Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Your Opinions

Thoughts on issues relating to Howard County

April 10, 2005

Watson's actions merit higher office

Spending public money and carrying out the public's business can be difficult and controversial. Five years ago, I was highly critical of the way our school board operated. I pointed to our county council as a model which should be emulated.

Since then, each school board member has chosen to resign, not run for re-election, or been voted out of office. The completely new board, headed by Chairperson Courtney Watson, has shown a consistent responsiveness to the public they serve.

Unfortunately, the county council has regressed.

Councilmen Guzzone, Merdon and Ulman are concerned with their future political careers, and recent actions by councilmen Rakes and Feaga show a lack of responsibility to their constituents.

Two recent issues illustrate the outlooks of these two elected bodies.

Councilman Feaga, said of constituents who disagreed with him on the proposed Glenelg wastewater plan, "Their testimony should have gone in one ear and out the other."

In contrast, Chairperson Watson, when commenting on the relatively minor $1,500 cost of the proposed portrait of our ex-superintendent, said, "Whether a student paints a picture or it's donated or the school system's money is spent - that's up to debate."

Other than the well-being of Howard County and its citizens, I have no strong feelings toward either of these issues. But, the willingness of our elected bodies to be open and responsive to their constituents is mandatory.

I was pleased to read Chairperson Watson is contemplating running for another office. The county council position would serve her district well. Yet, with the presumed county executive candidates, I think all of Howard County would be better served by a County Executive Watson in 2006.

Barry Tevelow

Dayton

County officials fail to control growth

Regarding the article "Feaga supports wastewater plan," (April 8, Howard Section), I take issue with Mr. Feaga's characterization of the testimony presented at the MDE hearing on April 4th for a discharge permit for wastewater at Glenelg High School.

I was present at the hearing and gave testimony, and out of all the testimony given in opposition to the discharge permit, I was the only one who objected to the permit based on out-of-control growth in the county. As a matter of fact, after I stated my opposition to the county council allowing growth without adequate facilities, there was loud applause from the auditorium and I had to wait to proceed with my testimony.

All the other opposition gave testimony objecting to the discharge permit on the basis of environmental concerns. From this Mr. Feaga states, "Those people were anti-growth in the extreme, and some are only recently here." Talk about being out of touch with his constituency. We only purchased our slice of Howard County 20 years ago. Now that may be a newcomer by Mr. Feaga's standards since his family has been here for generations, but I think it's long enough to have a vested interest in what goes on in this county.

I am not anti-growth. What I am opposed to is the county allowing growth to spiral out of control. Not only are our existing schools overcrowded, but as soon as we build new ones they open their doors to an overcrowded student population. And the county continues to approve higher density subdivisions in the western end of the county in the face of this overcrowding.

What ever happened to the three-acre lots that could support well and septic? Instead we allow one-acre lots under the guise of cluster zoning with two acres supposedly set aside in preservation. And then we allow density exchange so a developer can purchase unbuildable land further west in the county and then build out the entire parcel in one acre lots.

As for the Musgrove property, unless I heard incorrectly at the discharge hearing, the developer's parcel consists of 71 acres and he is developing 30 lots. Either my math is off or the developer got special consideration for his number of lots in addition to being able to hook up to the Glenelg High School wastewater plant for free. That's right, the county will build and maintain the facility at no cost to the developer and also pay him $600,000 for the small parcel to discharge the treated sewage effluent.

No wonder developers contribute to county councilmen's coffers knowing they also sit as our zoning board. The developers continue to get rich in Howard County and growth spirals out of control.

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