Homes would devastate tract in Ellicott CityI am outraged...


July 26, 1998

Homes would devastate tract in Ellicott City

I am outraged that my remarks to your reporter were quoted out of context in the article, "Neighbors Upset Over Plans to Develop Ellicott City Tract" (July 22). I am an environmentalist, not a neighbor, and I oppose construction on this site because of:

Its devastating impact on three (not two) headwater streams of the Patapsco River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

The inescapable increases in erosion and nutrient load to the streams, which wil devastate indigenous aquatic life.

The destruction of forest habitat for wildlife and birds, including eagles, peregrine falcons, owls and bluebirds.

The elimination of a mature riparian forest stand that is our primary safeguard of water quality.

I am a participant on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Patapsco Tributary Implementation Team. One of its priorities is the preservation of mature forests in riparian areas.

This 10-acre site is properly described in your article as an "oasis." It was designated as a "preservation area" in the Howard County General Plan because it is characterized by three streams, almost four acres of wetlands, a 100-year floodplain and steep slopes over 25 percent.

The developer's plans call for filling almost 400 feet of wetland and floodplain and relegating one stream to a concrete pipe, just to access the site. His plans also show land being dedicated to the county to widen Bonnie Branch Road. That would open this scenic road to further development.

Concerned neighbors and community activists have appealed the county's first waiver of the environmental regulations safeguarding this site. The appeals hearing will be held at 7: 30 p.m. Tuesday in the Howard Building. This is by no means a last ditch effort. This is only the opening salvo.

Lee Walker Oxenham

Ellicott City

Where have all the manners gone?

Some 30 years ago, we set aside socially accepted conventions in favor of social revolution. We tore apart the fabric of society, then sewed it back together our way. This was the beginning of political correctness.

The pendulum began swinging toward equality in all manner of things. We did not anticipate a need to adapt or other adjustments.

We stopped showing respect to one another, also. Manners, honor and integrity seem to be on the outs as well. This is our fault because we did not teach these ideas to our children. Moreover, we seem to have forgotten these ideas ourselves. Thus, we cannot even teach by example.

The first lesson to be learned is that one must earn respect. We should not give it away. Manners seem to be a thing of the past. "Please" and "thank you, sir" and "ma'am" seem to be old-fashioned.

At one time, a gentleman would show respect to a lady through common courtesies. We are now ignoring these courtesies, or overlooking them. That's why newspapers have advice columns for the socially impaired.

Answers to many of life's lessons are readily available to us. We do not have to suffer through them first. Talk to anyone who has already walked before us. We are not unique individuals. We are only the newest models. The earlier models made every mistake in every possible situation already. Why do we think we are better, smarter or even different?

Neil Noble


Huge tax won't end teen smoking

I was dismayed to read of the number of Republicans who support raising the state tax on cigarettes by $1.50 a pack.

I am one Howard County voter who vehemently opposes such a tax, not because I favor smoking among our youth, but because I do not feel that it will be very effective in preventing such smoking. Note how the "war against drugs" has failed.

Also, I do not favor giving politicians more money to spend on their boondoggles. This should be a time for reducing their appetite for spending by reducing taxes in general, not increasing them.

Otto C. Beyer

Ellicott City

Candidate solicits voters' views

Your early news coverage on candidates running for local public office gives your readers, especially voters, more information about their choices this fall.

That's what a good newspaper does. I commend The Sun for its longtime attention to local politics.

Several weeks ago, I had an hourlong conversation with the reporter covering my bid for Howard County Council ("Democrat views intensified bid for council," June 4).

Unfortunately, the issues we discussed at length were not mentioned, and what we discussed in passing became a focus of the article.

Supporters from my 1994 campaign are working with me on a renewed effort to campaign and address the timely issues before time runs out. I look forward to the chance to discuss with more of my fellow residents how we can forge an even better future. I would be honored to represent my fellow citizens' views.

George Layman

Ellicott City

The writer is a Democratic candidate for Howard County Council in the 1st District.

Council member chides columnist

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