Suspicious Of Wal-mart

Readers write

April 05, 1992

From: Richard R. Byard

Ellicott City

The letter from Edwin Strakna (Howard County Sun, Readers write, "Bring in Wal-Mart," March 22) is a classic example of how people respond when they don't know what the issue is.

Strakna indicated he believes Howard County should have a Wal-Mart to keep him from going outside the county to shop. Whether or not Wal-Mart is in Howard County is not the issue; we would welcome Wal-Mart into Howard County if it acted like a responsible business and was willing to locate where it already has been decided such businesses should be located.

Theissue is whether or not to rezone an area currently zoned for small-office use to permit two airplane hangar-type buildings to be built on that parcel of land.

The land currently is almost gridlocked with traffic. It will only cause our citizens to pay more taxes to buildmore roads to accommodate a Wal-Mart located in an area not zoned for it. Shopping centers in this area have many empty stores now because there are more stores than there are customers already. But more taxes, more stores going out of business and citizens' opposition are not the deciding factors.

The rule for rezoning is that the land only can be rezoned if the county erred in its original zoning, or there has been a substantial change in the neighborhood. The only change in that area has been that it has become more of a residential neighborhood.

Also, the citizens of that area do not believe the county erred in its initial zoning. History tells us that it is rare (almostnever) that the county errs in initial zoning. So it should be a foregone conclusion that Wal-Mart will not get what it wants in this case.

A major question is, why does Wal-Mart insist that it will havethis particular location? Wal-Mart was invited by the Rouse Co. to locate near Columbia, but declined. Being in Columbia would provide Strakna, who lives in Columbia, more convenience in his shopping at Wal-Mart.

When a company such as Wal-Mart insists on changing the zoning laws to locate in an area not zoned for it, and where there is strong citizen opposition to the change, it seems to me that Wal-Mart has something up its sleeve. There must be some as-yet-unknown reason why Wal-Mart is trying to force itself into a particular piece of property not zoned for it and where it is not wanted.

Since the topicof Wal-Mart being in this area has arisen, I have visited some of their stores in other states, such as Virginia and Indiana, where prices should be lower than in this area. It is my opinion that Wal-Mart'sprices in those stores are no lower than the prices of K mart. In myopinion, Wal-Mart is nothing more than a K mart in disguise, but with larger buildings.

More importantly, that they insist on locatingin an area where they are not wanted tells me they are not interested in the desires of those they propose to serve.

DISCARD NEW TRASH TAX

From: Lloyd Knowles

Columbia

The new trash tax proposed byHoward County Executive (Charles I.) Ecker should be defeated.

Two reasons: 100 percent of the cost of this basic governmental servicewould be transferred to the homeowners; and, unlike other taxes, theso-called "fee" would not be deductible from state and federal income taxes.

And, since the fee cannot be deducted, the county will share in the individual's increased state income tax, via the local 50 percent (up to 60 percent?) piggy-back surcharge. Perhaps this is an unintentional minor windfall, but Machiavelli would have loved it.

WHY PAY FOR ABUSE?

From: Marilyn S. Dlugos

Ellicott City

Is anyone else upset with Howard Cable Television?

They are the only game in town, and we must play by their rules. Our only other option isto quit playing and paying, which is what I decided to do.

The cable magazine no longer arrives on time (mine came on the 12th). Service representatives have been surly and rude and given many excuses for the magazine's late arrival. It no longer is sent first-class mail but bulk rate, lowering HCTV's operating expenses and ensuring that the magazine will always be late.

Calls to a supervisor and a manager have not been returned. One call to a supervisor had me reduced totears.

They can rely on the complacency of their subscribers who want to be entertained and have no other alternative. I can only hopea good many more people will be moved to cancel their cable and perhaps HCTV will realize they provide a service where the customer should matter.

I am sure we will experience a period of adjustment, butthe positive benefits should bring my family closer together, healthier and a little richer. I feel a sense of personal satisfaction knowing I will no longer pay to be mistreated.

THANKS FOR ARTICLE

From: Joe Russo

Columbia

The Hammond High School girls basketball team and coaching staff would like to share with you our appreciation to Gary Lambrecht for his coverage of our basketball team, especiallythe article regarding our state championship win.

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