Five changes; for a better quality of life
The Adequate Facilities Ordinance, or AFO, should stand for the public is All Fouled Out of the process. When you read the document, you find the truth.
The director of Planning and Code Enforcement (PACE), which should be renamed Policy Authorized by the County Executive, has the final say on growth. If he or she decides that growth is in the best interests of the county, it takes place -- no matter how inadequate any facility might be.
The county has done poor planning for 20 years on roads, sidewalks and storm water management. However, these items affect our quality of life on a daily basis.
A few years ago, the school board met with the County Council and was asked to consider countywide school redistricting. We did more than consider it, we did it. Did the county do anything? Yes, it negotiated secret deals with developers in the Crofton area. I want to thank the county for thumbing its nose at our redistricting effort in Crofton. Recommendation: No more secret meetings and deals.
You cannot overcome a tax cap with total growth. You cannot provide little or no infrastructure in reference to roads, sidewalks and schools. This is a recipe for total chaos. The arrogance exhibited by the county on housing development borders on the absurd. It's time for close and thorough scrutiny of the new county General Development Plan.
Comprehensive re-zoning should face three basic hurdles: Is the infrastructure in place? If not, who pays for it? Last but certainly not least, no infrastructure or way to make infrastructure happen, no growth in that area. Period.
Waivers -- I mean favors and deals with developers -- are making the county a place where developers drool. Planning and code officials have so much vision that they lack common sense and sweat no details on the fallout of growth.
I do not want to hear excuses about roads being state- or city-controlled. If the county created or helped create the problems, then do the right thing for the citizens and fix the problems.
The present policies, if allowed to say in place for the next few years, will continually erode the quality of life in the county: Traffic jams caused by inadequate roads (and I live in Pasadena, Md., not Pasadena, Calif.). Inadequate street lights where traffic and public safety are at risk. Inadequate sidewalks. Poor storm water management. Areas in the county where we have 700-plus children in elementary schools. Do not add 10 more years of poor planning to the 20 that have passed.
I've got five major recommendations for the county to help its image with its citizens:
* Televise County Council meetings on cable.
* Televise Board of Education meetings.
* Re-write the Adequate Facilities Ordinance.
* A single cut sheet for all county departments, which would include sign-offs by all department heads and the school board on roads and sidewalks, water/sewerage, storm water management, infill lots and schools.
* Development fees (impact and waivers): One general fund for the county instead of seven separate funds in which some districts have so few dollars that nothing will take place for years.
Thomas R. Twombly
The writer is a member of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.
Invoking sympathy for killer was disgraceful
The story published Sept. 18, "A Loving Father's Tragic Solution," was a disgrace. How you could publish such dribble is beyond belief.
To say that there was some sort of desperate logic that provoked this murder of innocent children is preposterous. It wasn't bad enough that your story tried to justify what this maniac did to his family, but the story went on to portray his wife as such a bad person that she somehow drove him to this unspeakable deed. What was it that the children did wrong?
Why do the media insist on trashing the victims when this kind of horror happens? As a loving parent, I was appalled at your story and I really get tired of reading about how having a hard life is reason enough to kill. I wish you would stick to the facts, and not try to invokve sympathy for murderers.
A worthy project for student service
I would be hard pressed to prove my point, but as I walk my little dog several times a day around main county roads, I see a lot more trash discarded along the road since school started. And, in the May-June timeframe, the books, notebooks and paper -- I guess thrown from the free school bus I help provide -- is unbelievable.
If people are looking for an acceptable assignment of public service for the li'l darlings, let them be assigned to helping clear -- litter from the roads. Then, maybe they will have a fuller appreciation of the law -- its fines never enforced -- that says "No littering."
John J. Miara