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Yates dismissal of Baltimore was embarrassmentThe article...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Yates dismissal of Baltimore was embarrassment

The article in The Sun on March 20, entitled, "Officials bypass area event discussing racial problems" by Mary Gail Hare, was well-written and addressed clearly the crucial need for citizens of Carroll County to join with our sisters and brothers from the city to address the issue of racism.

"If Baltimore City dies, it dies. Maybe we will dig it up and make farmland out of it."

"Why should we bail Baltimore out or be drawn into its problems? We have no race relations problems here."

These comments by Commissioner Richard Yates were an embarrassment not only to him as a public official, but to every citizen of Carroll County. The fact that he would make those comments insinuates that a closed-minded attitude of racism does exist in Carroll and needs to be addressed.

"Call to Community: An Honest Conversation about Race, Reconciliation and Responsibility," is an attempt to face our differences in a life giving way. We call upon the citizens of Carroll County to communicate with Commissioner Yates that his comments are unacceptable and that indeed we do have racial attitudes which need to be addressed.

Mary B. Pulick

Westminster

Commissioner Yates, were you serious?

This is in the form of an open letter sent to Richard Yates, president of the Board of Commissioners, in response to the application to be appointed to the charter board sent to me on April 1:

When I received your letter, I thought at first it was an April Fool's prank, given the date it was sent. Then I realized you were quite serious that I should fill out this application, even though my name had been submitted when the charter petitions were turned in. I thought, "What a waste of taxpayers' money to print an application in the paper, though the commissioners did have the foresight to print it only once in one paper, and to waste printing costs and postage to mail this to me, when they already know I am willing to be appointed."

Then I reviewed the application and wondered why it was so detailed, asking for personal information having no bearing on my ability to be on the board. So I answered the questions relevant to this volunteer position and returned it.

I fail to see the need for my Social Security number, unless you want to run a credit check, in which case it is none of your business. It is also not relevant how long I have lived in Carroll County, though it has been more than 35 years. My previous address is also not relevant. Previous political/public interest activity is also not relevant. It should suffice that I am a registered voter in this county, willing to serve and pro-charter. Oops! There's the kiss of death. Of course, I've known you for years and even worked on your 1990 campaign, but that too is not relevant to my ability to be on the charter board.

I sincerely hope you appoint pro-charter people to write the charter, thus giving the voters the choice they want. But given your recent actions, I doubt you will. Prove me wrong.

Frank H. Rammes

Finksburg

Separating fallacy from fact on growth

Libraries and theaters, who needs them? All one needs to satisfy an appetite for fiction is the March 16 edition of The Sun in Carroll with Edward Primoff's litany of preconceived fallacies of everyone in the growth grudge-match

Fallacy: In his letter, he refers to "the same small handful of citizens who have done nothing except whine, complain and personally attack the farmers and individuals who don't agree with their no-growth agenda, almost all of whom have moved into the Eldersburg area in the past few years."

Fact: That "handful" may not be as small or as populated by newcomers as Mr. Primoff would like to believe. I am reminded of a quote from the Nov. 9, 1994, edition of The Sun, "What you want is not what you are getting in Carroll County." The article continued: "[His] hard line on growth also included a pledge to impose a building moratorium if facilities such as schools, roads and water and sewer are not in place to handle the growth." And who was this whining, no-growth extremist? None other than the redoubtable Commissioner Richard Yates, giddy over his election victory.

Fallacy: So-called "no-growth" people contribute nothing to the county. "They call themselves activists," Mr. Primoff wrote, "but has anyone ever seen any of them helping?"

Fact: Yes, I have seen them working at Farm Museum activities, fire department carnivals, craft shows and in county government forums. I did not realize that Mr. Primoff kept such meticulous statistics of county volunteerism. And let's stop applying this "no growth" term to people who simply want to see an intelligent county growth plan just because we are not members of the "growth at any cost gang."

Major fallacy: "According to statistics provided by state and county planning offices, our growth has been less than 2 percent (among the lowest in the state)."

The real facts: This particularly egregious claim is contradicted by several sources. According to the Carroll County Master Plan Update Background Report (Feb. 18, 1997), the county's growth rate is 2.5 percent per year over the past 16 years. The Freedom District and environs absorbed 49 percent of residential and 28 percent of commercial development for all nine county Community Planning Areas during 1996. Carroll's population has grown 16 percent since 1990 (The Sun, March 24).

As for being "among the lowest in the state," that is simply wrong. During the 1990s, Carroll has been the fifth-fastest growing county (out of 23) in the state (University of Maryland, Highlights of Population Trends in Maryland).

Fallacy: "If they have their way, we soon will be paying unimaginable taxes."

Fact: Carroll County has the highest government service costs within the metropolitan region: $1,434 per year per taxpayer (The Sun, July 29, 1996). Our property tax rate increased 27 cents last year to pay for school construction and road improvements. The county piggyback tax increased from 50 percent to 58 percent to pay for new schools.

No growth could bring economic hardship for small local builders and farmers (those who actually farm for a living). Growth at any cost will produce the urban blight that already characterizes so many other areas in surrounding counties. Controlled growth with a balance between high tech, industrial, commercial and residential development, and strong supporting infrastructure, open space and agricultural preservation, can benefit everyone.

Guess which option is also the most difficult to achieve? We should expect and demand the commissioners, Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals to do their jobs and ensure that any development is supported by the necessary infrastructure.

Jay Barringer

Eldersburg

'Activists' not in it for the 'thrills'

Since I was out of town when Hoby Wolf's letter appeared on March 30, I had no opportunity to respond until now. I took offense to his suppositions that those of us who call ourselves "community activists" are only doing so to have our names in the newspapers for some cheap thrill.

There are far more gratifying things I can find to do with my time than attend county meetings and write to the newspapers. In fact, often times other people will call to tell me of items in the papers because I find I have less and less time to read the news.

I have volunteered for both the cancer and leukemia foundations. I was a VIPS member -- Volunteers in (State) Police Service. I initiated a neighborhood community association and helped start a Neighborhood Watch and McGruff House program. I volunteered with the Pets on Wheels and also programs to help the elderly and senior citizens, and, just recently, was selected as one of 30 people across the state to attend a four-day training program on becoming a "master naturalist." That will entail learning about new ways to protect our rapidly decreasing wildlife and natural environment and then sharing that information with interested members of the community. I also attended a Maryland Office of Planning course last year with other "activists" from the Freedom District to learn about how planning is supposed to work.

As chair of the Freedom Area Community Planning Council, I have embarked on a campaign to help the Freedom Fire Department with its bid for a third, badly needed, ambulance, and also am planning to conduct a voter registration drive in South Carroll. I have been active in the charter government movement and, yes, I have taken an interest in the quality of life of my community by voicing not just my opinions publicly, but those of others who have expressed immense support.

Guess I am just genuinely interested in South Carroll, but I bet Mr. Wolf will find that hard to understand. Too bad, he might learn something from activists like me.

Carolyn Fairbank

Eldersburg

Pub Date: 4/20/97

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