Sorrow For Nixon's Ordeal

Readers write

July 14, 1991

From: Charles Feaga

County Council member

District 5

Open letter to Randall Nixon, a member of the RuralLand Use Study Commission:

After reading in The Howard County Sun("Citizens demand more talk about land-use study," by James M. Coram, June 30) about the cowardly message you received on the phone, I can't help but feel responsible for the pain and anguish this incident has caused your family and friends.

According to the Sun, the messages you received were "filled with racial epithets and obscenities,"as well as statements such as, "I'm going to get you," and "I'm going to blow up your barn."

When the council decided to appoint a commission to study clustering options for the western part of Howard County, I was fortunate to be able to recommend you and two other residents of the west, all of whom have an interest in preserving the quality of life we love.

You were chosen because you and your family have lived in the county for a long time and have taken an active interest in county affairs.

Because of your law and business background, I felt that you were superbly equipped to fairly evaluate the options to determine which would work and which would not.

During the General Plan process, I opposed mandatory clustering of homes in the west, while at the same time, I realized that optional clustering as a concept could be used both to preserve land for agricultural purposes and to aside timberland.

The commission was directed to study options for clustering, such as the creation of villages and hamlets.

Retaining 3-acre zoning was not an issue under study since the decision for clustering was made by the four council members who voted to support the General Plan -- none of whom live in the west.

I hope the citizens of our county realize that only two or three people caused the near-riot conditions at the June 5 hearing through the distribution of leaflets that were misleading and inflammatory.

Literature stuffed in mailboxes does not always reflect the truth and shouldalways be questioned.

I believe that most of the people in the west are reasonable people who would not be misled by the few zealots and their crusade.

Howard County will not develop as Montgomery or Fairfax counties have, as some suggest, because we take the time to study the successes and mistakes of other jurisdictions through commissions such as the one on which you are serving.

Thank you for serving the community and lending your common sense and intelligence to the process.

I am sorry that your public service has put you and your family in jeopardy.

THANKS FOR FOREST BILL

From: James B. Kraft

Chairman

Democratic Forum

Open letter to C. Vernon Gray:

The Democratic Forum Inc. congratulates you and the County Council for the introduction and passage of the rain forest bill.

We believe this is a visible sign of concern about the depletion of the world's rain forests and hope that actions such as yours will help slow themove toward global warming as well as help to stop the extinction ofcertain marine and wild life.

We hope that you will take this legislation with you to the National Association of Counties and requestthat they join in your action.

Once again, congratulations on theadoption of this important piece of legislation.

PARABLES FROM NATURE

From: James Holway

Ellicott City

We have guest robins: a pair that have built a nest on our garage window ledge. First, we had four robin's-egg blue eggs to monitor, and now we have four struggling chicks to monitor.

They really look like they are suffering fromhaving the nest in The Morning Sun.

Whoever said, "It's for the birds," and why? I think they have it pretty good.

No diapers to wash and dry, or to throw away if there is a store available. There is no hawk that flies up and announces that there must be an abortion, and there are no wrens with signs parading back and forth demanding right to life.

This little family makes all its own decisions just like it always did.

There aren't even any blue jays from the council demanding higher rents or announcing rezoning to make room for morechickadees, since the council voted to strip the chickadees' former home site to provide more open space for the wild turkeys and pheasant.

In a couple of weeks the lessons start, and in no time at all the parents will bid the kids goodbye and they are on their own.

Mom and dad are now free of the children, until they decide whether they can afford to have another family in Howard County, or whether theymust move on and find new surroundings. There are no colleges or trade schools to visit or make payments to. The birds really have it pretty good.

Now if the robins were people, we might see a different twist, and the story might read: A pigeon just arrived this week withthe new tax bill, and it is due in less than 30 days or the blue jays will auction off their old nest.

One can imagine how the story might continue from there.

The birds have a saying: "It's for the people."

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