Letters to the Editor

Volume VI Number 35
September 3-6, 1998

Look Before You Vote

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

Your recent editorial encouraging voters to "get their heads out of the sand" (July 30-Aug. 5) and pay attention to the candidates and their issues is both timely and wise advice. Too often, voters wait until the last minute to determine for which candidates they will vote. Sometimes the decision turns on a name that is recognized and other times on advice from a friend. Only a small number will listen to the candidates' issues or attend candidate forums or debates. Such tendencies are unfortunate because, as you point out, decisions our elected officials make affect us every day of our lives.

This year, there are plenty of issues that require our attention: education, ethics, bringing quality jobs to Maryland, taxes, helping small business, gambling, growth and dumping dredged sludge in the Bay off Anne Arundel County. While all of these are important to me, at least one should strike a chord in everyone's soul.

As a candidate for the Senate of Maryland, my views on most of these issues are located on my web page (www.erols.com/sturgell). You can also send me an e-mail ([email protected]). Give me a call (410/257-2992) or stop at the Happy Harbor Inn in Deale and ask for my mom. She's sure to give you an earful.

-Robert A. 'Bobby' Sturgell, Owings

Vote Your Values

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

This May, the Calvert County Commissioners set two dangerous precedents. By a four-to-one vote (Linda Kelley opposed) they supported development of the proposed Chesapeake Plaza shopping center in Owings by approving public sewer.

This permits major commercial development outside a town center, in direct violation of the County Master Plan. It also approves the destruction and paving-over of some 8,000 square feet of high-value Chesapeake Bay watershed wetlands and floodplains.

Commissioners Mister, Buehler, Krug and Frazer voted their approval without consulting the county government's Environmental Commission about possible environmental damage. When the Commission's strong opposition to the project came to light, they refused to reconsider or hold new public hearings.

To make matters worse, last month Maryland Department of the Environment determined that the wetlands were even larger than the developer's site plans originally showed. Environmental consequences of Chesapeake Plaza would be even greater.

To their credit, County Planning and Zoning informed the developer that construction requiring the destruction of environmentally sensitive wetlands and floodplains is illegal under county ordinances.

Unfortunately, at an August 13 Zoning Board appeals hearing, the developer's lawyers attempted to find loopholes in the county ordinance. This led the Appeals Board to defer their decision until their meeting September 3.

I encourage anyone who cares about Calvert's rural legacy to join me in opposing Chesapeake Plaza.

Please write to Commissioners Mister, Buehler, Krug and Frazer, asking them to formally reopen public hearings based on the new environmental impact information.

Question them closely during their re-election campaign about their claims to support the environment and responsible growth. If they take no action to reverse their decision, please vote against them in November.

-David S. Bury, Owings

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