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Letters: Critical Trump banner not hate speech; Opposed to rezoning Zabel properties | READER COMMENTARY

Critical Trump banner not hate speech

Expressing a view that may be offensive doesn’t equate to hate speech. Hate speech is abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation. Therefore, Del. Haven Shoemaker’s accusation of hate speech (“Anti-Trump banner displayed at Carroll County school administrator’s house draws criticism”) is unfounded because “Trump voters” are a varied group of individuals who have similar political views.

Shoemaker also educates us on where our right to free speech ends. That is, “hate speech and language apt to incite violence.” That’s true however, the banner doesn’t say “riot” or “kill”. If offended Trump voters organize a riot that’s their choice. They would be held responsible for the outcome of the riot; not the person displaying the banner. You may hate what you see, but that doesn’t make it hate speech.

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Shoemaker then goes on to say, he is appalled as a tax payer and called for the superintendent to take action. My interpretation of this statement is that he would like to see Mr. Jones fired for expressing his view. Shoemaker continues, “it absolutely reflects poorly on our schools at a time when many are concerned that left-wing indoctrination runs rampant throughout our public schools.” If by “left -wing” indoctrination he means a pedagogy that teaches equality and inclusion, then we can understand why Shoemaker is so offended by this banner.

Jan Stambaugh, adds that the issue was not political but that “a known educator ... would hang an offensive flag.” Perhaps these are prime examples as to why the CCPS system cannot retain a diverse staff. For one, our county likes to make racism and xenophobia partisan issues when they are in fact, humanitarian issues. Then, we tell CCPS employees that they are not welcome to express their personal views on personal time for the sake of professionalism. Especially when those views are the minority in this county. 

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If I were a person of color, I would not like to work in an environment where my co-workers were unable to express their support for equality and the ending of systemic racism in fear of pushing a “left-wing” agenda. In Carroll County, we like to use politeness as an excuse to face issues. In his campaign against offensive banners will Shoemaker plan to vet Carroll residents displaying the Confederate flag in case they might happen to be CCPS employees?

Glenda Walsh Crouse

Westminster

Opposed to rezoning Zabel properties

We used to live in Severn until the day the woods behind our home was bulldozed and crowded with cookie-cutter houses. We no longer wanted to live in a county that prioritized development first and community last. We moved to Carroll for the friendly community, open spaces, neighborhoods with larger lot sizes, good schools, low levels of crime, and lack of traffic congestion. We believed we would be able to live here through retirement.

Sadly, we now find ourselves in the same situation we were in before — receiving a rude awakening as we discover plans to cram in high-density housing right next to our home. We have happily lived here for over 25 years, but that will end if this type of high-density, uncontrolled development is allowed to proceed without due consideration of: the impact on traffic/roads — Ridge Road, Marriottsville 2 and Marriottsville Road can’t support the addition of 600+ more cars — the overcrowded state of the local schools as they swell to absorb the children from 280+ new homes, environmental issues as the Zabel property runoff drains into Piney Run and the Patapsco, and the quality of life and desire of residents living in the communities impacted by the proposed zoning change.

The Zabel rezoning was given an initial favorable recommendation by the Carroll County Department of Planning in their Comprehensive Zoning Assessment Reports. These reports are a rush to judgment. The residential zoning text code changes that impact the potential development of R20,000 zoned properties have not been completed, so the community doesn’t even know the type of housing that might go on this land.

It is obvious during every public meeting on this subject that the Department of Planning’s initial decision does not represent the desires of local residents as every community member who has spoken has been against this rezoning. We ask that the county reconsider this zoning change and take the due diligence of conducting updated and comprehensive traffic surveys on all impacted roads, fully evaluating school capacity, performing a full environmental analysis, and completing the necessary text changes to the residential zoning changes before making any recommendations on rezoning. Also, please consider that rezoning and the subsequent development would severely impact the nature of the community and degrade the quality of life currently enjoyed by the voting and tax-paying residents in the Marriottsville/Eldersburg/Sykesville community.

Jeanne Barker

Marriottsville

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