The middle ground in growth debate
Principles before personalities. That's the growing sentiment
among Carroll County citizens regarding the issue of growth and its effects on our way of life. Many of my constituents have made it clear that they want me to put principles before personalities when it comes to their home and community -- and forget partisan bickering and mudslinging.
The issue of growth is very clear to me: Can we manage growth without denying family farms their property rights? My answer is swift and sure: Yes. The Constitution guarantees due process anytime the state wishes to limit private property. The Constitution also establishes the separation of powers to ensure that our rights are not ignored by one branch without the remedial action of another branch.
At the present time, the executive branch of county government has attempted to satisfy "managed growth" advocates by appointments to certain boards, which is its prerogative.
The legislative branch of state government has attempted to protect property rights by revising the state code, which is its prerogative.
Somewhere in the middle, the people of Carroll County have tried to let their voices be heard. I believe both camps on the issue want to allow family farms to sell six acres out of 120 for development.
The farmers acquiesced to the county on this issue decades ago when they didn't have to, back when farmers had the largest voting block. To their credit, they voluntarily limited themselves to one acre of sell-off per 20. The county assured family farmers that if they gave an "inch," the county wouldn't take a "mile." A gentleman's agreement was made.
It seems to me that many "managed-growth" citizens are willing to embrace the family farmers' position on that point. What they aren't willing to allow is non-farmers developing their land without adequate facility scrutiny. Therein lies the great debate.
Since the governor exercised his prerogative and vetoed the legislation that included the non-farm variance, it's a given that such legislation cannot be successful in the upcoming session. But a delegation bill that allows family farms an exclusive right to develop a maximum of six acres per 120, and not anyone else, without adequate facility scrutiny can be agreed upon by both camps.
As for me, I shall not turn my back on the constitutional property rights of the family farmer. But I also cannot ignore the constitutional separation of powers by turning a deaf ear or a blind eye to the authority of the executive branch of county or state governments. That's why I'm a Republican. I believe in representation, not brute force.
To do otherwise invites anarchy wherein witch hunts prevail, all in the name of party unity or personal favoritism. In the final analysis, I'm a constitutionalist first, a Republican second. Let's protect the family farmer and manage growth, too. But, let's do it the constitutional way. Not according to the dictates of any party or personality. It's principle that matters here. Now more than ever.
The writer is a state senator representing Legislative District 4 in Carroll and Frederick counties.
Media coddle extremists
A recent news report revealed that on July 26 a Disabled American Veterans service center in New Orleans had to close early after receiving threats of violence because President Clinton was scheduled to address the organization's national convention.
One person threatened to blow up the building and another threatened to just come in and start shooting people. The report states that the calls began coming into the center after a local conservative talk show host urged listeners to protest Mr. Clinton's planned appearance at the DAV national convention there on Sunday.
This is another example of the disturbing affect that conservative views have on the minds of those who are easily inflamed or simply have a personal disgust for the president. This disturbs me greatly because Mr. Clinton is my president, and the legitimate winner of the last presidential election. It would appear that the conservatives suffer from a bad case of sour grapes and the normal result should be to simply wait until the next election and vote against him.
It is amazing how much venom has been directed at this leader and his family simply because his views do not coincide completely with some others. Some people show barbaric disgust to the president simply because he didn't serve in the military and supposedly opposed the war in Vietnam.
These extremists consider him unpatriotic, although 20 years later many leaders who supported the war now admit it was a mistake. It could be argued that those protesters were instrumental in bringing the administration to realize this too, thus ending the war sooner and saving American lives. Certainly, it could be understood by some that the protesters indeed were also patriotic.
Other fanatics show their hate because the president introduced legislation to end discrimination against gays and lesbians, and although their lifestyle has very little effect on those who hate them, this act by the president is considered immoral.
It appears to me, and I am sure many others would agree, that the right of people to pursue their own lifestyle, as long as it does not interfere with the safety and freedom of others, must be protected since this is precisely what the new America was founded on. Also, the belief that abortions should be safe, legal and rare, as proposed by Mr. Clinton, is truly the proper American decision.
