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July 2, 2009

The Doers and the Talkers

Joan Marie Aquilino

Will this subject ever die, ever be solved? No! As long as there are people, there will be waste and, of course, opinions aplenty on its disposal. There are those who do and those who just yammer about what others should do. Those who do, finally make a decision; those who talk, are still talking.


The pro-Waste-To-Energy people think the proposed incinerator is what we need. Build it! Burn it! Move on. They speak their mind, and it is what it is. No group meetings, no rallies, just their own voices. Twenty years of discussion is enough for them.


The anti-incinerator people think that this plant will be the death of us all, and we should be able to – with enough talk and process – make all waste disappear and become something else. They demand much and produce little. That is short of sending out threatening blast emails filled with everything but the truth.


The Pro-Solution group includes individuals with various ideas, but most, if not all, appear to think this incinerator is part of the total solution plan and should move forward. (Disclaimer: This is where I fall.)


Pro-Solution and Pro-Incinerator are individuals with individual thoughts. Lots of tweaks could be done. Perfection will never be achieved, but at some point we have to trust in the elected officials we’ve chosen and let them do their jobs. It’s all been vetted; you can only recycle the same discussions so many times.


This column has very little to do with trash, at least not the kind produced after a holiday meal. I offered the opportunity to two county commissioners to share their opinions of the latest antics that have transpired in the world of solid waste.


I probably disagree with these commissioners more often than not, and I don’t even agree down the line with either of them on this issue. But I do respect their work ethic and no one deserves the level of disrespect the anti side of this debate, headed by Commissioner Kai Hagen, has been dishing out. No, he didn’t write the latest emails as far as I know, but innocent, not by a long shot. None of it is warranted and no good will come of it.


Things like this are why I never prescribed to the group think, activist mentality. They scream the loudest for civility and open transparent government and produce everything but. The energy being spent working people up into frenzies to justify an end result will never produce anything positive.


For those of you who missed the forums, emails, articles and blogs of this past week pertaining to the email threats from CFIAnow, headed by Robert Churbin, you'll find a link to the first email that set off the firestorm at the bottom of this article.' This is a group of anti-incinerator people who came into the game late but with a force and viciousness unlike anything I’ve witness in Frederick County previously. After the recent vote by the Board of County Commissioners to move forward with the waste-to-energy plant, an email was sent to a select group by Mr. Churbin stating talking points to destroy those commissioners who voted in favor of the incinerator.


I asked Commissioners Jan Gardner and Charles Jenkins to provide statements on this past week’s events. One voted for the incinerator; the other voted against its location. I wanted both sides from people who have – along with two others – worked toward the least undesirable solution. The incinerator is not a solitary stand alone solution. It is one of many being implemented to deal with the entire waste disposal problem.


Commissioner Jan Gardner’s statement:


Commissioner Gardner was unable to get anything to me before my deadline. Instead I am posting many of the links to sites she’s mentioned for answers to waste-to-energy and other solid waste questions. They cover much of the process and history of how we got to where we are today.


County WTE links

links from Commissioner Gardner’s page

Solid Waste Forum

Solid waste power point presentation


Commissioner Charles Jenkins’ statement:


“Some members of CFIA have suggested they would stop being an entity if Commissioner Thompson would simply remove their secret internal documents. As they have done throughout the discussion on WTE, they lied then, they are lying now ( They have removed the webpage and are now simply using the alternate URL to continue their mission. I suspect they will continue to linger around through the 2010 election and work to defeat the three commissioners who opted for a real solution, not the fantasized solutions of Commissioner (Kai) Hagen or others who have absolutely ZERO experience dealing with the 600 tons of trash the county receives on a daily basis. I sincerely hope the citizenry of Frederick County will see through the fog these folks will create in trying to elect a 2010 BoCC (Board of County Commissioners) that will overturn this decision. Their not so titular leader in this effort has been Commissioner Hagen. The voters of Frederick County could do worse than returning him to his 30-acre Thurmont enclave where he can go back to the role of being a citizen activist, a role he seems to relish.”



’til next time . . .


Here’s the link to Churbin’s email: The Secret memo


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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