From: Robert H. McMurtrie
Greater Severn Improvement Association
The issue is too big for the County Council to decide. A member of the Councilmanic Redistricting Committee indicated in his news releases that the cost of two additional council seats would be $250,000.00.
Information has beenreceived that the cost for one council seat is $90,746.00. That includes benefits, pay and other expenses for the council and their aides. This is $68,508.00 less than estimated. This alone is misleading tothe public, and the amount of $250,000 for two council seats should be corrected.
Mr. (Robert D.) Agee, the chairman of the Councilmanic Redistricting Committee, stated in The Anne Arundel County Sun on Sunday, Sept. 21, 1991 ("Redistricting committee drops plan for 9 council seats"), that he favors nine councilmanic districts. Mr. Agee has collected statistics showing that in other counties, council members who represent more than 61,000 people receive higher pay and have more staff members than Anne Arundel council members.
There is no doubt that a councilman in Anne Arundel County can handle 61,000 people if he works a 40-hour week and puts in a lot of overtime, but sincethe council is only part-time, and most council people have another job, it seems physically impossible to serve a base of 61,000 constituents properly.
This issue is far too important for council peoplealone to decide. Increased costs at the expense of inferior representation should be an issue for the people, not politics. Let's put it on the ballot and get it out of the back room.
Let's also talk about Severn and the similarity of Severn and Severna Park. Severn has over 8,000 households; Severna Park has over 8,000 households. Severn does not want to be split up, and neither does Severna Park. Severna Park has political clout by having only one councilman. Severn does not have clout and has three councilmen.
The Greater Severn Improvement Association Inc. is representing most of the civil organizationsin Severn, and they are also in favor of nine districts. Severn was mostly farmland in 1966. Since then we have grown and now we share the same interests as Severna Park: to stop drugs, stop crime, redistricting of schools (four in Severn), development, roads, airport noise,gypsy moths -- this list could go on and on.
In August, I presented the committee with about 350 signatures of people in the Severn area who supported Severn being in a separate councilmanic district. Wehope that our elected officials put all of Severn in one councilmanic district.
ISSUES WITHOUT BORDERS
From: Lola Hand
On Tuesday, Sept. 3, 1991, I attended a congressional redistricting hearing in Annapolis. While listening to the testimony of citizens from our state, I was thinking how Anne Arundel County differed from other counties and the reason that we should be concerned about keeping our county from being divided into several congressional districts.
I have been a community leader for 30 years and have lobbied representatives, from local to the federal level, on problems of pollution, crime, health and education. Many years ago, I recognized how very complex and time-consuming the resolution of these problems was going to be.
Many of our community groups are working very hard on various projects that are ongoing and probably will take years to resolve.
Some of these projects include:
1. Resolving air pollution problems coming from heavy industries located in our county or on thecity/county lines.
2. Protecting our waterways from pollution andcleaning up the severely polluted ones. We have more waterways than any other county, and they are playgrounds for all our state's boaters, yet they are ours to protect. Our community activists were among the very few people who attended the congressional hearings held concerning ocean dumping, and none of us owned property in Ocean City. Pollution on the water should be everyone's concern. Water pollution doesn't stop at borders.
3. Stopping noise pollution at our ever-expanding BWI Airport. All our state's citizens enjoys its economic benefits and convenience for travel -- we also endure its deafening noise.
4. We have Navy and Army bases, defense industries offering jobs to the whole metropolitan area. Jobs in these industries need defending, for unemployment affects all business,from stores, health serviceprofessions, real estate, in the whole Baltimore-Washington area.
5. We have farmlands and seafood industries that need much support for survival.
Congressman (Tom) McMillen is very supportive in these many projects and with much energy and enthusiasm continues to workwith us to resolve them.
Many of our projects will benefit Anne Arundel County, but they also will benefit all of the state, for pollution and economics know no boundaries. Interruption or delays of these projects could set back our economy and cause environmental effectsfor years to come.
THANKS FOR THE COVERAGE
From: Jeanette Wessel
Executive Vice President