From Ellen Rhudy
Since when has the Sunpapers offered free half-page advertising?
I didn't know your paper was so generous until Sept. 8, when I read the long communique from Donald Reuwer.
It was not in the form of a letter to the editor or an intercepted letter, but rather the form of a guest editorial. A guest editorial? Come on.
It was only a platform for Reuwer to hawk his snake-oil product, the ill-fated Waverly Woods. If that's not advertising, I don't know what is, so where's your money?
Which makes me wonder -- whom else is Mr. Reuwer getting freebies from? It bears investigation.
SELL ME ANOTHER THING
From: Martha L. Murphy
As I read Donald Reuwer's article on the virtues of the Waverly Woods project, I found myself thinking of titles of such books as "The Art of Selling Anything" and "The Power of Persuasion."
I get the feeling that Reuwer is tryingto use a sales technique or two of his own to convince us concerned citizens that the proposed project is something that we really need in this area, sort of like having a miniature Columbia just a hop and a skip away.
Reuwer seems to be saying, "Well, what do you guys want, a
planned community or an unplanned community?"
He doesn't mention the third option, which is the choice of having no major development at all by leaving the present 3-acre zoning restriction as itis.
Nothing against Columbia. It's a nice place, but my family chose to live in a more rural section of the county.
Call me old-fashioned, but I like the fact that my house is separated from the stores and offices by more than a tree-lined bike path.
Now, about thatlast point Reuwer mentions, where he claims there will be a reduction in automobile dependency in the community.
It sounds good at first, but it really just applies to the confines of the new proposed project itself.
There is no mention of the inevitable, tremendous increase in traffic on Route 99 and Marriottsville Road.
By doing some simple math I figure that if, as Reuwer states, one person out of each of the 937 families of the proposed households works in the proposed employment center where6,600 jobs would be available, that meansthat 5,663 people would still have to come from somewhere else to work there.
That's increased automobile dependency in my book!
This planned community does not harken back to my childhood.
I did walk to school and to other activities, but that was only out of necessity. It was also a time when parents could let their children walk alone even at night without fear.
Today, I would never allow my children to walk alone any farther than a block or so, and all the park-like settings and jogging paths you can construct would not relieve my fear for their safety.
When I pass though that rural area along Route 99 and Woodstock Road, I see the forests where wildlife make their home, rolling hills of farmland interspersed with houses, and in those things I see my childhood.
But when you look at that same area, Mr. Reuwer, you probably just see dollar signs.
Shortly after the GTW Development Group put on their dog-and-pony show for the residents of the Waverly Woods area in July, The Sun printed an editorial accusing the opponents of the proposed project of having a merely hysterical reaction to a worthy project.
The cry of "hysteria" from the editorial writers of The Sun is partly true, but, more importantly, it is partly false. It conceals more than to reveals and constitutes a failure to comprehend what is going on with these people in Howard County.
One can see in these rumblings of dissension more than just the blindreactions of threatened selfishness, though there is certainly some of that.
One can discern in them the elements of efforts to engagein true self-government, the desire to not only reclaim the ability to affect the future of their community, but to raise the level of political discourse to a higher level.
Many people want to put things in a perspective free from the debilitating influences of mere power politics.
People want to see something more meaningful emerge from this struggle with city (county) hall than merely making trades for higher property values, though that is the cynicism which underliesboth the development group's effort to buy off the local populace, as well as the editorial comments by The Sun.
Apparently, the moralvision of the editorial writer of The Sun is as cribbed and confinedas that of any developer, and the effort to brand the attempts of those residents to engage in meaningful self government mere "hysteria"will not alter the significance of their dissatisfaction.
How oneunderstands what is at stake in the commotion over the proposed Waverly Woods project is important in understanding what has happened to the efforts of Americans to engage in true self-government.
Some of our residents merely want others -- our self-styled "experts" and "officials" -- to decide for them how the affairs of government are tobe conducted.