, but the first requirement of any excellent city government is integrity. Integrity starts at the top. People judge cities by their elected officials. This incident shows that integrity is lacking. I spent 12 years on the City Council, seven as the council president. Being a leader means moving your city in a positive direction, not undermining its reputation.

I noted from one story that Mr. Shivers was driving a gold Mercedes. Maybe it's just me, but if you can afford the car, the registration and insurance can't be that expensive by comparison.

Bettie Jeter

Seat Pleasant