South County is not against development
The Sun's notion that residents of southern Anne Arundel County are "anti-development," or that we believe the Small Area Planning process will allow us to "veto particular types of development" is flat out wrong.
Most South County citizens know the Small Area Plans offer communities a way to encourage responsible development. That's why they support the process and want to see it work.
Your Feb. 9 editorial, "Paper or plastic -- or neither?", indicates your lack of understanding of these realities.
I know of no residents of Shady Side or Deale who, as The Sun editorial claims, are treating "proposals by Safeway, Food Lion and Shoppers Food Warehouse as though they were designs for toxic waste dumps."
Many, in fact, believe a new supermarket might enhance life on the Shady Side peninsula if the costs are not too steep.
What citizens do want is a clear accounting of all of those costs: What environmental damage will result given that the Safeway site is next to Rockhold Creek, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay only a few hundred yards away.
What of Food Lion's proposed complex in a wetlands?
How many neighborhood businesses will be lost?
Will already serious traffic problems worsen?
How many more of our wells will dry up because of the store's impact on ground water?
Most important, when the county government has recently forged a new partnership with citizens to review, rezone and restructure local growth -- the Small Area Plans -- why not let the process work before large and possibly misplaced commercial centers are built?
The Sun insists that citizens should embrace these new strip malls and "capitalize on this willingness to invest in South County." Yet, somehow, we are to simultaneously force these large commercial interests to "adhere to strong standards of community preservation and environmental protection." Finding ways to revitalize commercial areas and deciding how our communities will grow is the job of citizens, not of Safeway, Food Lion or Shoppers Food Warehouse.
Amanda Spake, Churchton
The writer is vice president of South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development.
Heed Sullam's call on reforms
I was pleased to read Brian Sullam's support for a county whistle-blower law ("More trash than tips likely on fraud hot line," Jan. 31).
This proposal is not new. Del. John R. Leopold, R-Pasadena, and I testified before the Anne Arundel County Council to urge enactment of such an ordinance in July 1992. Mr. Leopold stated at the time that over the years a number of county employees brought to his attention that their job status and working conditions were adversely impacted after they brought to light alleged instances of abuse and mismanagement by their superiors.
I definitely agree with Mr. Sullam that the county should provide a "work environment in all county departments where subordinates are encouraged to make suggestions" and hope his call for reform will be heard at the Arundel Center.
Walter Holtz, Severna Park
High crimes and low blows
The economy is good.
The unemployment rate is down.
I don't believe the American people want Mike Tyson to go to prison.
Jack Carleton, Pasadena
Dredge recycling better than a track?
The powers that be in Anne Arundel County have decided that a "dredge spoils recycling operation" (or, for us non-politicos, a waste dump) would be far better economically than a NASCAR-style racetrack. I imagine next they'll be trying to sell their constituents on the health benefits of PCBs in their drinking water.
I never cease to be amazed at how the unscrupulous can manipulate the uneducated.
William Smith, Baltimore
Racetrack site better undeveloped
I have read numerous articles and heard opinions for and against the proposed speedway in Pasadena.
As an avid NASCAR fan, my family and I travel to Dover Downs twice annually to attend the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Grand National races there.
A recent issue of a racing magazine to which I subscribe stated that NASCAR officials have no intention of authorizing a WC or BGN event at this speedway if and when it is built.
Lesser-known levels of NASCAR do not have nearly the fan base of the others. In addition, reliance upon Indy-type racing for fan support would doom this facility has an expensive failure.
With these issues in mind, perhaps the land for this proposed project could remain undeveloped, a true rarity in northern Anne Arundel County.
Bill Hubbard, Ferndale
Councilwoman stood her ground
Being a NASCAR fan and all it was hard to swallow the pill. But if you look at it from a citizens perspective, indeed the site chosen for the raceway wasn't suitable.
Kudos to A. Shirley Murphy for standing her ground as County Council chambers filled with race fans wearing hard hats and team colors. Too bad former county councilman Thomas W. Redmond didn't do things the right way. I think that citizens of Anne Arundel County should thank Ms. Murphy for standing up against things being done the wrong way.
Eddie S. Cochran, Pasadena
Student unfairly penalized
The Feb. 13 article, "Student barks, teacher frets," describes an Anne Arundel County math teacher who says she has been followed and hounded by a student she helped keep out of the National Honor Society.
School systems do have too much power. They are above reproach. This student's constitutional right to freedom of speech was violated when the teacher retaliated because he challenged her grading system.
