Trash Station Not Needed
The Southern Maryland Extra's news article, "Trash Station Divisive in St. Mary's" [Nov. 11], stated that there were "lots of perspectives, but few definitive answers" in the Nov. 9 St. Mary's County commissioners' public hearing on Waste Management of Maryland's proposal to build a solid waste facility in Charlotte Hall.
To the contrary, there was a very definitive answer to the fundamental and governing question of whether or not a "demonstrated need" exists for this facility. The answer is "No!" This answer was clearly discernible from the testimony of Mr. William Mattingly, Waste Management's local operations manager. Mr. Mattingly stated that Waste Management plans to continue to transport its trash collections from the central and southern areas of St. Mary's County to the Calvert County trash transfer station. The Charlotte Hall facility would only service the northern one-third of St. Mary's County. Therefore, considering that the proposed facility would be of no benefit to two-thirds of the county, including its major population centers, there is no demonstrated need for it. Clearly, the primary benefactors of the proposed Charlotte Hall facility would be Charles and Calvert counties, not St. Mary's County. If they want it, let it be built in Hughesville!
However, despite the fact that Waste Management's proposal fails to meet this legal standard of demonstrated need, I would not be surprised that the county commissioners will approve it, but for an ulterior reason. Because of past and present excessive government spending and borrowing, the county commissioners are desperate for additional sources of revenue. If they approve Waste Management's facility, they could then impose a "host fee" on the operation. For example, with the facility operating 312 days per year at a maximum rate of 1,000 tons per day, and a $5 per ton host fee, the county government would receive $1.56 million per year. That is very appealing to "tax-and-spend" politicians.
It remains to be seen if these money-hungry county commissioners will sell out the future well-being of the citizens in the northern end of the county for the political equivalent of 30 pieces of silver.
It Doesn't Add Up
In reference to your article under "Southern Maryland Notebook" on Thursday ("Bridging an Economic Divide"), two things jump out at me. Most outrageous is the statement attributed to Dave Sisson: "About 400 boats pass under the bridge every day." That statement contains either one or two too many zeros, depending on the season. Come and count the number of boats that must pass under the bridge to get to the bay, and count the number of usable slips on the west side of the bridge. It ain't possible to drum up 400 even hypothetical boats.
It was also stated that the bridge is a bottleneck for vehicle traffic.
Take a look; there is a two-lane road leading to the two-lane bridge from either direction, so how can the bridge be a bottleneck?
Keep Bid Openings Public
On Nov. 16, the Board of County Commissioners met with our local state senators and delegates to present several proposals for their consideration as legislation.
One of the items for consideration is to enable the Calvert County commissioners to assign government bid openings to someone other than the county commissioners. As you probably know, the tradition for years has been that the county commissioners open the bid packages in front of the cable TV cameras and in the presence of newspaper reporters, during our regularly scheduled meetings. The process is open to all, and more important, it allows citizens at home watching the commissioners meeting on television to be able to witness the process.
There was a split vote by the county commissioners to present this legislative proposal to Calvert County's state representatives for consideration. It was a 3 to 2 vote, with three commissioners supporting it and the commissioners' president and I opposed to it. I feel that the county commissioners should continue to open the bid packages, and that the bid openings should not be moved into a back room away from the hearing room's cable TV cameras, and that the citizens have a right to know how our tax dollars are being spent. I'm not presently affiliated with the cable TV company in any way, but I know that many citizens watch the commissioners' meetings on cable TV channel 6 in order to stay informed about local government. We need more public access to review government spending. Not less!
I hope that all citizens will contact our local state representatives and let them know how you feel about this proposal before the law is changed. Thank you.
JOHN DOUGLAS PARRAN
Calvert County commissioner
Weighing In on Issues
I was reading the articles in this past Sunday's Post, and I just thought I would drop a line to agree with and disagree with several points.
Initially, the nonunion teacher who is complaining needs to suck it up and get on with life. This is no doubt an individual who thinks he is above it all and doesn't need the union while cashing the very paycheck that the union has provided for him. I say, Sir, negotiate your own contract with the state and see what your paycheck looks like. Perhaps you should reexamine who has been lobotomized.
Good on ya to the Rev. Steve Davis. You called into light the idiocy that is the media. They print what they deem to be correct without, as you pointed out, doing their homework. I doubt that anything will be said to the reporter who filed that report, when 20 years ago he would have been severely chastised for not doing what is needed for an accurate report. Remember the media is geared to the eighth-grade level, and your article certainly led the readers to believe this offender was indeed a minister (as in preacher).
Finally, Mr. Bruce Kirk, you need a dose of reality. Don't you see that your whole argument is contradictory? You are arguing that the government should not be involved ultimately while failing to see that it was that same government that authorized partial birth abortion. Partial birth abortion is simply a nice way of saying infanticide. Any way you look at it, sir, you are terminating the life of the newborn baby. In most of the free world, that is considered murder. Please.
