Affordable Housing and Crime in Long ReachRegarding the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 21, 1994

Affordable Housing and Crime in Long Reach

Regarding the editorial, "Crime Watch in Kendall Ridge" (Aug. 2), I am afraid you are letting the cart block the view of the horse. The real issue that we as neighbors in Long Reach Village are fronting is that two-thirds of the affordable housing existing in Columbia today is in the east side villages. Twenty-one percent of that is in Long Reach alone. Town Center, Dorsey's Search and the beautiful new River Hill areas have zero. Oakland Mills and Wilde Lake have 8 and 9 percent respectively. This is the problem. . . .

That crime comes up in this matter is only natural as your paper recently reported that the Long Reach Village Center was having difficulty renting spaces due in part to the perception of danger there. Indeed, the design that may have been progressive 20 years ago leaves one feeling like they are walking into "Hogan's Alley." Poor old Safeway is stuck there making cosmetic changes in an effort to compete with the Giant a short distance away that sits in a spanking new shopping center not surrounded by subsidized housing as is the Long Reach Safeway.

It is not about keeping out potential good neighbors. It is about LTC not letting big business developers, under the guise of humanitarian goodness, make this side of town the repository of all the low-income housing so that they may make the profits, get the tax credits and call themselves responsible and loving enterprises; so that they may buff up their images and sell more houses in other parts of town where no such low income housing exists without a threat to the salability of those homes over the issues of declining property values. Do you get it now? . . .

By and large, I have found the reporting on this issue fairly balanced. I want to believe that the editorial opinions are not to be the style adopted by the reporters who will be on this story as it develops. . . .

By the way, I grew up in an affordable house in North Philadelphia, except we called it a row house like in Baltimore. I have no preconceived notions outside of my own experience of what this is all about. Nor should you.

John J. Snyder

Columbia

Susan Gray's Executive Candidacy: Slow Growth Doesn't Mean No Growth

Re: Kevin Thomas' column, "Pieces too Short to Use" (Aug. 7): You were correct, the piece on Susan Gray was too short to use and it's too bad you chose to use it anyway. It was too small an incident to characterize a whole person. "In all fairness," you say, Ms. Gray received misinformation concerning the need to have a treasurer's signature to file with the Board of Elections, but then you unfairly present an uncomplimentary "frightening" picture of Ms. Gray.

Further, you characterize Ms. Gray as a "die-hard no-growth advocate." What I think is really frightening is that you . . . apparently cannot define or distinguish between "no" growth and slow growth. Ms. Gray has worked tirelessly for Howard County citizens to try to get the best council decisions regarding adequate facilities and strong agricultural preservation. She has done this to secure a thoughtful, slower pace of growth in the county with controlled densities and reasonable taxes. Ms. Gray is not a "no" growth advocate because she believes that growth is a choice, not an ultimatum. Whether you support her candidacy or not is immaterial to presenting, in all fairness, a longer and better balanced piece on Ms. Gray's dedication to making Howard County government work through citizen

involvement.

Henry Senatore

Ellicott City

. . . Quite obviously, you don't know Susan Gray. I do. I have sat through many zoning hearings at which Ms. Gray conducted her lawyerly self with the utmost dignity, intelligence and restraint in the face of opposition that had me squirming in my seat and ready to hop to my feet yelling, "foul." The "picture of Susan Gray" that developed before my eyes was a person of calm, cool and collected grace.

The time is ripe for Susan Gray to bring her brand of "can do" government to Howard County.

Ellen Rhudy

Marriottsville

The question posed by your editorial on July 25 entitled "No-Growth Candidates Still in Vogue?" should be answered "no," because there is no such thing as a "no-growther."

I strongly object to the "no-growth" lingo. It is incorrect and very misleading. To my knowledge, no one has demanded no growth`in this county. In public testimony and in news articles, John Taylor, Susan Gray, and Gary Prestianni have impressed the public with their stance on responsible growth.

Everyone knows that growth must occur to assure financial stability; however, at what pace do we wish to proceed? Four years ago, County Executive Charles Ecker supposedly wanted a slower pace for the county than that set by his predecessor. Now, he's done an about-face: He wants more and more high-density development.

The fact is the infrastructure is not in place to relieve the congestion sure to occur. Even the highly touted Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance will not sufficiently relieve congestion. The county is fully aware that APFO is just a Band-Aid for major surgery. Similarly, the county's schools are already experiencing overcrowding with the real possibility of year-round school as the answer to relieve it. The bottom line is that we will all pay the price out of our wallets for roads, schools and utilities.

It's too bad that the newspaper continues to vilify people who want responsible growth in this county. . . . Perhaps you should title this editorial "Are Slanderous Headlines Increasing Circulation?" By the way, those persons espousing "responsible growth" will always be in vogue.

Valerie McGuire

Ellicott City

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