Secret Behind Land Swap?
The big secret, when does it end, why does it exist? The mayor of Chesapeake Beach held a press conference on Friday, Aug. 27 to discuss the "land swap." Unfortunately, the Town Council was never informed of the conference. We had met with the mayor on Thursday evening (Aug. 26) until 9 p.m. but were never told of the upcoming event. Reporters were given a copy of a letter to Linda L. Kelley, president of the Calvert County Board of Commissioners, that was supposedly blessed by the Town Council. The problem is that the Town Council never saw the letter. Everything is a big secret in Chesapeake Beach town government. We, the people, are not allowed to know what is going on.
At a recent town meeting, the Chesapeake Station Home Owners Association president, Chuck Quinlan, questioned the fact that there was a Planning and Zoning meeting to discuss an issue related to the proposed hotel that the mayor wants to build (next to Quinlan's community). He was disappointed that he was not informed and was looking to his mayor and council for answers. Sorry, Mr. Quinlan, the Town Council was not informed either. The big secret, when does it end, why does it exist?
PAT "IRISH" MAHONEY
Town Council member
Land Swap Discussions Continue
In your Sept. 9 (Thursday) article about a possible land swap between the Town of Chesapeake Beach and Calvert County, you quoted me as mentioning a possible public hearing on the issue. Just to clarify that, the Town Council and mayor have already had a public hearing, which was well attended. But there has also been discussion among county officials about the county having a public hearing since county property is involved and it's a controversial issue. One issue, possibly two public hearings. Stay tuned.
JOHN DOUGLAS PARRAN
Calvert County commissioner
Salute to Councilman Mahoney
Gerald Donovan's . . . attack on Chesapeake Beach Councilman Patrick Mahoney must not go unchallenged. . . .
I express my public gratitude and appreciation to Pat "Irish" Mahoney for his courageous stance regarding the Kellam Field land swap. Were it not for his efforts and those of the Buccaneer benefactors, Mike Emery and others, the Calvert County Board of Commissioners would not have sensed the urgency for the needed upgrades to Kellam Field. "Irish" definitely comes through the land-swap controversy wearing a white hat. . . . The mayor continues to marginalize and trivialize the legitimate concerns of residents who apparently meet his unilateral criteria for "not-been-here-long-enough-to-have-an-opinion."
There are two major variables in the land-swap equation. The first is internal to Chesapeake Beach and involves its residents' concerns about growth, traffic, safety, crime, commercial development and the Beach's small-town character. These internal issues must be decided by Chesapeake Beach residents and should reflect the town's majority opinion. The second variable, however, spills over the town's borders and much of it concerns the county at large as well as Chesapeake Beach.
Mayor Donovan has obligated the next $300,000 to $400,000 of the town's share of recreation funds to complete his version of the proposed land swap. Despite his vague assertions that the state will "kick in" some money, the general public must be aware that the source of these additional recreation funds is through new home/residential construction. At only $600 a house, this equates to as many as 500 to 670 newly constructed homes in Chesapeake Beach to pay off "hizzoner's" obligation and essentially ensure high occupancy rates in his planned hotel, extra dinners in his restaurants, and slips full of expensive pleasure craft (not those boats of our hard-working watermen, I'd hazard to say) at his marina.
I also want to get Commissioner Doug Parran's take on this particular land swap idea. I certainly got the distinct impression that he was in favor of it. How could he possibly even consider forcing that many new homes on the county? . . . He has been so busy stepping away from his campaign promises to aggressively rein in uncontrolled growth that he can't possibly see where he's headed. Commissioner Parran, make no mistake, Gerald Donovan didn't vote for you, but the thousands who did fully expect you to back up your promises, not back off of them.
Mr. Donovan is correct that this particular land swap deal is a "win-win situation." He wins; his cronies win; and the rest of us are stuck with the whole situation. . . .
DARIN C. ADAIR
Corporate Control Threatens Farms
[Democratic Rep.] Steny H. Hoyer does not have a clue as to what are the farmers' needs, nor does he care as to their plight or future. What Steny Hoyer truly cares about is being reelected first, and foremost continuing to receive that $135,000 per year plus numerous perks and a recently granted raise for himself and the president approved by all members of Congress. Secondly, Hoyer's true goal is to continue with the beleaguered family farmers' plight, assuring corporate agriculture prosperity while continuing to maintain a stranglehold on the life blood of this abominable system, known as the farmer, through the means [of] vertical integration. That's right folks, in case you are not aware of it, 75 percent of agriculture is now under the confines of vertical integration and by the turn of the century, all of agriculture is to be vertically integrated.
