August 27, 2006

Charter course to ruin schools

Who says the Anne Arundel County public school system is not a fantasyland paradise?

The governor has appointed to the school board a member educated in the private sector and is proudly seeing to it that his children do likewise.

This is an appropriate team to continue the infiltration of our public system with charter schools. If private schools are attractive now, just wait until they finish the job of inundating our system with charter schools. Taxpayer funds for school choice cannot be far behind. Can you fathom a more arrogant insult to our intelligence? I hope not!

Bill D. Burlison Odenton

The writer is member of the Anne Arundel County Council.

Don't box in country heritage

Everyone understands why real estate moguls want to build monstrous commercial complexes like the proposed Target shopping complex in Anne Arundel's pristine South County: The bigger the project, the bigger the profit. But at whose expense?

That area is one of the last vestiges of rural landscape in the Baltimore-Washington region and now it, too, faces extinction.

Fortunately, residents seem to have decided they would prefer to gaze upon a grove of trees beyond an open field than at a big-box store beyond a parking lot. It sounds as if they'd rather drive on pleasant country roads where you can ponder the occasional grazing horse than on wide, busy highways (and they will come, mind you) full of traffic where you can follow the requisite signs making sure you find the shopping mall ... out there in the middle of nowhere. Why not just let nowhere be!

Aren't Anne Arundel officials aware of the irreversible damage these behemoths wreak on quality of life? Many towns and even closer-in suburban counties have found it necessary to outlaw big-box development, desperate to reverse the environmental and economic deterioration they bring. It's doubtful they can ever reverse the damage done. Not totally. But South County residents appear convinced that it can and should be prevented.

Residents now understand that shopping convenience is simply not worth the inconvenience it brings to the rest of life, not worth the loss of local businesses that are part of local history, not worth the pressure for more residential construction for employees of the Target and some 20 other stores and for those who want to live near the complex, not worth the enormous increase in traffic, not worth the consequent need for more schools and other public services.

Is it coincidental that the attempt to build this complex is occuring in an election year? Perhaps it is but, regardless, residents will be watching closely to assure that their, and only their, interests are protected. South County doesn't need a shopping complex the size of 10 football fields. It needs to be left alone.

Larry Wannemacher

Tracys Landing

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