When Fort Ritchie was shut down as an Army base, the land and the infra-structure was offered to the county as a free gift. The PenMar Development Corp. was organized with the mission of using the base as an asset to create new jobs to replace, and maybe to expand, the 2,000 jobs lost when the base closed. The problem was to find a developer who could provide the needed expertise to make this job creation possible.
After several fruitless years, a developer was found who not only agreed to create the jobs over time, but also offered to pay for the right to develop the property.
A price was offered and accepted - and then in steps Wivell.
As accountants always do, he saw only the one-time benefit to the county of squeezing a few more dollars out of the developer.
He ignores the long-term, strategic gain to the county from the taxes to be paid on income, sales and property over the long-term future. Even more significantly, he also doesn't even consider the economic multiplier effect of the spending on county-produced goods and services from the earned incomes of those 2,000 families over the indefinite future.
This is not the first time that Wivell's limited vision has shown itself in his public pronouncements. Several years ago, when the commissioners were considering the education budget, Wivell did a study of Maryland counties' incomes and spending on education. He concluded that since incomes in Washington County were 16th in the state, and county spending on education was also 16th, that we were spending the right amount on education.
Once again, the focus on short-term financing shows the fallacy of his thinking. How will we ever increase incomes and move up from 16th if we are unwilling to create a first-class work force that will lure businesses with high-paying jobs to our area?
Donald R. Currier
Keep politics out of Easter egg hunts
To the editor:
I would like to comment on the article published on Sunday, March 27, regarding the Easter egg hunt at the Hagerstown City Park. The article failed to mention that, in addition to the dialogue about the "true meaning of Easter," it also included a program aimed against abortion. I am assuming that this was facilitated by members of the church that evidently organized the event.
With a captive audience of 1,400 people, the church took it upon itself to push its view of a very debatable, political topic.
I did not anticipate the day's activities to include fielding questions from my 6-year-old son about what an abortion clinic is. I find this to be an inappropriate forum to discuss such matters.
Had I known this ahead of time, I would have chosen not to participate. I would recommend the church notify potential egg collectors of their intention prior to the event, and not mask its one-sided sermon as (what should have been) a fun, innocent activity.
Comparatively, Pope not so bad
To the editor:
If you compare the quality of the men who have been pope since I have been alive to the quality of men and women who are and have been our leaders, the popes put our leaders to shame. And the Catholic Church isn't even a democracy.
If you don't consider a dollar that has lost 95 percent of its value in less than 100 years; the richest country becoming the world's largest debtor; and endless imperial wars, where are the negative consequences?
I have heard that democracy is the best form of government because the people (in general) get the government they deserve. George Bush, now on his third excuse for the Iraq war, says we are there to spread democracy to Muslim countries in the Middle East. I reckon that means we are spreading democracy to make sure that they get what they deserve. Spreading democracy is payback for Sept. 11.