Letters to the Editor

Volume VII Number 28
July 15-21 1999

The Federal Angle on Chesapeake Invasions

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

I must respond to your editorial [July 1-7], "Wal-Mart, Foreign Crabs Threaten Chesapeake Culture."

It isn't only the consumers that say Wal-Mart-like invasions are okay. The whole other side of the transaction is public officials. Do they make their decisions about zoning, tax credits, etc. based on what the public wants? Or are campaign cash and political favors the determining factors?

Stuck in committee in the US House is the Shays-Meehan bill, which could be an important step forward in cleaning up the corrupt political money-chase at the federal level. It is stuck in committee because the House leadership knows that if it gets to the floor for a vote, it will pass with a significant majority - as it did last year. The only hope for this legislation is if enough House members sign a discharge petition that forces a vote.

What does this have to do with the Chesapeake?

The reality with attempts to help the Chesapeake Bay is the money that permeates politics at both the state and federal level. Special interests, whether they be peddling low-cost goods or foreign crabmeat, affect the day-to-day decisions that determine whether the Bay will survive or not. A likely case in point is Congressman Wayne Gilchrest's environmental legislation pending in Congress.

If Mr. Gilchrest signs the discharge petition for the Shays-Meehan bill - and consequently goes against the House leadership - his legislation for the Bay may be threatened. Citizens deserve better than a choice between a corrupt political system and a healthy Bay. Mr. Gilchrest needs to sign the discharge petition and help change the system.

-Paul Rensted, Fairhaven
Common Cause/Maryland

Tread Lightly on the Land

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

I am writing to express my concern for the proposed development of 11 acres of agricultural land contiguous to the Owings area of Calvert County. I was glad to read the editorial [On AA-Calvert Border Regional Vision Needed, July 8-14] in New Bay Times~Weekly, which reports that the hearing on the zoning change to permit this development has been delayed.

I participated in the Owings Town Center planning process from its inception through presentation of the plans that will be reviewed by the Calvert County Planning Commission. The proposed Anne Arundel South County strip development is highly likely to have an adverse impact on a well thought-out, community-supported plan to foster commercial enterprises, housing and public services in an already developed rural population center.

Rather than consume irrecoverable agricultural lands with yet more uninspired strip shops, the Owings plan will use in-fill and revitalization to mature an area already earmarked for planned development.

Isn't this the same thoughtful, environmentally sound way the South County is supposed to be addressing its own sprawl problems? According to what I read in the New Bay Times~Weekly and other papers, Southern Anne Arundel County is looking for residents to participate in its rural planning process. Does yet another dislocated sprawl development fit into this planning?

I think not.

Calvert County is trying to learn from its development mistakes and avoid making others. There are several small communities close by this site in Southern Anne Arundel County that may welcome additional commercial ventures, enhanced shopping and services for their residents - and save precious, undeveloped lands for the future.

I challenge South County - and this developer - to think for the long-term and practice treading lightly upon the land.

-Susan Lauring Curley, North Beach

| Issue 28 |

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