Concert pavilion would be a plus for South CarrollAfter...


December 15, 1996

Concert pavilion would be a plus for South Carroll

After reading some of the semi-hysterical responses it has drawn, (Letters to the editor, Dec. 1), I'm a little confused: Is Cellar Door Productions proposing to put a concert pavilion in the Sykesville Springfield Hospital complex or a Supermax prison?

The horrific picture that letter-writer Kathleen L. Homeman paints is a "hide the women and children" scenario of mass riots, rampant drug use and miles and miles of traffic gridlock, eventually exploding into an Armageddon-like street revolution, and presumably, the end of the civilized world as she envisions it.

I've been to many concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion over the years, and I have attended a couple at the Cellar Door Productions-run Nissan Pavilion, near Manassas, Va. If those sort of nightmarish scenes have been enacted there, I am certainly not aware of them. And I certainly have not seen any mass uprising on the part of the good citizens of Columbia or Manassas to rid their communities of these music venues. Let's face it: Considering what a concert ticket costs these days, you're not exactly pulling in the riff-raff. For those who have not been there, the Nissan Pavilion is a particularly lovely and exceedingly well-run facility. Last summer, I attended the "Further" concert there, where several former members of the Grateful Dead performed with their bands. I must say, I was expecting the sort of apocalyptic scenes that Ms. Homeman envisions. I was shocked by how polite, well-behaved and relatively subdued nearly everyone I saw was. I did not hear so much as a raised voice.

Certainly there was traffic gridlock before and after the concert. But when I used to live adjacent to University of Maryland at College Park, I faced the same kind of interminable stop and go on U.S. 1 after a basketball or football game. I just learned to avoid certain roads at certain hours.

Ultimately, I have to disagree with folks such as Ms. Homeman and Sykesville Mayor Jonathan Herman (who I greatly admire ). I think a concert pavilion would be a feather in South Carroll's cap, just as I believe the proposed new post office at Route 32 and Bennett Road would be a major asset to our community, despite all the myopic local opposition.

It seems like mostly everyone is agreed that Carroll County needs to attract business to bolster its tax base. But as anyone involved in this pursuit knows by now, just about every rural county in Maryland and Northern Virginia has come to the same conclusion and has its eye on the same prize. It is a buyer's market. Before the NIMBYs chase away yet another enterprise that would generate something like a million dollars in tax annually, they better make sure they have got another business waiting in the wings.

The bottom line is that South Carroll is going to continue to grow. But it will end up being in a worse mess than it already is if local residents persist in standing in the way of every change that might bring a manageable and cohesive structure to this growth.

Bob Allen


Disparaging the U.S. military

Who is Llewelleyn Rockwell Jr. ("Vice follows the flag," Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 3), and what has the U.S. military done to deserve his wrath? His broad condemnation of all things military at best show he lacks facts, and at worst mark him as a dangerously uninformed bigot.

Like any large organization, the members of the armed forces engage in negative and even criminal behavior on occasion. Yet the armed forces seek to keep their own houses in order and purge recidivists. Moderation and responsibility are the fundamental corporate approach to alcohol use. And universal random urinalysis detects drug abusers and reduces this to a level that would be welcomed by the at-large population.

Has the introduction of a regional merchant shipping and air transport hub at Subic Bay to replace the former U.S. installations there removed bars and prostitution as ancillary industries in Olongapo city? Mr. Rockwell should visit and report his findings.

Mr. Rockwell cites the sale of adult magazines (to adults, I might add) in the exchange system as "the world's largest source of pornography." It would then follow that the similar sale of Time, Newsweek and the Journal of Foreign Affairs creates the world's largest outlet for mainstream news-reporting. Both arguments are, of course, ludicrous.

It is a shame that Mr. Rockwell is able to count the number of bars outside of Fort Benning. What he can't so easily calculate there -- and nearly everywhere else U.S. forces serve -- are the many hours of volunteer work provided by service members to their domestic and international communities in support of a wide range of outreach programs. All performed by the very same "social misfits and deviants" he declares are attracted to the military.

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