Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No Land Left Behind

Watching the Monday County Council meeting left me with a broad mix of emotions. On the one hand, hundreds of people turned out to participate in the civic process, many (most?) of them offering personal pleas to the councilmembers to strongly consider measures that would help protect County lands and our quality of life for decades to come.

On the other hand, shills for the development community tried their hardest to manufacture "astroturf" (i.e., fake grassroots support), by handing out flashy disinformational brochures, and masquerading under the euphemistic Alliance for Fair Land Use. The truth is, this group is led by development toady and registered lobbyist, John Pantelides (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Annapolis Yacht Management, LLC; Anne Arundel County Alliance for Fair Land Use; Baldwin Real Estate, LLC; Bestgate Village, LLC; C and C Liquors; Constellation Energy Group, Inc.; Crandell Cove, Inc.; Frank J. Scott, Sr.; G. W. Koch Associates, Inc.; Jenkins Boat Sales; Joe Butts, t/a Smoking Joe’s Café, Inc. – Malibu’s Lakeside; Operating Account; Lake Shore Crossroads, LLC; Lennie Attman; Sturbridge Homes; The Polm Companies, Ltd.; Two Rivers Investors, LLC; Village Development, LLC).

In one of the most cynical moves in recent history, Pantelides, who opposed the County's 2004 attempt at a "workforce housing" bill similar to the one in Montgomery County [pdf], has tried to lure affordable housing advocates onto the board of his organization by enticing them with an amendment to try to get 25% of all land that is transferred from the State or Feds to the County set aside as development areas, without any regard for the (in)appropriateness of the development. It seems quite apparent that individuals like this have never seen a piece of property that they didn't think would look better with a tract house or WaWa set upon it. It's important to be cognizant of their tactics.

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