Ask before speaking for constituents on track planIn a...

Letters

March 29, 1998

Ask before speaking for constituents on track plan

In a March 15 article "Auto racing fans rally at bar," Anne Arundel County Councilman Thomas W. Redmond Sr. said he doesn't think there's much opposition from Pasadena residents to building an auto racetrack on the shores of the Patapsco River.

Maybe he should check with his constituents first before socializing with outside racing fans at a bar.

It would be an environmental outrage to place a 55,000-seat auto racetrack, a massive source of air and runoff pollution, not to mention noise, on the banks of one of the Chesapeake Bay's major tributaries.

In recent years, Maryland has made great strides in improving the bay's water quality. Many businesses, from family farms along the Pocomoke River to clammers from Rock Hall, are having to make economic sacrifices as part of that clean-up effort. Imagine their reaction if, in the name of economic gain, the state allows an auto racetrack on state-owned wetlands.

I don't know if there's anywhere in Maryland that this racetrack can be located without adverse consequences to local residents or the environment. But I do know the worst location imaginable is on the shores of the Patapsco. The people of Maryland and the waters of the bay would be far better served if the site were turned into a waterfront state park readily accessible to urban populations.

Rebecca Kolberg

Pasadena

Regarding The Sun's editorial of March 18, "County Council's Dennis Rodman," I know of Dennis Rodman and Thomas W. Redmond Sr. The comparison is outrageous and ridiculous. The editorial unfairly criticizes a man who was asked for his thoughts by other council members and gave them.

Faion Lott

Pasadena

A March 18 article expressing the sentiments of Sen. Philip Jimeno and delegates from District 31 on the public input process for a proposed racetrack in Pasadena misses the mark entirely ("State legislators join fray over auto racetrack"). The legislation introduced by Anne Arundel County Councilman Thomas W. Redmond Sr. is restrictive and site-specific.

It would permit construction on the former copper plant on Kembo Road only. The public will have several meetings and at least one opportunity (maybe more) to express its views to the County Council. At these hearings, the public may support the proposal, oppose it or request that the council amend or reject it.

This is the same process that was used for locating Marley Station mall. To imply that this is an end-run around standard procedure is nonsense. The charter provides for conditional-use zoning for situations exactly like the mall and the proposed racetrack. Unlike the industrial property located in West County, bordered to the south by a residential community, this property is surrounded by other heavily zoned properties. Residential communities are not immediately adjacent to the site.

There will be a public meeting on the proposed racetrack on April 9. The hearing on the legislation will be April 20. This process and the legislation will offer ample opportunities for citizens to appear before their elected officials to express concerns, in much the same manner as they would appear before Mr. Jimeno and the delegates to debate a bill in the Maryland General Assembly.

In fact, citizens have more opportunity before the County Council than they do with a 90-day legislative session. If Mr. Jimeno can introduce major legislation that affects the entire state, have a public hearing, a committee vote and have it voted into law in less than 90 days, why does he feel the same process, when used by the County Council, is unfair?

How is this "jamming legislation" and why is it a "slap in the face" if Mr. Jimeno uses the same method in the General Assembly? Is the senator implying that the legislative process is OK for him, but not for Mr. Redmond?

Thomas C. Andrews

Annapolis

The writer is chief administrative officer for Anne Arundel County.

Pub Date: 3/29/98 In response to your editorial of March 23 concerning legislative action on teacher and state-worker pension improvements, your concerns are a bit extreme.

Yes, the sky could fall and the state's rich pension assets could lose value. But with the pay-as-you-go new pension (3 percent contribution), employees will have the opportunity to pay for their own improvements.

The obligations to state taxpayers (employees are taxpayers, too) is that the same amount of contribution to pensions now (11.67 percent) will be required for the improved pension (11.58 percent), if the suggested, conservative, asset recommendations are implemented.

The Maryland Pension System created this improved plan and its auditor, Milliman & Robertson, Inc., endorsed the plan. The Maryland legislature hired a second auditor, the Segal Co., which also concurred with the pension improvement plan.

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