11:58 AM EDT, April 25, 2013
I would like to suggest that our county officials need to practice what they preach – Choose Civility. Recently after coming back from an event in Baltimore City we returned via Route 175 and were shocked to see the bright lights of Blandair on full blast at just after 10 p.m. It was the first time that we became aware of why some of our fellow residents in Oakland Mills were so adamant in their dislike of these lights which are basically now in their back yard. The lights are as bright as Orioles Stadium! It looks like aliens have landed a spaceship — you can see the glow several neighborhoods away.
Our county government and community has promoted Choose Civility for many years - you see it on bumper stickers everywhere. Just what is civility? Clearly civility is more than about being polite to others. According to the website for the Institute for Civility in Government, "Civility is claiming and caring for one's identity, needs and beliefs, without degrading someone else's in the process. ... It is characterized by true respect for others." Some say it is a variation of the "golden rule," do unto others as you yourself would like to be treated.
I participated in the early meetings where Howard County Parks and Recreation assured residents that any lights that would be put in Blandair would not be noticeable to those living nearby. The evidence from my ride by them on Route 175 clearly shows that is clearly not the case — they are overwhelming. The county has turned what was billed to be "Columbia's Central Park" into a stadium. Not only are these lights overly bright, but what are they doing on at 10 p.m.? Surely the sports activity should be completed substantially prior to that time.
So I say, shame on Howard County government for allowing Parks and Recreation to do this. I can only imagine the cost of these obnoxious lights. Especially shame to Calvin Ball for allowing this to happen in his own back yard. As our first Community Organizer in Oakland Mills, he was part of bringing Choose Civility to our village well before he become our representative on the County Council. These lights may be welcomed by those who enjoy sports, and can't get enough to meet their needs. However, by allowing these lights and sports activities to take place at late hours the county is degrading the lives of those who live nearby. Hardly civil. Hardly characterized by true respect for others. And, hardly treating others as you would like to be treated.
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