Perhaps these things to some are immoral, but I, for one, would never be presumptuous enough to decide what only God can comprehend. The bottom line is the moral implications of these matters belong in church discussions, Sunday school and the role models of parents to their children -- not in the politics of America.
This hate, instigated by conservative leaders and directed at the president and his wife, disturbs me because a civilized society cannot exist for long when its citizens show their scorn by calling the president and his wife malicious names. People showing this kind of example to their children and grandchildren are simply paving the road to anarchy.
The worst offenders in this unfortunate craze are the editors and station managers who blatantly prey on these hostile personalities to sell ads. They have the ability and the responsibility, because of the power of the mode of mass communication which they control, to maintain a high level of professional integrity. They forfeit this simply to make money.
It is my belief that, God forbid, should some [person] harm the president or his wife and family, the offended citizens of America would have a perfect right to file a class action suit against these people who control our TV, radio and newspaper media. Lord knows, the archives are full of tapes and articles that will, beyond a doubt, prove compliance.
Condemning acts of racial hate
The American Baha'i community, composed of members who belong to all races and ethnic groups, recoils in horror from the acts of arson perpetrated against black and multi-racial churches in the United States. Whether committed by demented individuals or malevolent terrorist conspirators, these acts are directed at all humanity.
We believe that attacks against black churches are ugly manifestations of ingrained racism an affront to human dignity, a cause of hatred and division, a disease that devastates society.
The Baha'i community has struggled for more than 100 years to help eradicate racism and build an America where all are equal. We also know that our brothers and sisters whose churches have been destroyed are not the only victims.
This entire nation has been hurt and diminished by the malice of a few. However, we do not want this occasion to pass without affirming our unshaken conviction that prejudice, separatism and division shall fail, and humanity shall continue on its inevitable march toward unity and peace.
Ravens treated town to unsportsmanlike conduct
Last Friday was a much anticipated day for my children. They were going to the Ravens' training camp for the morning workout. They have grown up with seemingly endless news reports of teams moving to Baltimore and not moving to Baltimore, and then, at last, the Baltimore Ravens. We watched as signs went up all over our community welcoming the team to camp. We went to the college before opening day to see the fields where the players would be, and we bought the shirts and hats to display our pride in our team.
They watched the workout, amazed by the amount and size of the players, then with shirts, markers and friends in tow waited to collect a much prized possession -- autographs. They would like to thank players Quentin Neujahr, Jonathan Ogden and Calvin Williams and head coach Ted Marchibroda for taking time sign their names. As for the other players who could not take time to say "hello" and sign an autograph for four little girls, they left us feeling disappointed and disinterested in the team.
This problem doesn't end there, however. When I called the training camp office to express my concerns, the receptionist assured me that someone from public relations would return my call. I did not hear back from anyone in the Ravens office so I can only assume that the fans are as unimportant to them as they are to the players.
It is time for professional athletes to accept the responsibility that comes with the positions they have chosen. They are role models and must treat people of all ages with respect in order to earn respect. Hugh salaries do not earn respect. Their behavior sends a message to the young people of this community.
I participated last week in the Cycling Around Maryland activity as a volunteer. On July 25, we camped on the campus of the Western Maryland College in Westminster, where the Baltimore Ravens were practicing.
As a volunteer, I was taking care of a lady who had a bad arm and a broken pelvis because of an accident during the tour. Due to her situation, I tried to find a place to put her tent close to the main facilities of the activity. I put her tent beside a sign indicating the direction where Ravens' souvenirs were on sale. In less than an hour, a young man came "raving" that this was Ravens' area and we should move the tent.
I tried to explain to him the situation but he was insistent that we move the tent. Needless to say, the tent did not interfere with the Ravens' activities.
I moved the tent to another suggested site, but again they told us that we had to move because they were expecting 1,500 visitors to attend the afternoon practice and they would drink beer and might become rowdy. Indeed, in a few minutes, a Budweiser truck came and parked in the area across the entrance of the main offices of the college.
Is that the way the public relations people of the Ravens will handle the people of Maryland? Where is the compassion? A final question to the Maryland officials boasting about the Ravens: Is the purpose of moving a football team to Baltimore to promote the beer sales on our school campuses and our cities in general?
Emmanuel G. Tzanakis
Pub Date: 8/18/96