In layman's terms, the farmers will be serfs on their own land. They will face artificially deflated markets that will either force them into bankruptcy, or force them to accept a vertically integrated contract, which believe me, is far less palatable than bankruptcy. Once you have been lied to and dissuaded from following your true convictions, you will placed on a journey of deception, trickery, serfdom, complete and absolute submission as to the whims and mandates of your corporate master. It does not matter if you are a grain farmer, hog farmer, aqua farmer, or whatever facet of the industry you partake in, you will be bought, paid for and owned by your corporate entity.
You will be told what to plant, how to plant it, how to fertilize it, whose equipment is acceptable to use in your endeavor, how to harvest, how to irrigate it, etc. There will be no private market out there for your product to offer you a viable alternative for your product, if you decide being a serf on your own land is not your cup of tea. Bankruptcy and the end of a way of life as you have known it will be your only alternative. . . .
These may seem like harsh words, but I speak from experience. I am currently and have been working under this system for the past five years. I have raised chickens on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on a loss or break-even basis since my inception. I have visited Steny Hoyer's office in Washington on numerous occasions to gain support for [Ohio Democratic congresswoman] Marcy Kaptur's bill (HR2738) to amend the Agricultural Fair Practices Act of 1968, which basically gives all farmers the right to collectively bargain for their rights and the price they will be paid for their products. It is time the farmer stopped toiling in the fields to produce a product at retail prices and sell it for wholesale prices. It forces the corporate giants to deal with them in good faith and insures them a viable means of existence. . . .
What Hoyer's office has participated in was the passage of the farm bill that constitutes more corporate welfare, not salvation for the farmers. Passage of all of the land preservation bills and set-aside programs, passage of the emergency relief program for hog farmers which did not put one red cent back into the pockets of hard-working farmers, it simply contributed to their decimation by lining the pockets of the corporate masters giving them more ammunition to keep the farmer in debt and under their control.
Land preservation programs, low-interest loans, set-aside programs are a joke. If farmers were receiving a fair return on their investment and making a decent profit, do you really think they would be selling their land? In most cases these farms have been in their families for generations and it is not simply a job, but a way of life. Why do you think the average age of a farmer is in excess of 55 years? There is no future in farming for the young people. . . . Farmers do not need low-interest loans, they need to be able to market their product to reflect or mirror their production costs, like every other business does in this country. . . .
The disappearence of the family farmer is just around the corner and once corporate agriculture is in complete control, the cheap source of food will disappear in this country. . . .
What the farmers of St. Mary's County need are not low-interest loans, they need to be able to recoup their losses through supply and demand. They need to be rid of the phonies in office that tell them what they want to hear and go about doing business as usual to the detriment of the farmers. The people of St. Mary's County need to toss out the cronies that are doing nothing but serving themselves instead of their constituents. When this happens, the family farms will once again flourish. If it does not, they will disappear at an average of 500 a week. That's right folks, we lose 500 family farms in the United States of America due to vertical integration, or better put, vertical disintegration.
JAMES T. KING
Where It's All Going
Thank you for the page you print on Sundays called "What's Going Where?" I look forward to it eagerly each week--even when it isn't for the county in which I live, since we travel through the others and our fates are linked in many ways. The information represents a real service.
Last Sunday [Sept. 5] was Calvert County's turn to be featured in the page. I was depressed when I read it. (More fodder for Mr. "I want more growth" Schwab of Chesapeake Beach to write yet another letter extolling the virtues of the population explosion.) Where is Oxford Way? On Route 4 in Sunderland? Why can't I find it? Where is there a town center in Sunderland? Five retail units, a restaurant and a warehouse sounds like yet another strip mall. To go along with the Arby's in Prince Frederick? (I can hardly wait!)
Rather than go back to bed, put the covers over my head, and remember the good parts of the Calvert County of 1974 (Yes! There were some bad parts, too, like high unemployment), I read the story titled "Sewer Plant Delayed for Public Input." Depression moved right into irritation over how the story was "spun." "The expanded plant is needed to keep up with the growth in the county seat, particularly the new community college campus planned for Prince Frederick, [water and sewer director Dennis] Brobst said."
In reality (but who bothers with that anymore?), the expanded sewer treatment plant is needed to keep up with the Chapline development, including 100-plus town houses and Arby's, et al. Oh, that's right. Prince Frederick is a town center. The growth is "supposed" to go there. My taxes are "supposed" to pay for sewer for all those new town house owners. And Sunderland--is the growth supposed to go there, too?
I know: Take two aspirin. And then what?
SUSAN ELLSWORTH SHAW
Editor's note: Street designations such as the Oxford Way referred to in the letter that appear on the development maps sometimes are new streets that will be built as part of the project described. Because of that, they are new enough that they do not appear on current road maps, and in some cases will not exist until the development is completed.