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Letters to the editor

April 03, 2005

Locally grown - in Mexico


To the editor:

This letter is food for your thoughts, because pretty soon we will be eating our thoughts. That is because our farmland will be nonexistent due to the development and unchecked growth in this area.

If you take a ride around Washington County, you will notice that new home construction has increased significantly in the past few years. New homes are being built where farm fields once existed. If you ride along Mapleville Road from Boonsboro toward Hagerstown, you will notice a new development being built by a local developer. Each of these homes sits on less than two acres of land and the cost of the homes ranges into the upper $600,000s. This development was once a large field that grew corn and other produce.

My family grew up in this area and can recall seeing the land used for farmland. This farmland once provided pasture for cattle, which supply our milk and beef. What was once advertised as "locally grown" will soon be replaced with "shipped from Mexico or California weekly."

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Growth in this county must be better managed for these reasons and more. To manage growth in this county, there would have to be some new rules put into place such as:

· Limit the number of homes to be built based on the land provided, such as one home per five acres of land or one home per two acres, with one empty lot between each building lot that is not to be developed.

· Limit the number of building permits to be granted per year that can go to a developer.

· Require the developer to allow a certain portion of the land remain a habitat for wildlife.

· Require the developer to build or enhance the local school system to accommodate the projected growth for that development.

· Require the developer to donate funds, based on their profit, to the local fire and rescue companies.

· Require the developer to donate funds, based on their profits, to the local farm fund or habitat fund to ensure for future farmland.

When you ride around the county, what do you want to see? When you are hungry for a Boonsboro cantaloupe and you learn that no one grows them anymore, how will you feel? Will you let "locally grown" be replaced with "somewhat fresh food shipped from various locations?"

John Fauble
Boonsboro High School




A first step toward no Social Security at all?


To the editor:

Don't lose focus on who Social Security privatization benefits.

Richard Hugg's March article on Social Security asked four questions and unfortunately, he only got one answer right.

Questions:

1. Is there a problem now in paying benefits? No. Good answer. Social Security is not in a crisis.

2. Will we have a problem in the future paying benefits to seniors if we don't change what we are doing? His answer, yes, is way too simple. Yes, if we continue to let corporate America and Republicans ship our good quality-of-life manufacturing jobs overseas and continually erode our tax base to benefit wealthy Americans, then yes, I agree we will have a problem. But the problem will be much larger than whether we can pay Social Security benefits in 2043. The problem will be that we no longer have the tax base to support the spending appetite of our Republican president, Senate and House. Our children, grandchildren and us, for that matter, already cannot afford the mounting debt burden that the Republicans are piling on us and them.

3. How will President Bush's proposed changes affect us now and in the future? His answer was "there will be no impact for those 55 and older." With this I agree. You will get your benefits and will be dead before the bill comes due to pay for Bush's Wall Street scheme. The Republicans' privatization gamble does not put one dollar toward prolonging Social Security's solvency. It actually shortens the life expectancy of Social Security and adds another $4.9 trillion in debt over 20 years. As for the second part of his answer, "there will be a very positive, healthy change for generations to come," the only people I can see benefiting for "generations to come" are those that are already wealthy. The gap between the Republicans' view of America and real working Americans will continue to widen as working Americans are forced to give money to Bush's Wall Street backers.

4. Why are some arguing so strongly against any change? I will ignore his 10-paragraph diatribe to the courage of President Bush for taking on this issue and just say, why did he wait until his second term to try and pay back his Wall Street friends?

As for the real answer to the question, we, as Democrats, the party of true empathy, will not sit back and let the Republicans destroy a program that protects 47 million grandparents, parents and children nationwide. One thing that is being forgotten in this argument is that Social Security is not only a safety net for retirement, but also provides crucial disability and survivor insurance for working Americans and their families.

We, as Democrats, will take on the responsibility of protecting Social Security for our children and grandchildren. You, as Americans, can trust that the Democrats will not give that security away to corporate America and allow them to ship it along with our jobs overseas. We are willing to cooperate with anyone interested in protecting Social Security, but will take no part in any plan that looks to destroy it.

I will leave you with a chant of a group of young Republicans outside a "town hall" meeting on Social Security at Drexel University recently.

"Hey, hey, ho, ho Social Security's got to go." I think they know what the Republicans' plans are for Social Security.

Rick Canby
Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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