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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].

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Prince George's County will consider another strip mall

In an effort to present a level playinf field and a complete understanding of the situation in the Woodland Historic area strip mall re-zoning plan just east of Upper Marlboro, I am posting a letter from Fred Tutman.

"I feel fervently that if we can overhaul some of the planned development craziness being proposed in our vicinity it might buy us some breathing room while the economy slows down a bit and the stuff in the pipeline evaporates. There are some business interests that are hell bent on infusing economic growth for themselves by floating projects for which there are no commercial tenants, or houses where there is negligible consumer demand and no capacity. It’s old school stuff. For example Columbia, MD’s current plan to put 5,500 new homes in the middle of the existing planned community in downtown Columbia (even while the developer is facing bankruptcy) is just such a cockamamie plan-- I suspect to inflate the stock value of the company involved and create the illusion of prosperity for the stockholders and politicians. When in doubt about hard times, let’s build a stadium or a housing development. Better still let’s build some Federally funded roads and that way economic growth will just drive to your doorstep! I think that sort of unsustainable nonsense will soon be deader than most of us care to admit even now, but it’s a convulsive reflex for a segment of the economy that knows no other way of doing business except to build new stuff instead if investing in existing communities and replacing old facilities. The same folks who think that traffic jams are a great business opportunity and who want to build an ICC and a second Bay Bridge too. It is basically publicly subsidized growth and I think it is gradually sun-setting through the current economic collapse and tough straits--but the business practices and the societal ethic need a bit more time to catch up with reality.

We don’t plan our “economic growth” in a vacuum. As citizens have pointed out, some holistic look at impacts makes a lot more sense than just looking at this single project and arguing that it is good for the area without some discussion of capacity, traffic, schools, the environment and so forth. So far as I know the only clear cut arguments in favor of the Faison project is the usual jive about “jobs” and shopping opportunities but some folks I suspect will make money from building it whether or not it ever actually thrives as a viable retail center or not.

To me the bottom line is that this project requires a zoning change and special consideration from the people we elected. The most obvious outcome is that it will enrich the builder and the people who want their land rezoned. If the project goes forward, neither of those parties will live here. There is no question of an entitlement or property rights at all. Nobody is entitled to get whatever zoning they might dream of on their own parcel of land without a fairly high standard of review. Otherwise let’s all rezone and move someplace else? I think we need to just keep raising the level of review and public transparency on exactly what about this specific project and this specific site warrants all the percs that the County is prepared to lavish on them. Surely there is more information available to the County than we were offered the other night by Faison reps? What are the merits to the project that they have alluded to and which the County is favorable to? Beyond that a comparable discussion of what’s in it for the community most effected by the planned project is a natural corollary. The vague nonsense about what’s good for the overall retail economy therefore must be good for Crain Highway is just plain shallow and silly and we need to keep drawing attention to the deficit of merit based arguments….. "

Patuxent Riverkeeper
18600 Queen Anne Road
Rear Barn
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Member, Waterkeeper Alliance

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