Nine reasons we don't need Arundel MillsA specter is...

Letters

July 11, 1999

Nine reasons we don't need Arundel Mills

A specter is haunting Maryland: monstermall.

Here are nine 9 reasons to oppose Arundel Mills, the weary mother of all malls:

1) It will fill 62,155 square feet of wetlands, 12.5 times what is considered significant. It will destroy 3,200 linear feet of waterways. It will make impervious 490 acres.

2) The 3,500 jobs Arundel Mills plans are nonskilled, minimum wage jobs. If this is all the ambition and expectation that parents in Harmans, Jessup and Severn have for their children, why should the rest of the county worry about the quality of the schools in their areas?

3) Arundel Mills makes no guarantee that the 3,500 jobs will go to Anne Arundel residents.

4) Arundel Mills is going to sap businesses and jobs from nearby malls. Instead, let the Mills Corp. take over and invigorate the ghost malls along Ritchie Highway such as the two in Severna Park.

5) Arundel Mills makes a lie out of Odenton and Glen Burnie as town centers for west county.

6) Arundel Mills will breed an astonishing amount of commercial development on its periphery.

7) The new roads, though paid for by Arundel Mills, will quickly become swamped and soon will require county-paid relief. Who will relieve the ozone and other air pollution problems?

8) Arundel Mills will stimulate enormous residential development on the adjacent Dorchester and Kirk tracts. Kids from these units will swell class sizes in all the schools nearby.

9) Both sides of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway should be reserved by the county as the "Arundel Research corridor," zoned exclusively for high-tech research and development companies with high-paying jobs, the kind of development Anne Arundel really needs. More retail is not economic development.

Go down Interstate 95 to Dale City, Va., to see Potomac Mills by the same company. It's a factory outlet mall with cinemas.

It's a tired behemoth we don't need.

It's an idea whose time has passed.

James A. Hoage, Severna Park

Media preoccupied with dark forces

Thank you for Scott Shane's discussion of the human conscience ("The powerful little voice within," Sun Journal, May 30). But it was troubling that the focus of the article fell upon the scientific understanding of what is essentially a spiritual endeavor and on the negative "extremes of human conduct," such as the actions of the Columbine High School assassins and Serbian militiamen who rape and murder.

The media's near-obsession with these human tragedies, like Stanley Milgram's experiments on the ease with which many people can be induced to behave cruelly, tell us little that cannot be learned from a cursory reading of world history.

Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of moral development may tell us more about who we are and how science and popular media may ultimately fail us in our aspirations to be better.

Although Mr. Kohlberg's sixth stage of moral development attempts to classify the "extraordinary selflessness of a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King," Gandhi and King defied authority and were prepared to sacrifice themselves for people who were genetically unrelated to them. Science is still unable to explain this behavior. Stage six has actually been removed from the Kohlberg scoring manual because it is so difficult for clinicians to assess.

When it comes to issues of morality, science seems only to be able to confirm what we have long known, that many people can be persuaded to commit immoral behavior and that exposing people (especially the young) to the right thoughts can help them to prosper morally.

So it is not surprising that a media culture that often panders to selfish motives and seems increasingly preoccupied with gross acts of human violence would encourage a sense of moral despair, if not outright immorality.

Since most scientists (and presumably journalists) are not atheists, perhaps it is time for them to simply agree that the human conscience belongs to another realm.

This could only help us to look away from our darker natures for a moment and focus our attention, not on the psychological, but on the spiritual, where it is most urgently needed.

S. F. Shepherd, Millersville

`Summer mom mode' right on the money

I just loved Susan Reimer's column, "Getting dialed in on summer mom mode," June 22.

It took me back to when I also ran the office and home from the office.

I always told the children, "I'm only a phone call away." This, I found was very helpful -- and very frustrating.

Marge Griffith, Pasadena

A soldier who fought to protect his land

Norris West was "Left cold as the bronze figure of a Confederate soldier in Lothian cornfield" (June 20). I agree with him that the Civil War was more than a scrap over magnolia fields, and without slavery there would have been no Civil War. But soldiers like Private Benjamin Welch Owens fought for what they believed was the defense of their land, and the statue and tribute to Owens is not really "a tribute to a losing soldier for oppression."

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