Crabs are sweet, this state's great, don't destroy itI've...

Letters

August 22, 1999

Crabs are sweet, this state's great, don't destroy it

I've lived my entire 18 years in Howard County. One of my grandfathers was a dairy farmer; the other was a draftsman for Bethlehem Steel. I believe Ocean City is the only beach in the world, crabs are the sweetest seafood, Baltimore is the greatest city ever created and the Colts will always belong to us.

I am a true Marylander to the end. However, lately I can barely stand to drive down the street. All the farms are being destroyed and turned into cookie-cutter homes. The beautiful land that makes Maryland "mini-America" is no longer. Every inch is found and developed.

I may only be 18. but these changes send a knife into my heart. I can't bear to see deer dead on the side of streets. Do we really need one more Wal-Mart? Is the purest soil in the East only good for developments that echo the glory of what they once were -- Holly Hills, Cabin Branch Farm, Foxmore, Doves Landing, to name a few.

I once dreamed of raising my own children here, but sadly I don't feel that way anymore. So I ask every Marylander: Stop destroying the majestic land that brought us all here in the first place.

Rachel Leigh Ford, Woodbine

The writer is a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Tired cliches impugn greenway

Letter writer Ellen Rhudy is a clever wordsmith who prefers fiction to fact ("Greenway isn't as noble as it sounds," letters to the editor, Aug. 8).

She repeats the tired old cliche that the Patapsco Heritage Greenway Committee (PHGC) is masking its "real intent to commercialize a natural area . . . and turn the valley into a cash cow for a few cunning entrepeneurs."

She and her fellow travelers work on the assumption that if you falsify the truth often enough, somebody is going to believe it.

I am one of those she would discredit. I have devoted 26 years of my life to saving, restoring and developing the historic mill village of Oella, where smart growth was adopted long before the term entered our lexicon.

While undertaking this project, I have continued my four-decade record of volunteer public service. It is sad that PHGC opponents feel the need to hurl personal abuse at those who serve their community but disagree with them.

The PHGC is a grass-roots organization of environmentalists, historic preservationists, trail enthusiasts, civic activists and county and state representatives. Its mission is to reconnect "people with the natural, historic and cultural assets of the valley in ways that interpret, enliven, preserve and enhance those assets and people's awareness, understanding and appreciation of them."

That is a mission that can benefit all of us. It simply requires people to work with goodwill through issues of concern to a brighter tomorrow.

Charles L. Wagandt, Ellicott City

Fire chief's bad example

Clarksville volunteer fire chief Patrick Marlatt is setting a poor example by his disregard for water conservation ("Fire chief caught filling pool says divers use it for training; But couple who reported him are unconvinced," Aug. 12).

I'm referring to the incident in which he used official equipment to top off his swimming pool when everyone else I know of is taking this water shortage seriously.

I'm sorry that he feels justified in order to let his divers utilize the pool for practicing and testing equipment. What a cop-out. There are public pools that could accommodate his team. What's more, they could wait a little longer until we get some relief in the form of some steady rain.

How can Howard County condone this?Shame, shame, shame.

Gary Garvin, Laurel

A withering forecast for counties' retail

Plans for the super-regional Arundel Mills "shoppertainment" complex in Anne Arundel County demonstrates the need for a mechanism to evaluate projects that will impact the regional economy, air quality and transportation systems.

Large-scale projects such as Arundel Mills clearly illustrate the shortcomings -- and the myth -- of local land-use control. Arundel Mills will generate approximately 75 million additional vehicle miles annually in the region and attract shoppers from up to 200 miles away.

Yet regional scrutiny is limited to the air quality modeling process, which does not address congestion, transportation choice, jobs-housing imbalance or disinvestment.

The regional effects of the project on transportation and air quality are obvious: We cannot drive 75 million more miles annually in the region -- there is no planned public transportation -- without increasing traffic congestion and further degrading our already famously poor air quality.

The effects of the project on the economy and existing communities are equally devastating. Established retail and commercial centers within Arundel Mills' 200-mile radius of influence will lose business and jurisdictions will have to brace themselves for a cycle of disinvestment and revitalization.

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