No one subject has grabbed my full attention so I would like to offer my thoughts on a couple of subjects that may be of your interest as well.
Locally, there are some disputes. From the zoning and annexation of property in the Sykesville area to the continuing flap over the closing of North Carroll High School in Hampstead and what to do with the building and its grounds.
In Sykesville, the town council has delayed the approval of the annexation of property, which presently is outside the town limits, proposed to be used for a townhouse community. It seems that there is an additional small parcel of industrially zoned property that the council would like to have included in the annexation proposal, but the developer of the proposed residential community has no interest in adding it to the purchase of the property and the seller hasn't included it in any of the sale negotiations to date. Now, I understand the town wanting to add to its industrial tax base, but to delay a project that has already passed muster with the county commissioners and the other agencies that regulate such matters seems to be a bit short-sighted. I think that the project should be approved and if the industrial property is desired, separate negotiations should be started for that piece.
In Hampstead, folks are still up in arms about the closing of North Carroll and the other two schools closed in 2016. The issue is the transparency with which those decisions were made and the effects of the closings on the communities affected. This was in relation to the recent report by the Redistricting and School Closure Commission and what, if anything, will come from the report. I'm of the opinion that the county needs a complete review of the school boundaries on all levels and adjustments, if needed, have to be made. Inadequate facilities and buildings long past their prime need to be closed or replaced. The remaining schools should have regular preventative maintenance on their major systems and structures in order to prevent the failures of roofs, HVAC and electrical systems. All of our students need physically safe and ADA compliant buildings in which to learn without being overcrowded.
I'm dismayed nearly to the point of anger at our Chief Twit, Donald Trump, and his stand vis-a-vis the Saudi Crown Prince and his complicity in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi ex-patriot and Washington Post journalist. Trump has repudiated the findings of the U.S. Intelligence agencies that Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew of the murder plot, or more likely, personally ordered the murder. He cites the now-low gas prices and the sales of arms to the Saudis as reasons to back the Prince. Factually, the U.S imports a relatively small portion of our oil from Saudi Arabia and the loss of that amount would only raise our cost of gas by pennies a gallon. As for the arms sales, what we sell to them is being used primarily in the border war with Yemen and not to destroy ISIS or Al-Qaeda. As well, not selling arms to the Saudis wouldn't hurt our economy at all. It just seems that “The Donald” has an affinity for tyrants and dictators.
Another thing that vexes me about the President is his willingness — almost eagerness — to shut down portions of the government if Congress does not fund his border wall that, by the way, he promised that Mexico would pay for. I'm all for protecting our borders and requiring potential immigrants to follow the rules before entering the country, but I'm not for having armed troops lobbing tear gas at those who wish for asylum in our country or separating parents from children, or warehousing potential immigrants in unsanitary and vastly overcrowded compounds simply because the bureaucracy can't or won't process the applications for entry into the country in a timely manner. If those charged with processing the applications are overwhelmed, hire more people.
Lastly, the President's penchant for denying the reports of the scientific community on the matter of climate change makes me wonder how smart the man is. If something goes against his “gut feelings” he dismisses it as false or his favorite phrase, “fake news”. He simply can't — or won't — consider the possibility that someone is smarter than he is when most Americans are.