Annexing area could cost Columbia dearly It seems that...


June 18, 2000

Annexing area could cost Columbia dearly

It seems that the Rouse Co. is intent on railroading the Columbia Association into annexing the so-called Key property (Emerson neighborhood) and that CA's management is once again ready and willing to serve the interests of the Rouse Co. rather than the interests of Columbia's lien payers.

Why is the Rouse Co. pushing CA on this issue?

Why is CA management so anxious to comply?

The answer to the first question is quite clear. The Rouse Co. expects CA lien payers to pre-service the annexed property. It expects CA to construct and pay for all the amenities (per the company's dictate) for the Emerson neighborhood.

Pre-servicing the Emerson neighborhood makes it very attractive to builders and homebuyers and increases the revenues to the Rouse Co., with the CA lien payers, as usual, paying the tab.

This Rouse Co. scheme is not new.

In the early days, when the company controlled the Columbia Association, it directed CA to build lakes and golf courses, at lien payer's expense, while it collected the premiums on lakefront and golf-front properties.

That's why the lien payers are burdened with a $90 million debt just 33 years into the life of Columbia.

The second question is truly puzzling. Why is it that, to this day, CA management continues to behave as if it is subservient to the Rouse Co.?

Why does CA management feel beholden to the Rouse Co., and why does it continue to serve Rouse Co. interests rather than CA lien payers' interests?

As a resident of Columbia for the past 32 years, I have asked that question over and over but have never gotten a satisfactory answer.

Let's take a look at this latest proposal which, according to CA management, will saddle lien payers with a bill for $3 million but earn CA $30 million in the next 20 years.

In other words, CA is telling us that we will be able to retire one-third of the accumulated debt by adding this new neighborhood.

If this were true, we should appeal to the Rouse Co. to annex two more neighborhoods and wipe out the entire CA debt.

But if you believe these phony numbers, then I would note that CA has sold you a golf course, a gym and a sports park in recent years.

These facilities were all supposed to make money, but CA lien payers are subsidizing the operation of every one of them.

I urge the newly elected Columbia Association board of directors to look at the Rouse Co./CA management figures with a great deal of skepticism.

I further urge the board to tell the Rouse Co. that annexation will only be considered after the Rouse Co. builds, pays for and deeds community facilities in the new neighborhood to CA.

I appeal to all Columbia residents, whether they agree with my assessment of the situation or not, to contact their CA council or board members and discuss this important issue with them.

Arie Eisner

Wilde Lake

Bill Clinton caused his own humiliation

I beg to differ with the comments of the writer of the letter "Starr's obsession caused impeachment, humiliation" (June 10) deriding special counsel Kenneth Starr.

The writer attributes President Clinton's problems in office to Mr. Starr, but this reminds me of the old saying about the "tail wagging the dog."

It was Mr. Clinton's obscene behavior while carrying out his official duties, and his ability to lie about it not only to a national television audience but again while under oath that caused his problem.

Then, while testifying in a civil trial, Mr. Clinton again lied, which resulted in a separate judicial finding of obstruction of justice.

I trust that the Arkansas court will do its duty -- and remove Mr. Clinton from the practice of law, as the court would do for any officer of the court who has broken the law.

Otto C. Beyer

Ellicott City

Gun control: a problem of law enforcement

The writers of the column "Controlling guns hard to do politically" (Opinion

Commentary, June 7) offered a variety of political analyses of gun control.

But as two letters published the same day note, it's not that guns are hard to control politically so much as that guns are hard to control practically ("Imposing more limits on gun ownership won't stop shootings," letters, June 7).

Criminals and other irresponsible citizens don't obey laws unless they fear being caught and severely punished.

Another letter advocated more gun control by way of sarcasm, citing a Florida incident in which a 13-year-old killed his teacher ("Perhaps we should arm the teachers," June 7).

Does the writer not realize that there are numerous gun control and other laws that would apply to this very situation, such as laws against murder, discharging a firearm, possession of a firearm on school property possession of a loaded firearm by a minor and so on?

The problem is not a lack of laws; it is lack of effective enforcement of the laws.

In this country, minors are the responsibility of adults and guns are the responsibility of their owner.

Where did the child who shot his teacher in Florida get the gun?

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