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Letters to the Editor - July 22

July 22, 2012

Why was rail trail killed without notice?


To the editor:

To the Washington County Commissioners:

Your July 10 vote to kill the Civil War Railroad Trail, with no notice to the public and even before the report on the June 21 public meeting was available on the county’s website, is astounding and a real slap in the face of the many trail supporters. I question how this vote can be legal when there was nothing about it on the published agenda.

You have ignored the fact that as of July 12, you have received about 114 comments from individuals who support the trail, and about 74 from opponents. 

In addition, you received 19 comments from organizations, businesses, clubs, associations, towns, etc., supporting the trail and only one against. 

Organizations supporting the trail include the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, the Hagerstown Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the C&O Canal Association, C&O Canal Trust, Save Historic Antietam Foundation and the Town of Keedysville.

You have also ignored the fact that a petition supporting the trail conducted by the “Friends of the Civil War Railroad Trail” gathered 1,009 signatures, including 833 Maryland residents, 644 Washington County residents and 345 “South County” residents, and an online petition conducted by Bike Maryland was signed by 222 people, including 182 Maryland residents and 45 Washington County residents.

 You have stated that there are too many unanswered questions about the trail to proceed with it, but refuse to accept money from the State of Maryland to pay for a feasibility study.

I need to remind you that the whole purpose of a feasibility study is to address unanswered questions. Instead, you have chosen to stick your heads in the sand instead of getting the questions answered.

This trail will be a great benefit to Washington County and its citizens when a future Board of County Commissioners decides to go forward with it. Hopefully, this will be in two years. We will not go away.

 
Dick Cushwa
Williamsport




Frederick is thriving, but at what cost?


To the editor:

To paraphrase the late country comedian Jerry Clower, I’d like to say that before any more of you all commence to squallin’ about how awful downtown Hagerstown looks and about Frederick’s downtown bein’ so beautiful it just plumb thrills you to death, I wish you’d give me a few minutes of your time to enlighten you as to how downtown Frederick got to where it is today.

On Saturday, Oct. 9, 1976, Carroll Creek overflowed its banks and brought downtown Frederick to a standstill. This was the fourth major flood in downtown Frederick’s history and it caused an estimated $25 million in damages to downtown homes and businesses. Frederick’s downtown was declared a disaster area.

Thus began the $57.5 million Carroll Creek project to protect downtown Frederick from future flooding. This was definitely the economic salvation of downtown Frederick. But it was just the beginning. I doubt that anyone has any idea how many millions and millions of taxpayer dollars from our federal, state, county and city governments have been spent on the Carroll Creek project in downtown Frederick over the past 35 years. It has far exceeded the original proposed $57.5 million.

Taxpayer dollars were used for a lot more than just merely preventing Carroll Creek from flooding the downtown again. You don’t believe me, go down there and look for yourself. If it weren’t for the millions of taxpayer dollars spent, I doubt that downtown Frederick would today look much different than downtown Hagerstown.

So, to those of you with thoughts of putting Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey and his city council on a bus to Frederick’s downtown, I say forget it. The only thing they can possibly learn from that is how to declare downtown Hagerstown a natural disaster area (which won’t work) and then take advantage of that to milk every federal, state, county and city taxpayer of every dollar possible to fix up our downtown.

So drive on down to Frederick and show your loyalty to their beautiful downtown. But don’t be too quick to praise it. Remember, while downtown Hagerstown was being allowed to run down, your federal and state tax dollars were being spent to beautify downtown Frederick. All because someone down there knew which strings to pull and whose chain to yank.


George Sylvester Coyle
Hagerstown



A progressive justice is our only chance


To the editor:

Midas Mitt the great capitalist is said to have parked his fabulous fortune in Swiss banks and the Cayman Islands. I wish that he or some of his minions would explain how that money creates demand in the U.S.A. No demand, no small business and no employment. It’s very simple.

Blather does not solve problems, but it evidently convinces some people in the working and middle classes that their interests are being promoted by the oligarchs of big oil and Wall Street. How tragic!

The oligarch’s grip on the government is ever tighter, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United. Our only hope is that President Obama will soon have the opportunity to appoint a progressive justice to supplant one of the so-called conservatives.


Harold C. Craig Jr.
Emmitsburg, Md.

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