Closed meeting with developers raises concernsIn March...


May 02, 1999

Closed meeting with developers raises concerns

In March, the mayor and council of Hampstead intentionally excluded the public from a meeting they held with developers.

The mayor has since refused to disclose information about it. From even sketchy reports, it is obvious that it most likely dealt with a development proposal which may have significant water, traffic and air quality impact on town residents and those in the neighboring environs.

I cannot understand the insistence of Mayor Chris Nevin and council members Lawrence H. Hentz, Stephen A. Holland and Haven N. Shoemaker Jr. to keep the contents of this meeting secret from their constituents. Regardless of how well-founded the desires of the developer/corporation to make the site selection in secrecy, these particular local elected officials have a higher obligation to their constituents. In insisting on secrecy, the mayor and these councilmen have missed the point on just what is the right thing to do.

Whether the site which the corporation seeks is located within town limits or just outside in the county, those who live and work in Hampstead have a right to know what is being planned, before a deal is struck. Those citizens have a right to know well before the election this May so that they have the ability to make these plans a matter of accountability at the polls. The trend by these officials toward agreements and decisions made outside of official function must come to an end.

Neil M. Ridgely, Finksburg

Finding our leaders in the funny papers

Today, while following my favorite intellectual pursuit, reading the funny papers, I notice some striking similarities to some of our school administrators and our always popular local politicians.

I guess in the past when I've classified them as comedians and clowns, I've been subliminally influenced by reading the cartoons and watching the stand-up comics. The parallels are eerie.

Let's compare: In the cartoons, a J. C. Dithers runs a construction firm.

His right-hand man, who is a perpetual screw-up, goes by the name of Dagwood Bumstead. Dagwood hasn't had a raise or promotion for more than 40 years.

I'm sure the reason for both is probably his foul-ups costing million-dollar overruns on school projects, not getting the proper permits before building elaborate waste disposal systems, and creating a parking lot on a farmer's private property.

Dagwood should take lessons from Vernon Smith on his techniques in making a promotion. Outside of our school system in the real world, where they don't have taxpayer dollars to use as confetti, this would result in drawing of unemployment insurance. Poor Dagwood, after 40 years, he doesn't have a pension plan.

Who does the pointy-haired boss in "Dilbert" remind you of? Remember, he has all of the sensitivity of 3-day-old road kill in handling personnel matters. He is also continually pushing for his own agenda to enhance his salary and upgrade his job.

His lack of awareness in the peripheral manager's budgets and job functions is legendary. If you can't identify him in our county political arena, you probably have sand in your ears. Has there ever been an impeachment of a politician from Carroll County?

I did have difficulty finding a cartoon character or a comedian who said "no comment" or is not available for comment as much as one of our commissioners.

Maybe the developers don't want to draw attention to their agenda and have given orders to not have foot-in-mouth disease. After all, who can forget that enlightening comment during the campaign when asked about adding recreation facilities, "Let 'em join spas." Next to "Let them eat cake," it's my all-time favorite, classy response to a taxpayer's question.

You have to love the intellectual giants we have either appointed or voted into office in Carroll County.

When the state of county politics is discussed by astute people in neighboring counties, they giggle a lot.

Jack E. Winder, Westminster

Pub Date: 5/02/99

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