Whenever someone asks me if I miss my old life in the private sector, I have a ready answer: Only every fourth Sunday, when Michele Dyson's "How I See It" column appears on the Close to Home page. Once a month, with my jaw clenched, I turn to the back of the Outlook section to see if she has struck again. Usually, she has.
In a little more than a year, Dyson has used her column to attack the proposed intercounty connector (ICC) a half a dozen times; for good measure, she usually works an ICC dig into pieces on unrelated subjects too.
The "How I See It" column was created by The Post's editors to provide a regular opinion forum on local issues. The column rotates among four writers -- one from either side of the political spectrum in Maryland and Virginia.
As Maryland's right-hand voice, though, Dyson has failed to represent the views of Free State GOPers, and, in fact, she rarely passes up an opportunity to needle her party's first governor in 36 years, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. On the rare occasions that she doesn't rail against the ICC, Dyson picks up the Democrats' bat and gives the governor a few whacks on slot machines or medical malpractice.
But crusading against the ICC is more than needling -- it's in-your-face antagonism. Building the ICC is the top transportation priority of the Ehrlich administration and is widely supported by Republicans in the D.C. area and statewide.
Dyson's anti-ICC crusade is particularly hurtful to me because I was the designated Maryland Republican "How I See It" columnist until I took a position at the Maryland Department of Transportation. Building the ICC is my top transportation priority too, and one of the major reasons I joined the Ehrlich administration in May.
My personal interest in building the ICC is profound. My husband, Fred, died on Feb. 14, 2002, when a 12-ton roll of steel flew off a truck rounding a curve on Route 108 in Sandy Spring and struck his car, killing him instantly.
Route 108 is one of just a handful of inadequate alternatives that motorists have when attempting to travel west toward Rockville, and Fred was one of dozens who have lost their lives on these dangerous commuter routes. He was just trying to get to work.
I wrote a single column on this subject for the Close to Home page. It was published, sadly and ironically, on what would have been Fred's 48th birthday -- March 3, 2002. While no one cares about the ICC more than I do, Maryland politics is such a target-rich environment that I never had trouble finding a new subject to write about.
The Post would better serve its Maryland readers by finding a writer who reflects the views of most members of the state's Republican minority -- at least once in a while. But until then, Dyson should find a new topic on which to opine because her repetition of the same tired arguments against the ICC isn't just inaccurate -- it's boring.
-- Carol A. Arscott
is assistant secretary for policy at the Maryland Department