Story failed to capture mall's support The Sun did a...


July 18, 1999

Story failed to capture mall's support

The Sun did a poor job of describing a June 17 hearing on the environmental impact of the proposed Arundel Mills mall in Hanover ("Mall builder states plans," June 18).

Your article suggested that there was overwhelming opposition to the mall by those who attended and testified at the hearing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fully half of the people at Harmans Elementary School that night were wearing Arundel Mills hats, and a number of others in the crowd also were mall supporters.

More important, all the major civic groups, with but one exception, voiced firm support for the Arundel Mills mall in their public statements. Was your reporter listening?

Our decision to support the mall was based on a thorough consideration of all aspects of the mall. For some reason, The Sun elected not to report our views, which are indeed the prevalent views among well-informed people throughout the Severn, Harmans and Hanover areas. The fact that the economic benefits brought by the mall will be substantial has been supported by numerous Anne Arundel and Maryland officials.

Mall opponents made unfounded claims that Arundel Mills will bring crime. County police, including the commander of the Western District, checked on crime rates at other malls operated by the Mills Corp. and say the mall will not generate a crime problem.

One of the leaders of the Jessup group opposing the mall attended meetings at which this issue was thoroughly discussed. Why then does he claim that crime is on the way? Similarly, contrary to alarmist claims made to stir up opposition among businessmen, shopping centers near other Mills Corp. malls have not suffered substantial losses of business. In fact, they have tended to prosper.

Will there be traffic? There will, but Mills is spending several million dollars to lessen the impact.

Finally, the owners of the land soon to become Arundel Mills plan to develop the property and have the right to do so under the watchful eye of the county. We could do much worse than have the Arundel Mills mall for a neighbor.

Mike Shylanski, Severn

The writer is president of the Greater Severn Improvement Association.

Smarmy Democrats politicize guns

Sandy Grady's diatribe against Tom DeLay and Representative John Dingell("`Bug man' calls tune on the latest gun bill," June 23) neglects a few relevant facts that would add light, if not heat, to the picture. The first thing he should consider is that if a proposed law is a good idea, it will be a good idea three weeks from now or three months from now. Conversely, if a proposed law needs the emotion of the moment to be passed and doesn't because "the House found passions to be stale and cool," it probably wasn't a very good idea in the first place.

I also wonder about Mr. Grady's characterization of Mr. DeLay as a "a nastier version of Newt Gingrich." Where does that come from? Can he give some examples of his "nastiness"?

I knew Mr. Gingrich at times engaged mouth before brain, but I don't know of any nastiness from either Mr. Gingrich or Mr. DeLay that compares with the trashing of people's reputations that seem to be the stock in trade of the president and his immediate entourage.

Fear of the National Rifle Association might be a possible reason for some of the Democrats to vote the way they did, but I doubt Mr. Dingell is one of them. After all, he is a member of the governing board of the NRA. Far more likely is that Mr. Dingell realizes that there are about 20,000 gun control laws on the books, and he doubts that one more will fix any problem. He probably also suspects that this legislation is just another building block in the agenda of the anti-gunners to go around the Second Amendment.

"The NRA beat me," said President Clinton. Possibly what convinced some of the Democrats who voted with Mr. Dingell is the realization that while the Clinton administration has been touting the argument that some 200,000 felons were denied guns under provisions of the "Brady Bill," there were only 13 prosecutions of these same felons. Either these 13 guys were extremely persistent in racking up 200,000 attempts to get guns or the Clinton administration simply wasn't enforcing the existing law. These Democrats probably asked why there should be yet another law if the ones in existence are not being enforced.

I think Mr. Grady gets very close to the problem when he states that it is smarmy politics. But the smarminess is in the attempt by the Democrats to use the outcry following the Littleton shootings to get a campaign issue for the 2000 elections, and not by Mr. DeLay or Mr. Dingell to oppose that attempt. Cynically using Littleton to get a campaign issue is a big example of smarminess, I would say.

Jerry Hayward, Severna Park

Support of sprawl generates outrage

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