Meanwhile, the appeals process violates the student's due process: The judge and jury are not fair or impartial; the student cannot confront his accusers; the student is denied access to the evidence, his own school records, contrary to federal education laws.
In summary, the student is not eligible for scholarships because he had the audacity to write a letter stating his teacher's grading system was not "precise."
Anne Buschell, Crownsville
For four years, I've been a "hound" pursuing the local and state boards of education, then the Maryland judicial system, to end illegal discrimination in our schools. "Unconstitutionally" vague education laws, which specify "may" vs. "shall" suspend or expel, enable school administrators to interpret what, if any, discipline they "may" render for infractions of school rules.
Based on five years' statistics in Anne Arundel County, administrators choose to suspend and expel minority males three times more often than their Caucasian counterparts.
Although I knew there was a casual connection between discipline and academic performance, I only recently discovered what Franklin Pierce Wright, III, realized in 9th grade. Similar to school discipline, academic ratings are subjective and can be artificially manipulated. How?
I commend Mr. Wright for his astute observation and courage. Unfortunately, empowered by unconstitutionally vague laws, school officials sometimes retaliate and hide themselves in a "shroud of secrecy," denying the student and his parents access to pertinent records.
It is only through efforts such as Mr. Wright's, that problems will be uncovered, necessary changes will be implemented and students will be afforded equality at succeeding academically in school and become productive citizens in our work force.
June Salanik, Crownsville
A name game comes full circle
Nothing excites the slow-running blood of Annapolitans like names and places. Imagine the glee many feel when the prospect arises of a public free-for-all over the naming of a place. So many place names have been inherited that to have the chance to name something new, someplace we have paid for, someplace whose inconvenience we have all suffered . . . why people actually talk to each other over the subject.
Of course I refer to the circle appearing out on West Street and Taylor Avenue, the unnamed circle. The circle which needs a name.
One group has even organized itself to promote "Unity Circle." I suggested that we each try the name out, let it roll around on our tongues, for I was certain that someone would come up with other names and we would all have to suffer the democratic plague and actually be forced to make a choice.
Now the city is in the act. The mayor designated a committee to name that circle.
Just to stir the pot, I report her and lay out for public inspection some names that have floated to the surface in my small world since I wrote that last letter.
Gateway Circle: This has been the name used by planners and developers who pushed for spending the money for the circle. It's a nice name, but without a monumental gate (even a garden-sized Arc de Triomphe) it lacks sizzle.
Lafayette Circle: A certain francophile in town suggests we honor this early supporter of our revolution, whose descendants, he claims, are each an honorary citizen of Annapolis. He supports this name "to balance all the Irish restaurants around here." Of course, if we drive around this circle like the French drive around theirs, it might become a monument to liability insurance.
Family Circle: I kid you not. As the fellow who proposed this said, "We've got a Church Circle and a State Circle, we need a Family Circle." I suggest it might be First Amendment Circle, to keep the other two separate, but then we would have people making speeches there, and getting dizzy trying to follow the audience. Perhaps it would be where demonstrations without service charges could be held. Anyway, Family Circle sounds nice. And if we seek out corporate sponsorship, as we do with everything else in America, surely the magazine would step up. We could then call it "Family Circle Circle."
Cemetery Circle: Three cemeteries neighbor the circle, a Catholic, an African-American and a veterans. A somber proposal; around and around we go and what we shall come back as, nobody knows. It does, however, remind one of one of the few varities of life, namely, death. Perhaps if we keep it firmly in mind, we will drive safely and courteously around and around. And if we don't, well there's a cemetery close by.
Wild Daddy Circle: Now here is a name that might be the tie-breaker. From the Jesse Ventura wing of the body politic. Try it on for size. Say it a few times. Kind of does something to you, doesn't it?
Circle Circle: This is the proposal for those with a wry sense of humor. Can't agree on anything, just call it by the lowest common denominator.
West Street Circle: Now, for the finale. We all agree, do we not, that What You See Is What You Get, or WYSIWYG, pronounced just the way it looks, Whissywig. Is it not the motto of the New Age, the Self-Absorbed Age, the Computer Age?
Yes, this could just be the write-in champion of all. It sounds like it looks and it looks like it sounds. And, yes, we should push it just one little step more. Yes, without a doubt, it is: Whizzy Whig Circle.
Robert Henry Waldman Annapolis
Pub Date: 2/21/99