Crisis center's location, not the need, is the question...


April 07, 2002

Crisis center's location, not the need, is the question

Barbara Schmehl's letter ("Howard crisis center deserves public support," March 31) prompts the following clarifications and observations: First, the question has always been location, not the need, for the proposed combined Crisis Center/Shelter. Opposing its location in a residential setting, such as the proposed site in Kings Contrivance, does not mean opposition to the facility itself. In fact, many of us who oppose this location contribute to the organizations in their current locations. It should also be noted that the residents of Kings Contrivance, through due process, have voiced opposition by a huge margin and this opposition has been supported by all of our elected representatives at the local, county, and state levels. Based on my conversations with these representatives, I believe a significant effort is currently underway to find an appropriate location for the Center/Shelter.

Second, it occurs to me that the degree of support, such as expressed in her letter, is most often in direct relationship to the distance the supporter resides from the actual proposed sites.

Third, and perhaps most important, is the fact that the benign presence of the Grassroots facility near Atholton High School is not the model for this proposed Center/Shelter. The services provided in that facility represent only a fraction of the services to be provided in the proposed Center/Shelter both once it opens its doors and after later expansion.

James Medwin

Kings Contrivance, Columbia

Article is criticized as a misrepresentation

The Sun's "Path of some resistance" (March 24) may have set a new record for journalistic misrepresentation. The fundamental point at issue was never even addressed - that the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club and its Patapsco Task Force, along with all the other state-wide environmental organizations allied in the Maryland Conservation Council, are working to protect our public lands, and especially the threatened riparian (river and stream side) forest, wetlands, floodplain and associated habitats for wildlife, fish and birds in the Patapsco Valley State Park (PVSP).

The proposed asphalt path/roadway in PVSP is nothing more than a wedge to gain public support for a well-disguised, developer-inspired effort to increase tourism and provide taxpayer funded amenities to the politically well-connected. If you liked Rocky Gap, with its taxpayer provided convention center and golf course, you will love Rocky II on the Patapsco - the Patapsco Heritage Tourism Area - Delegate Thomas Dewberry's multimillion-dollar pork project.

Artfully packaged and presented to the public as a "Greenway," the establishment of the Patapsco Heritage Tourism Area (PHTA) will put the developers (pre-eminently Charles Wagandt in Baltimore County and Bruce Taylor in Howard County) in the drivers' seat in determining land acquisition and development strategies in the state park itself, as more than three quarters of the proposed PHTA will be state park land. What next? Disney-style tourist attractions? The privatization of state parks and forests? State park lands converted into high-end river-front properties? If this developer-driven boondoggle succeeds, we will all lose something infinitely precious - a woodland sanctuary for both wildlife and those humans who want to experience nature without destroying it. This is no "last ditch effort" but part of a century old, ongoing campaign to protect and enhance the Patapsco River and its associated, increasingly fragile and threatened habitats and watershed.

Lee Walker Oxenham

Ellicott City

Patapsco Task Force, chair Sierra Club, Maryland Chapter

Democratic policies should prompt debate

I was pleasantly surprised to read your editorial "Mr. Ehrlich runs for governor" (March 26). I agree that the one-party rule of the Democratic Party has resulted in a decline in creative thinking in Maryland. However, I also believe that The Sun has been one of the main promoters of this liberal stronghold. The Sun's reporting is often plagued with liberal spin and its headlines often present liberal views as mainstream facts. I am thrilled at the idea of The Sun presenting both sides of our political debate fairly and hope that your editorial is sincere.

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