Judgment Begins at Home
It amazes me how quickly we are to scurry for distractions when a greater truth stands before us looming like a giant.
A so-called "man of God" in Charles County has been exposed and convicted of molesting a child, and all I hear from the churches and clergy is how repentant he is and whether or not he has in the past called himself a minister. Who cares!?!
He has gone to great lengths to defile the sanctity of childhood. His repentence is irrelevant to the child he violated and the memories from which she can't escape. Whether he had credentials or not, he most certainly presented himself as a minister of music. I know, he did my wedding and I attended a church where he led worship. [He] was a trusted church figure and presented himself as such. . . . Don't make a vile situation worse by feigning some twisted indignation because of the fact that the media and the general public are outraged by this story.
Just one more fact for you. Some members of the very same churches that [he] attended [circulate] materials calling for the censorship and banning of talk radio shows such as Howard Stern's and Don and Mike's, and television shows such as "The Simpsons," "South Park" and MTV, and expressed in detail their outrage with President Clinton. Why not take the time to be a bit more introspective and stop looking elsewhere for the great moral pitfalls. Judge not lest ye be judged. . . .
DAVID M. FUNK
Housing Doesn't Equal Jobs
The citizens of Charles County are bright, intelligent people. This is why we challenge political or business leaders promoting incredible development schemes calling it economic development--incredible claims like building subdivisions might jump-start the Indian Head economy and revitalize Indian Head.
The truth is that housing does not create jobs. Housing is not economic development.
See the Fort Washington story: There are homes planted five to an acre for 20 square miles. Some are upscale homes. But where are the high-paying jobs and high-tech industry? Fort Washington has four dying malls, two empty office buildings, one empty industrial park. Highways are jammed due to three State Highway Administration F-grade intersections.
A lot can happen in 25 years: a story of how unmanaged growth causes economic ruin.
Since the dissolving of Chapman's Landing development district, a short list of business boosters want a new development district started at Mason Springs. [But] when Chapman's died, all development districts below it were automatically eliminated.
The term "upscale homes" has been thrown around loosely. At the Maryland Department of the Environment wetlands hearing, a proposed Hunters Brooke artist's drawing depicted homes placed like tiny thimbles under towering forest.
In Charles County, homes [costing] $250,000 and up have several common traits: heavily forested lots over two acres, offset lot design layout, private drives.
The proposed developer, with no wetlands permit, no final plat approval, no forestry plan has clear-cut and liquidated a large part of the forest.
The die is cast. The proposed development blueprint shows extensive small lot clustering. The homes might only have a market value of $140,000 to $160,000. Not the upscale hard sell.
Planning Commission members, are you listening? Haven't things changed since you reviewed this project? The deforestation, the claims of upscale homes not possible, the unstable soils and citizen groups who won't accept county government collaboration in bad growth. Please join the good guys and testify against this project.
Commissioner [Robert] Fuller, listen to me. You imply that private property rights would grant a builder autonomous power over the community interests, even when we all bear the cost with higher taxes.
It's "new suburban socialism." They build it; the county government subsidizes it with higher assessments. It never profits, we keep paying.
They gobble up our resources and ground water, and they clog our roads. Private property rights end at the property line. From the economic development viewpoint, this proposal is beyond worthless. . . .
Ask yourself what's in it for me? Answer: zero; so just cut the cable and let it drop.
A Members-Only Union
It would be my distinct pleasure to give the one and only solution to this "forcing" of nonunion teachers to pay a fee for unwanted representation of the union. . . .
Let the union bargain for the contract for the union members only. The nonunion teachers are on their own to bargain by themselves, for themselves the best way they know how with no backing of the union and its members.
If the teachers union is any kind of decent union, they would be the negotiator for just the union members only, period. A union fighting for nonmembers is a clown who works in a fish market.
Time for Tax Relief
I just heard on the radio that Maryland has a $1 billion budget surplus. Also mentioned were various organizations positioning themselves to suck up some of that surplus. You can be sure that this next Glendening budget will be dripping with pork fat.
What I don't understand is why we're not hearing any mention of sending some of that money back to . . . the taxpayer. Wishful thinking I guess, but we all know Glendening will create more worthless and wasteful programs that are supposed to make our life better. Those politicians in Annapolis are determined to program and handout us into bankruptcy.
I know many families living from paycheck to paycheck and picking up several part-time jobs just to make ends meet--doing so leaves tremendous strain on the family. It's like a vicious cycle; the government creates a program to help the family, the government then raises taxes to fund that program, the parents then have to work longer hours to pay the taxes, which leaves the children without adequate parental involvement, which prompts the government to create another program, which causes taxes to rise, which makes the parents work even longer and on and on it goes.
