Growth without planningI was appalled by your recent...

SATURDAY MAIL

October 17, 1998

Growth without planning

I was appalled by your recent editorial concerning the anti-growth initiative in Harford County and the group known as the Friends of Harford County. Though I am not a member of the group, as a lifelong resident of the county I have applauded its opposition to the overdevelopment in Harford County.

Harford County government has facilitated nearly unbridled growth in what had previously been a largely rural county. In doing so, county officials and developers have fueled a steady migration of Baltimore City and Baltimore County residents to Harford County, ostensibly to find a better quality of life.

The people who have moved to Harford County certainly cannot be faulted for their decision, and they would be welcome to our community if the growth that has occurred had been planned, ensuring that it did not overtax public facilities.

This newspaper and others, however, fail to recognize that politicians and developers have done almost nothing to plan for the growth that has taken place. The so-called planning often touted by government officials in Harford County consists of the creation of a "development envelope" in which most growth has been concentrated.

Within and outside that envelope, however, Harford County has experienced unbridled growth that exemplifies disconnected suburban sprawl at its worst. With that growth has come a steady deterioration in the quality of life: schools that are increasingly overcrowded and roads and other public facilities that are becoming hopelessly inadequate.

Against this backdrop, Harford County citizens have looked to county government to take action to protect the quality of life in our community. In response, however, citizens have observed politicians who make excuses and do nothing but continue to accept significant campaign contributions from the development interests they serve.

It is for this reason that citizens have lost faith that the political process will address their concerns and instead are attempting to take matters into their own hands before a worsening situation is totally out of control.

The Friends of Harford County and the tens of thousands of citizens in our community who support their efforts recognize the problems that the politicians, developers and your newspaper fail or refuse to acknowledge.

The ballot initiative recently overturned by the courts represented a dramatic expression of frustration by the citizens of Harford County who live, work and send their children to school in this community.

James E. Edwards Jr.

Forest Hill

African Americans must vote on Nov. 3

This is one of the few times when the Baltimore County Branch of the NAACP deems it necessary to issue an action alert.

The African-American community of Baltimore County is urged to mobilize its political potential by going out and voting in the general election on Nov. 3. This is a day to test its electoral strength, for much is at stake in the outcome of this election.

Voters will make choices for candidates seeking elective positions at the congressional, state and county levels. All the positions are important, but none as important for Marylanders than the governorship.

The governor proposes the state budget, which cannot be added to by the General Assembly; makes appointments to many positions, including members of the Baltimore County school board; and plays a role in legislative redistricting.

The quality of life in Maryland will be affected by the winner of the governor's race.

The political gains made by an increase in the number of African Americans in the Maryland General Assembly resulting from the last legislative redistricting could be threatened, depending on which party controls the governorship and the General Assembly. The 10th Maryland Legislative District could be wiped out.

No statewide election going into the final stretch has been as competitive as the governor's race, and our involvement could be a significant faction in its outcome.

The Baltimore County NAACP is nonpartisan so far as endorsing candidates, but that does not mean it is not political and does not understand where its interests and the interests of the African American community are.

How people vote is their choice. Nevertheless, the Baltimore County NAACP urges everyone to vote Nov. 3 and to spread the word to others.

Patricia C. Ferguson

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Baltimore County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Government intrusion at the wrong time

The Sun ran an article discussing Ellen Sauerbrey's views on reproductive freedoms and how she and her husband were unable to have children ("Sauerbrey substituted one dream for another," Oct. 4). I fail to see how the details of her family life are relevant to the discussion.

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