Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
E-mail this article
Print this Article

In a posting on its website dated Sept. 25, Balanced Growth Initiative posted a series of pointers and “thoughts” it wanted its members to highlight in letters to county government in response to the Sept. 24 Charles County Planning Commission meeting on the tier map issue.

Included among the bullet statements was this: “Stopping growth in its tracks will stop future school construction, and the homeowners who have paid into the school construction excise tax since 2002 may never see a fair return on their investment.”

First, let’s not gloss over the intentional misstatement that those who oppose the aggressive development plan BGI supports are trying to “stop growth in its tracks.” Such liberties with the truth are often taken by those who find their argument rests on too little substance and need to fill the gaps with exaggerations to make up the difference.

But also, BGI makes what should come as a sobering revelation to many: the statement that those who have paid the school construction excise tax can only see a return on their investment if the next level of investors pays into the fund. There is a name for that kind of investment scheme — it’s called a Ponzi scheme.

This is a program of expansion and displacement. There will always be pressure to expand the base of investors by leveraging the fear of those already in the scheme that they may not see a return on their investment. It also means students will continue to be displaced from their current schools as their seats are bought out from under them by the next level of investors entering the scheme. The nearly constant redistricting performed by the board of education is a testament to this, having had to perform 10 redistricting efforts over the three levels of schools in the last decade or so.

All school parents whose children have been relocated to a different school due to overcrowding should understand that this is how the scheme is actually intended to work. This is what BGI is promoting as a successful model for progress, what it refers to in its own title as “balance.”

That makes sense if one does not consider balance to mean a form of equilibrium but something more akin to keeping a spinning plate balanced on the tip of a stick in a carnival.

Michael Billard, Waldorf