Remarkable! A candidate for the Talbot County Council actually introduced herself with a concrete statement about impending development plans.
Campaigns are mostly filled with clever (or not so clever) lines that call to mind script writers for Valentine Day cards. Without, I repeat without, statistical research I would guess that “integrity” is the word most often directly or indirectly used to sum up the candidate’s profile. Close seconds might be “represent” (we after-all live in a democracy) and turning to a phrase, “work hard”. Okay the script writers are not so clever.
So, when I read Lynn Mielke’s letter to the Spy editor I was, well, surprised. Ms. Mielke laid out her thoughts about residential and commercial development along the Oxford corridor in plain-spoken English, here is an example:
“Each of the aforementioned developers, like Hansel and Gretel, spread some bread crumbs, like promising walking trails for the public, peddling Agri-tourism, or donating community parks to the Town of Easton, in order to sell their monstrous development projects to our local governments. The cost of the infrastructure for these developments, which Talbot County taxpayers will have to pay for to support these projects: roads (will a two lane Oxford Road really handle the real vehicular traffic which will ensue? And the inevitable traffic congestion?), schools (Easton schools are at capacity – where will children living at Poplar Hill be able to attend school?), and health care (which is also at capacity), are not addressed. It is already established that “Impact Fees” do not cover such costs.”
I don’t live along the Oxford corridor nor, looking back, along the Trappe one, but I am very familiar with bread crumbs (especially when toasted). I could, of course, repeat Ms. Mielke’s detailed point-of-view, but better that you read directly from her letter.
Mentioning the Trappe corridor and specifically the environmental debacle at The Preserve at Wye Mills, let me elaborate from an earlier column:
“If I were a Councilman I would want, as part of my orientation, to know why the Preserve became a case study of poor decisions followed by woeful oversight. I would ask the full time professionals what we must do to make sure environmental standards are set, compliance monitored and timely actions taken. I would look at staffing past, present and future. Do the Departments of Public Works and Environmental Health have the resources to do the job?”
I am not anti-development, but I have seen nature too often subordinated and glitter often substituted for analysis. I hope the County Council that takes its oath in January of next year is glitter-proof.
I do not know Lynn Mielke, but her straight-forward and illustrative characterization of the Oxford Corridor have certainly won my admiration and vote on November 8th.
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al writes on themes from his book, Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.