Against revenue authority idea -- nothing personalFor the...

Letters

November 17, 1996

Against revenue authority idea -- nothing personal

For the year and five months I have been president of the Ward One Residents Association, I have been trying above all to stay away from the personal animosity that seems to drive too much of the business of the Annapolis City Council.

I bit my tongue when the association's vice president was accused of committing a "vicious personal attack" for pointing out the obvious: that under the city ethics law, an alderman is subject to recusal if one of his or her children owns a business directly affected by a proposed ordinance.

I kept my mouth shut when Professor Dan Masterson was accused of the same thing for mentioning that there are a lot of problems the city has not solved that are more serious than the lack of a convention center.

But I have to draw the line at Captain Waldron, whom I have known for close to 30 years, and who I can say with complete confidence does not have a "vicious personal attack" in his nature.

What Captain Waldron said was that the oral remarks of the alderman for the Eighth Ward were irrelevant to the citizens' arguments against the charter amendment authorizing a generic revenue authority, which was hardly "vicious." It was exactly right.

First, it is of course true that a revenue authority is only a "tool," as Alderman Ellen Moyer says. So is a MIRVed thermonuclear ICBM, but it is a separate question whether we want or need one. If it was true that a revenue authority would save taxpayers money, then that would be relevant.

However, the only circumstance under which it would do so is if the city's credit was bad enough that an "independent" authority could get a better deal from lenders. This city's credit is as good as it gets. Second, it is also true that despite the enabling charter amendment, no actual revenue authority has yet been established, but that is like asking why do you mind if we stockpile plutonium so long as we have not built a bomb yet?

Finally, the strange argument that the county has a revenue authority and "none of the opponents" of the city's charter amendment "has spoken out against it" is also irrelevant. The extent to which the association involves itself in county legislation is nobody's business but ours. We do not often write the governor or the president about matters within their purview either. But, oddly, Mrs. Moyer's memory fails her here too, since I told her a few weeks ago that we spoke out against it and sent her a copy of my letter to Del. Virginia Clagett to prove it.

I still look forward to the day when we can return to a frank and open discussion of the important issues facing the Annapolis City Council, without being side-tracked by personal attacks.

Gilbert T. Renaut

Annapolis

The writer is president of the Ward One Residents Association.

Make your voice heard on GDP

Anne Arundel County will soon have a new General Development Plan that will affect every one of its citizens over the next two decades.

Officials will use the plan to determine the location and character of new housing developments, roads, schools, water and sewage treatment plants, parks and other open space.

Over the past 16 months, citizen representatives appointed to a steering committee have played an integral role in analyzing the strengths, weaknesses and needs of our neighborhoods in formulating a draft plan. The highlights include new policies to conserve the environment and rural areas, promote community-level planning, discourage sprawl and encourage compact, transit-oriented development.

Although the work of the steering committee is winding down, the process is not over. In fact, it is at its most critical juncture.

The steering committee needs immediate public imput regarding its recommendations. Committee members and the Department of Planning and Code Enforcement is holding public forums to present the draft plan and solicit comments.

The forums will be one of the last opportunities for the citizens of Anne Arundel County to directly influence the ideas and initiatives defined in the General Development Plan. Once the forums are over, the steering committee will work with PACE to prepare a final draft which will be presented to County Executive John Gary and eventually the County Council, which will hold its own hearings, for passage into law.

The remaining forums are Tuesday at Glen Burnie High School and Thursday at Arundel High School. Each event will run from 4: 30 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. Citizens may arrive at any time during the scheduled hours.

Non-participation is a vote for someone else's ideas and objectives.

Richard J. Morgan

Annapolis

The writer is chairman of the General Development Plan steering committee, and president and chief executive officer of Annapolis National Bank.

Bravo to Annapolis Opera's 'Butterfly'

To those Anne Arundel County opera lovers who could have filled the empty seats at Maryland Hall last Friday or Sunday, we say you must attend the next performance of Annapolis Opera.

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