Saturday, October 13, 2007

The latest assault on Ocean City is now coming from a wind power corporation and its allies in Annapolis. Just this year, developers and their elected buddies slated the historic Trimper's amusement park for destruction in favor of "mixed use development." While those of us who realize that Trimper's is essential to the historic inlet area of Ocean City are fighting that proposal, now a second front has opened: an oceanfront, to be precise.

Hopefully you are sitting down at the moment. A New Jersey company, arm in arm with paid-off government officials, is attempting to ram through a wind farm directly off the coast of Ocean City. They did this in Delaware. They successfully pulled off a scam here in Maryland to have an environmentally-damaging wind farm constructed in Western Maryland, thanks to their campaign donations to members of the General Assembly. Now they want to destroy the natural view and environment of our classic seashore. Ladies and gentlemen, the line must be drawn here.

Understand the implication of this wind farm: It is absolutely going to be visible from the shore. It is hideous and manmade. It is going to severely harm birds and aquatic life. It must be stopped. The time is now to start writing your elected officials and letters to the editor. Wind farms off the coast are a no go, much like drilling.


Now, of course, don't count on being heard in the Washington Post or Gazette. First of all, you should know that the Washington Post - without informing its readers - has some financial interest in oil. It will be interesting to find out what the Post's position is on this wind farm proposal. What's their connection to oil? We don't know. But here's what we do know: they constantly criticize Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a rival oil producer and U.S. supplier. And most shockingly, the Post endorsed drilling for oil near the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay and off the coast of Ocean City!!! This from the supposed environmentalist Washington Post.

Need more evidence of the Post's unethical reporting? They have still refused to print the truth about new delegate Bill Frick, that his law firm is a major lobbyist on Capitol Hill for the gaming industry. This, of course, when we are about to vote on slots in Maryland. It is shameful reporting, unethical, and there is no excuse; they are aware of the conflict of interest and have willingly chosen to protect Mr. Frick and his Democratic colleagues.

Not enough? The Post also refused to tell the public about the laughable appointment of the Purple Line Advisory Group by the Planning Board. Apparently, critics of developers and the Planning Board needed not apply - I was not named to the Group. Here is the statement I released following the approval of the small list chosen by staff, not the Planning Board:

"As a citizen who volunteered to serve on the Purple Line Functional Master Plan Advisory Group, I am disappointed in the process by which the members were chosen by the staff of the Montgomery County Planning Board.

The Planning Board staff has done nothing more than assemble the usual suspects, rather than having fresh faces review an increasingly stale debate. This looks like a list of people who should be testifying before the Advisory Group, not sitting on it. It primarily includes individuals who have already taken a position for or against a specific alignment, and equipment, for the Purple Line project. Mier Wolf's town of Chevy Chase is spending $250,000 to stop the Purple Line. Developers and business interests on the list, by contrast, will benefit from the Purple Line. My impression was that this commission was to be made up of average citizens, to assist in reaching a compromise that would benefit the entire community. It is difficult to imagine how this particular panel will be able to reach an objective consensus.

My letter of interest highlighted three concerns: cost savings, environmental impact, and disability access. I do not see a single person on the list who reflects comprehensive environmental concerns. Who on this list is going to be focused on ensuring that stations and equipment are fully accessible to riders with disabilities? I also recognize only one person on this list as a Republican, when this should be a bipartisan or nonpartisan effort. Apparently, these were not concerns of planning staff.

Finally, I question why the staff is only presenting these few, out of eighty applicants, to the Board for approval. Staff answers to neither the County Council nor the citizens, and therefore should not be deciding who is appointed to such an important endeavour."

Robert Dyer


In closing, the results are in for that "mixed-use" development: Rockville Town Center has so far been a failure. The restaurants were not upscale. I thought Bobby's Crabcakes was supposed to be the Ruth's Chris of crabcakes. It turned out to be a sandwich shop. Rockville is nothing like Bethesda at night. And there are just a handful of people living in the condos and apartments. Before this scheme spreads any further throughout the county - Royce Hanson admitted this week what I already knew: a secret plan by developers, politicians, and the status quo to build a "Bethesda Row" along 355 from Bethesda to Clarksburg. This is outrageous stuff. The demand is not there. The housing and office spaces are vacant. Stop it. Now. The environment and quality of life will suffer for the financial benefit of the developers. In 2010, vote the developers out of office, and put citizens back in charge of our community. After all, we live here. They don't.

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