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Letters: Voting districts; Christmas spirit; Schuh, development

Letter writer: why do Maryland voting districts look like a Rorschach test?

Voting districts

The states of the United States are rectangular — for the most part — with some borders altered to conform to terrain features like coastlines, rivers and mountain ranges. Most counties in most states are similarly square and generally equal in size.

So why do Maryland voting districts look like a Rorschach test? State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, former Gov. Martin O'Malley and House Speaker Mike Busch are the architects of the Maryland voting districts, so if anyone is looking for evidence that our democratic system in Maryland is rigged, you need look no further.

Here in Maryland we have a one-party system where officials hold posts for life. The president of the Senate has been there for 29 years, the speaker of the House for 13. It's similar to Cuba!

Have the Democrats brought lower taxes, lower crime, more opportunities, better services, improved infrastructure, quality education or a higher level of transparency to government? Not so much.

How long will we have to wait to make Maryland great again?

PAUL CLOUSE

Annapolis

Christmas spirit

On Dec. 16, I had a magic moment. I was standing in line at our local Wawa to pay for my coffee, standing behind a very attractive young gal. The line moved quickly, and when I got to the cashier to pay for my coffee, the fellow behind the counter informed me that I didn't owe anything. My coffee had been paid by the young woman before me.

I was, of course, immensely grateful, and as she walked through the door, we exchanged big smiles. She definitely made my day

What a wonderful way to show the Christmas spirit. She really touched my heart, and I hope she enjoys a lifetime of good fortune. Too bad so many others are not so good-hearted, because such kindness really does brighten anyone's day.

To that gal, thank you again and please have a wonderful Christmas season with your friends, family and neighbors.

LAURENT DESCHAMPS

Annapolis

Schuh, development

Regarding the front-page article about County Executive Steve Schuh's goals for 2017 (The Capital, Dec. 26):

If Mr. Schuh sticks to these goals, we can expect that one of his five chosen points of concentration, cleaning up Anne Arundel's waterways, will be badly missed again in 2017. If department underlings like those in Planning and Zoning are left unchecked, we can expect more of the same types of modifications allowing development north of Route 50. Ultimately, many of these modifications will continue to have a deleterious effect on the Magothy and the Severn rivers; let alone smaller waterways like Cattail Creek and Jabez Branch.

At the November Greater Severna Park Council meeting we were informed of Maryland's projection for intensified superdevelopment along Route 2 in Glen Burnie, Severna Park and Arnold. This includes an expansion to eight lanes and high-rise condominiums with fast-bus transportation for residents. At the same time, Mr. Schuh's "conservation" plan for south of Route 50 was introduced through the media. Mr Schuh's goal of is improving quality of life for county residents could be benefited by protecting the areas north of Route 50. too.

Major waterways like the Severn and Magothy are north of Route 50 and should be protected, as well as cleaned up. Protected species like yellow perch are ignored as natural habitat areas are approved for development. Development is being allowed along small creeks like Cattail, which is 2 miles long but has had approximately 15 development events in the last few years. Wetlands projected to be filled through "modification" approval are supposed to be protected under state and federal mandates.

County government is spending substantial amounts of money to clean up and protect wetlands and waterways. Yet those efforts are being thwarted by zoning changes, approvals and modifications allowing more development.

GEORGE FOOTE

President

Severna Gardens Improvement Association

Severna Park

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