Community Input Legislation Needed
Do you recall the company that proposed building a mall at Md. 24 and Interstate 95? Councilwoman Theresa M. Pierno organized the Community Coalition, which militated against the mall and succeeded in stopping it. That company at least was honest and upfront with its intentions.
Now take a look at Wal-Mart in the same location. There appears to have been some sort of agreement between Wal-Mart, the property owner, Planning and Zoning and Permits to be secretive until it was too late for community input.
The location is unfortunate because of the poor design of the I-95 southbound exit plus the inadequate ability of Md. 24 to carry the traffic that Wal-Mart attracts. With Wal-Mart's opening, an area has been created with the potential for the greatest accident rate in Harford County. Now with additional companies requesting permits to build in the same area, the residents still have no input.
Councilwomen Pierno and Susan B. Heselton, recognizing the serious gap in protecting neighborhoods from undesirable encroachment, have proposed "community input legislation." This will assure that secret deals will no longer take place without community awareness and input. . . .
The "community input legislation" requires intensive public support. You can be certain the developers, contractors and Realtors will be furiously lobbying for their profits and selfish interests heedless of community welfare.
If you enjoy heavy traffic in your community or if you want such undesirable neighbors as heavy industry or commerce, halfway houses or undesirable institutions, then do nothing. Guaranteed, you will eventually have some of these neighbors. It will take the public's concerted action to get this bill passed. You are faced with a choice: Support it now or regret it later.
Lawrence A. Battaglia
On Sept. 10, you noted two schoolroom problems: incivility and teacher-student sex (the Price trial). What you didn't note was how logical these behaviors may seem given what seems to be the worldview among educational policy-makers.
If education at its root is really over socialization instead of truth, isn't it easy for students to conclude all is mere opinion? And if so, why tolerate imposition of the opinions of their educators, including the opinion that civility ought to characterize classrooms? . . .
Charles A. Clough
County Executive Eileen Rehrmann's effort to restructure the Harford County sheriff's department has been met with a cacophony of complaints and arguments. The volume achieved by the resultant furor seems disproportionately high for the magnitude of the issue, which is, essentially, the reorganization of law enforcement agencies to accommodate a growing community. However, anyone who has raised his voice or clenched his fist when debating the question can tell you that far more is involved.
Those who favor the status quo do so for a variety of reasons. Some, of course, support Sheriff Robert E. Comes and his staff either out of loyalty to Comes or appreciation of the past performance of the sheriff's office. Others (and these are the most impassioned voices) rail against relinquishing any of the control left to them as citizens.
Watching the Rehrmann administration chip away at our individual rights and our power to direct our own democracy, we begin to flinch at every attempt to make us, as voters, more impotent. . . .
Eileen Rehrmann has become adept at circumventing the processes that have been put in place to protect our voice in government. . . . The experts brought in from the state to support her arguments for restructuring the sheriff's department drew their conclusions from the same misinformation that was fed to the public. Sheriff Comes maintains that threats to withhold provision of legal counsel were made against him and Maj. E. Dale Zepp should Major Zepp refuse to retire.
To add insult to injury, we are asked to accept the argument that an appointed head of law enforcement for the county would make the position less subject to political influence. How can that be when the appointment itself is the first political debt that must be repaid? . . .
The ultimate issue is not how our law enforcement agencies should be organized, but who should control the agencies we create to serve us. Not only should the sheriff's department issue be put to referendum, that vote should be the voters' first step in reclaiming their power from a manipulative would-be matriarch.