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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].

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Prince George’s County Dumps $19 Million More on Bad Idea

    The politicians of Prince George's County and those in Russia in the Kremlin share an affinity for short selling ecological resources for parochial near term gain of a few well placed individuals. In Russia a country that spans 11 time zones, the last old growth oak forest supposedly protected by law, is scheduled to be paved over for a interstate project; in Prince George's County a critical wetland and ecosystem refugia is scheduled to host a county-wide waste transfer station. Once completed these two projects for ever change the dynamic natural services in the interest of near term progress. Both governments think they can pave their way towards prosperity by using up every bit of their fast disappearing natural resource systems, using them up in a non renewable fashion. Neither government has a plant as to what happen next.

In Russia the government recognized through planning and law the value and importance of the almost five hundred acre forest. However. short economic expediency has made the forest a target for a road to connect Russia's two major cities. The forest has no presentation in the Russian government and so it is least expensive route for the new road. Likewise the wetlands of the middle Patuxent recognized by local and national agencies, is doomed to short sighted solutions to a long term problem. The wet lands of this Maryland river are already dramatically impacted by lax local officials who look the other way when "[t]reated sewage, also called effluent, saturates Jug Bay waters. The Western Branch tributary in Prince George's County, 1 mile west of the Sanctuary, holds the largest WWTP [Waste Water Treatment Plant] within the Patuxent River watershed. This treatment plant processes waste from throughout a large section of Prince George's County and releases up to 20 million gallons of effluent daily into the Western Branch. Western Branch, in turn, empties into the river. At times during the year, over 50% of the water in the Patuxent River has been processed in a waste water treatment plant." {Jug Bays Wetlands Sancuary) As in Moscow, politicians are addressing much needed infrastructure challenges by taking the path of near time least resistance.
    Calculating the costs to the resources such as clean air or clean water are not part of Prince George's County's simple arithmetic. In fact the now 19 million dollars of proposed over runs suggest that the county is incapable of doing any calculation whether environmental or budgetary. The bill to address the growing costs of the ill-conceived water transfer station was heard last week – CB-12-2010 An Act concerning the issuance and sale of General Obligation Bonds to finance the Waste Transfer Station capital project in an amount not to exceed Nineteen Million Six Hundred Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($19,675,000). The Patuxent Riverkeeper, Fred Tutman, told me that "[t]he irony is that there may be some broad truth to the idea that onerous uses are not fairly distributed in the County, but heaping a fresh industrial trash venture on top of a region related to the drinking water supply and where the County has already spent millions and decades preserving open space is pretty silly."
    How did the citizens of Prince George's County get into this mess? First it seemsthat our county leaders have decided that no one will need needs clean water or clean air in the future or that it will magically arrive from somewhere free of charge; that there is no value in green space that can not be superseded by the immediate economic gain of a few continues to bedevil planning. Then there are historic issues that color the conversation, "The familiar shell game of taking noxious uses and sticking them on the community that lacks power du jour, or that is the "odd man" out is a protocol from a different era. It has outlived is usefulness. Surely we know that any neighborhood that hosts such uses takes a black eye? This is especially true in this latest instance when the selected site is an especially bad and unacceptable site for this purpose." Hiding a bad site choice under the very valid concerns of historic abuse of minority and economically challenged neighborhoods is symptomatic of our current random development process. Our leaders expect to be able to create a quality county by legislating planning and development one small parcel at a time with no concern as to how the pieces fit together, and much like as in Russia they do this by creating isolated community interests divided against one another inside a larger plan that benefits a few today and costs everyone tomorrow. 
   I am going to let the Patuxent Riverkeeper, Mr. Tutman, eloquently sum things up: "… a stronger truth is we don't want it [the Waste Transfer Station] adjacent to a nature preserve or draining into Maryland's deepest and longest intrastate river. The simple "truth" that these uses have to go somewhere does not soften the bitter blow that wherever they go produces blight and injustice. Whether in Russia or Prince George's we need to get wise that these pitiful choices are not solutions at all. Such measures only defer real solutions. All over this land, the landfills, dumps, incinerators, rubble fills, feed lots and other projects that bring waste, blight, a legacy of smell, ugliness and yes, social stigma to any host neighborhood is the product of expedient politics. We spoil land and place forever, stigmatize communities and conduct business as usual. Someone has to suffer? It has to go somewhere? It was your turn? Pretty hollow stuff. The only thing more certain than our need for convenient places to dump our trash is our penchant for bad politics. How sad, how bad, how wrong."

See also:

Friday, October 30, 2009 Land-use, Leadership, Elections, and Prince George's County

Monday, July 20, 2009 Prince George's County Council invades the rural tier with intense zoning change at last minute

Thursday, March 26, 2009 Prince George's County's 19th century land use plan

Sunday, March 22, 2009 Does Prince George's County have a Plan - that means anything?

Friday, September 19, 2008 Endangered Species of the Western Branch of the Patuxent River also:Upper Marlboro development to feature a hotel with trash site over look

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 Prince George's County proudly decides:A waste transfer station in the county seat also: Waste transfer station on the Patuxent River

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 Upper Marlboro's New Development Center Piece