Misdirection and Confusion
Plan-Not-Maryland, rather than PlanMaryland, certainly seems to be a better name for this controversial proposal. I came away from a Monday rally in Annapolis clearer on some aspects and more confused on others. The confusion lies with what the state doesn’t say.
Here is what I heard. The state says nothing is changed, yet its proponents still can’t produce a firm draft plan.
Here is what I don’t understand. If the plan (Gov. Parris Glendenning’s Smart Growth Initiative) isn’t changed, then what is the need to have a new plan and why is a draft needed? If it’s already written and in place, what is the purpose of spending taxpayers’ dollars and time on rewriting it?
What I hear the state officials saying is: We are just repackaging the same thing.
Then I ask again, where is the draft? Why is it always in flux? What is the problem, and why reinvent the wheel if it’s all the same in the end?
Silence from the state!
State officials were asked what are the “pro and con” numbers from its outreach, polls, surveys and comments.
More silence and backpedaling from them, but never an answer other than it is too complicated; and they couldn’t come up with a number.
Eastern Shore Republican Sen. E. J. Pipken’s office managed to come up with the numbers. Four to one against PlanMaryland.
When one of the authors of the original Smart Growth Initiative, Sen. Ron Young (D., Frederick), couldn’t get the answers to these questions, I’d have to say there is a huge problem. Now, if the man who pretty much wrote the book on Smart Growth doesn’t get it and doesn’t see the purpose, how are we suppose to swallow this new – but not really new – plan.
I see it as Gov. Martin O’Malley doing what he always does. He’s on his way out of office and Smart Growth doesn’t have his name on it. So, it is repackaged, repurposed, and he slips in an “oh, by the way, while we are doing this, let’s tighten it up but tell everyone it’s the same thing with no changes and force any growth within my designated areas.”
Now steer away slightly to Stephanie Rawlings Blake, mayor of Baltimore, and her efforts to grow Baltimore City. Do her proposals and those of the governor not coincide when you step back and look at the whole picture? She is so concerned with the city’s declining numbers that she managed to get the Census Bureau to count convicted criminals who lived in Baltimore City prior to their convictions.
Even if they are serving life sentences in Allegheny County with no chance of returning to Baltimore, they are still counted as residents of the city. Can anyone other than me see a trend happening here? Does Governor O’Malley – or doesn’t he – focus any and all money, time, effort and improvement in three central locations? Those locations would be Baltimore City, Montgomery and Prince George’s County. With their voting populations, they are all he needs to control the rest of the state.
Rural Maryland doesn’t have the numbers to fight as individual counties, so the state has a “divide and conquer” plan. The latest being PlanMaryland.
At the Senate’s briefing on PlanMaryland last Monday, we saw a change; we saw all the outlying counties coming together as one voice to oppose PlanMaryland and the O’Malley power grab. I hope this trend continues for the betterment of Rural Maryland. Yes, it’s a war; and if we don’t rally the troops and stay focused, we will be the losers. We have enough controls in place; we don’t need more.
I’m encouraged by the recent developments with the Western Maryland counties coming together and hiring a lobbyist in Annapolis to watch their back. This trend needs to reach even further by bringing all the rural areas together. We still have the proposal to prohibit septic systems anywhere in the state, plus the Water Implementation Plan (WIP) to deal with besides this PlanMaryland.
Funny how we continually see broken sewer mains in densely populated areas, but the governor reports it is the septic tanks of rural Maryland that pollute our bay, and that rural development and their footprints are ruining Maryland. Maybe – just maybe – we are the salvation of Maryland; we don’t require the police and maintenance, programs of densely populated areas. Rural Maryland is not draining the resources of the state; we are enhancing our state.
Those who want to live in densely populated areas, please be my guest. It’s a wonderful way of life if that is what you want; but don’t force others who want land, separation, trees, ponds, and the freedoms of having growing room to conform to your ideals.
As my parting thought, think about this one. Governor O’Malley is twitting Lady Gaga to visit and have dinner because he likes her message about not bullying; yet, when it comes to the state, those same rules don’t apply and out comes the bullying tactics to control and plan Rural Maryland.
Ummm! Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Do we lead by example or is it the “do as I say, not as I do” rule?
. . . . .'til next time . . .
“Just Joan” saying be safe and “don’t believe everything you think.”