Enough already. The average family forks out over 50 percent of its income to the government in one form of tax or another, and it's time to stop the madness. When politicians start to say how they'll make your life better, stand by to have your wallet or purse picked. I would for once like a politician to promise me he'll do absolutely nothing for me. At least then I'll know the money I have left will stay where it belongs and I'll be the one to decide how it will be spent.
This next budget I'll be watching closely. I will not work or vote for any politician who votes for a budget that doesn't give tax relief to already overtaxed Marylanders.
BRIAN D. LEE
Dear Mr. Rossignol
The story in the Metro section of The Washington Post on Nov. 5 by Annie Gowen, "Tabloid Sellout Prompts Lawsuit," again demonstrates the fact that readers of news articles should not take to heart all that they read. The story that has captured headlines for over a year has changed as time goes along.
First it was reported that some of the newspapers were bought but most were stolen by sheriff's deputies. Now it seems that over 3,000 were paid for and only 300 missing. When was the last time in 10 years that that paper sold that many copies? How was it determined that the deputies bought all these papers? I, myself, bought a copy of this paper after they were delivered but didn't get a chance to read it until the next day.
Secondly, who had knowledge of the articles and headlines in that particular election eve newspaper besides Kenneth Rossignol, who was editor, publisher and owner? Did he tell someone or did the sheriff's office read his mind?
I worked that night at a convenience store in St. Mary's County, and I remember a couple of people coming in and bringing the papers to the register. They paid cash, and I probably joked that they were going to do a lot of reading. I've had many customers who purchase multiple copies of newspapers because of a story or pictures, an obituary for family and friends and some who just want the paper to pack for moving. I don't recall anything out of the ordinary about the people who bought the newspapers that night.
I do remember Mr. Rossignol coming in a little while later and telling me that he would leave 10 more copies if I would promise him that I would not sell them to anyone in law enforcement and only one to a customer. I told him I couldn't make such a promise and he again remarked that if I didn't promise he would not leave any papers and that I would lose my customers. I thought the request was strange and possibly illegal. I didn't think that I had the right to ask customers if they were law officers.
I also felt threatened and intimidated by Mr. Rossignol. He left, taking his papers with him. I didn't know that someone's civil rights could be violated by selling more than one copy of any newspaper to anyone wishing to purchase it. I have talked to a number of clerks who worked the election eve shift, and no one seems to remember feeling threatened or intimidated by anyone who purchased the newspapers.
Thirdly, didn't Mr. Rossignol realize that his readership had dropped and was on a decline for some time? The paper was getting thinner and thinner as time went by. Almost everyone has his supporters--from the pornographer to the president--but that doesn't mean they have the majority of the people. To find out how much support you do have, you take the number of people in a given area and subtract the number of supporters you do have, add a plus or minus for a margin of error, and if you have 60 percent support you are on the right track. Mr. Rossignol keeps extolling remarks about support, but I really doubt that it was very significant and somehow doubt that the election eve newspaper would have changed the outcome of the election.
Mr. Rossignol, it's time to move on and get a positive attitude on the great things happening in St. Mary's County. In other words, Mr. Rossignol, get a life.
MARGIT K. MILLER
Educator Shares Honor
On Wednesday, Oct. 6, I was completely surprised when I was recognized by the Milken Foundation as one of four excellent educators in the State of Maryland. This recognition included a financial award of $25,000. Since this time, I have received an outpouring of congratulations from dignitaries, administrators, fellow educators, current and former students, parents and other community members. My heartfelt thanks goes to each and every one of these people for their sincerity and genuine happiness toward the recognition.
After having time to reflect on this award, I have come to the realization that being recognized by the Milken Family Foundation is not only a success for me personally, but for Charles County Public Schools as well. My award symbolizes the commitment that our school system has made toward educational improvement. Under the leadership of our county superintendent, Mr. James Richmond; associate superintendent, Mr. Ronald Cunningham; and assistant superintendent of instruction, Dr. John Cox, teachers in Charles County have received opportunities to grow professionally and become better prepared to educate the children in our communities. . . .
I would also like to recognize and thank my "family" at John Hanson Middle School. The administrators of the school, Mr. Heath Morrison, principal; Ms. Doreen Brandes, assistant principal; and Mr. Nate Collins, assistant principal, have created an atmosphere where students enjoy coming to school and are ready to learn. . . .
I believe that the Milken Family Foundation award that I received is the first of many awards that Charles County teachers will be receiving in the future. Our county has made education a priority, and the full benefits of this are yet to be seen. Thank you, Charles County, for making me a successful educator in your community.
Teacher, John Hanson