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I tried to remember what was truthful, objective or even humorous about the recent tier map public hearing before the Charles County commissioners’ hearing and the biased reporting of it. Actually, biased printed reporting often seems to be the rule of thumb at most hearings. Our only hope is that most citizens can take what they read with a grain of salt and make a commitment to attend these hearing in order to make their own decisions.

I guess you could say the rhetoric might have had a touch of humor, but mostly irony. Words like greedy, liars, rampant tax increases, death to Mattawoman Creek and other insinuations that pervaded the meeting could be construed as a written script repeated on the tongue of each and every preservationist.

Be sure to predict the death of every stream, bug and flower in Charles County, and you can win the game. Paint the most horrific picture that you can, and the politicians might just cave in. Gather in all the small and possibly newly created or out-of-the-area groups coupled with paid executive directors from out of town and there you have it, or hope to have it or will die trying to get unbalanced, divisive land planning.

Add to that the insult of business leaders who pay sometimes more than their fair share of taxes, pay for advertising in this paper, help share the major load of contributions to nonprofits, take endless hours of their personal time volunteering in order help to improve the lives of those in Charles County. They are not one-dimensional in their giving of knowledge, monies and time.

Our county could not exist if left to the preservationists because there would be no land left for anything but streams, bugs and flowers.

Now, of course, business is a bad name to these groups, it appears — those evil developers who built their homes, Realtors who have found and sold to their families, the farmers who provide their food, mechanics, small business owners, federal workers etc. — all average citizens who want to see this county have balance based on facts rather than misrepresentation. I am happy the Balanced Growth Initiative has a partner like Murray Levy who, paid or not paid, has the experience and know-how to determine what is actually factual and what is not. He served this county and helped it to become what it is today.

Portrayed unjustly as an evil lobbyist by some, he is one of our most respected citizens and a former politician who understands the difference between fact and fiction, has been in a leadership role that practiced consensus building instead of retaliation and has given back to his community.

I wish that could be said of others.

The tier maps are just a way for a governor, potentially looking for his next political job, to dangle a carrot to counties in the name of preserving the Chesapeake Bay. Charles is not the only county resisting this intrusion. There are many. Research reports that development counts for only a small part of the pollution. It’s too hard to attack the real culprits and make it look like you’re doing some good.

Finally, to set the record straight, the Balanced Growth Initiative gave input and input only to the planning staff, just as many other citizen groups do. I believe our suggestions were relevant and thoughtful. What makes this different? Information and studies presented and voted upon by the Charles County Planning Commission were reasonable and based on fact.

Some just don’t like to let facts cloud their emotional appeals. Keep the maps as voted on. There’s so much more to be concerned about, like unintended fiscal consequences.



Evie Hungerford, Indian Head

The writer is a small business owner and citizen member of BGI.