Vol. 10, No. 38

September 19-25, 2002

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Our General Advice after The Primary Campaign

We congratulate the winners in Maryland’s primary election, and we thank the losers for tossing themselves and their ideas into the public arena and for bringing more of us into the process.

One of the great things about the early stage of election season is that there’s a candidate for every point of view. So we hope that the first in the path leading to the November 5 election brings winners and losers together.

We’ve seen just that happening. On Election Night, Bill Rinehart, the victor in the race for Anne Arundel County Council District 7, carried an olive branch to the Harwood home of Peter Perry, whom he was even then defeating. Democrats have staged “kiss and make up” rallies.

These reconciliations are good for the voters, for they serve to guarantee that the 12 to 49 percent of their party’s most loyal voters don’t lose across the board when their candidates fail.

Our second hope is that candidates in Chesapeake Country remember where they live. In this wonderful and fragile region, each of us must be an advocate for our lands and waters. And we must demand environmental advocacy from our leaders.

In last week’s Bay Weekly Interview, Department of Natural Resources chief Chuck Fox presented a sobering prognosis, saying that to restore the Bay we must work harder in the next five years than we have in the previous 15.

As for the land, Maryland’s rural land is disappearing faster than any state’s in our region, with subdivisions of ranchettes and mansionettes sprouting like zucchinis in a rainy year.

Where are these building permits coming from? Even candidates with abysmal environmental records are paying lip service to growth management.

If Smart Growth doesn’t shift from slogan to guiding rule, we could be the last generation that wrestles with development. For we will have completed the suburbanization of southern Maryland.

It’s up to us as voters to give candidates this message now, while they’re listening. Go to the breakfasts, the forums and the debates. Don’t be satisfied with newspapers — even ours — and television where, though you can hear their voice, they can’t hear yours.

Tell them that unless we give up the 19th century notion that all land is ours to master, we will have built our children and grandchildren out of Chesapeake Country.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly