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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.


"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Friday, March 27, 2009

Prince George's County Considers a Strip Mall in the Rural Tier

Prince George’s County is going to consider in a few weeks altering the geo-political boundaries of its rural tier in order to bring a strip mall into and on top of an historic register nomination district near a major east coast waterway. They public claim is that there is a need for the neighborhood do be destroyed because it does not have enough strip malls. The idea that this project is for the neighborhood is purposely vague because the developer and the neighbors, as well as Prince George’s County’s politicians who will decide this use, know that “[a] strip mall is a collection of several stores located in the same building that share a common parking lot. Typically strip malls contain stores like video rental stores, small grocery stores, fast food restaurants or small independent cafes. The strip mall is often located at major intersections in a town or city and is normally most easily accessed by car. Due to a typically high volume of traffic, bicycling or walking to a strip mall can be difficult.” [1]

My sense of the will of neighborhood is limited, but I suspect that we are not against shopping malls, and are in fact happy to see a project which conforms to the broad outline of the general plan. We would support of course the will and desires of the local neighborhoods impacted and would most likely not weigh in on way or another. We known that as we drive along the large and small highways of Prince George’s County, it is all too easy to wave our hand and say: "look at all these unseemly strip malls that make this place look like every other!" But if we are looking for a hardware store, need a cup of coffee, or need some engine repair, our tune changes: we are grateful that we can easily spot the Home Depot, the local independent supply store, the Starbucks, or the tractor & lawnmower dealers. The locale saves search costs, for which we are glad indeed, and we demonstrate this feeling by voting for them with our own money. [2]

But most of us chose to live slightly disconnected from the infrastructure of urban living, instead opting for the infrastructure of nature. We chose to live removed from a small walk to a bakery or 7-11. Because we so chose to be slightly removed from these perceived necessities, we do not feel underserved. If we are underserved, it is by the outside traffic which takes a short-cut through the historic Woodland District, making it hard of us to go to….shopping malls. Adding one more right in our midst would only exacerbate this traffic infrastructure “under-service”. I might also suspect a slight “under-services” when it comes to school facilities but that is another story which this strip mall will not address.
[1] Tricia Ellis-Christensen WiseGeek, copyright © 2003 – 2009 ; http://www.wisegeek.com/
[2] In Defense of Strip Malls, Mises Daily by Brad Edmonds Posted on 5/24/2007 12:00:00 AM; http://mises.org/story/2576

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree this proposed plan has had inadequate transperency and the public policy arguments in favor of it are murky at best. What I think has not been thoroughly or adequetly aired is that in order for this project to proceed,it requires legislatively changing the zoning. So basically it is a shift from the accustomed uses in the near viciity and an alteration of the framework that the other surrounding landowners have come to rely on. It smells a lot like special interest rezoning to me. If investors, merchants, builders and profiteers can redefine our neighborhoods by getting special consideration from the government, then I think we are entitled to know why. So I think it is a disservice to characterize this controversy as one in which people are either for or against strip malls. The real issue is whether the folks most effected by this proposal fancy the reclassification of this rural parcel of land and everything else around it simply because some landowners and a builder put their heads togeher and decided to ask the politicians...? What's going on here?!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Peter Thompson said...

Having just posted my own reply I thought it best not to be anonymous on my own blog: so here it is again
I hopefully have laid out more coherent points of view in my earlier blogs pointing out both environmental and historical issues; I am trying to address all possible considerations, and welcome more ideas and comments. I would love to hear more points of view and get a true dialogue going. We have only a few weeks left to stop the re-zoning, so now is the time to stand up and speak out.