Friday, June 29, 2007

Capital Punishment: Can We Focus on One Issue?

Capital Punishment is our on-going examination of the political and social views of our fellow citizens via their letters to the Editor of The Capital.

This one is from a woman in Tracy's Landing concerning the Four Seasons Development on Kent Island.

I was amazed by a recent letter to the Editor.

What were you so amazed about?

I rejoice that a large piece of Critical Area on the Eastern Shore was snatched from the jaws of the Four Seasons Resort.

Hey, wait, why were you amazed by the recent letter? You can't just leave us hanging like that. We demand that your thoughts make sense and proceed logically. Also, enough with the 'snatched from the jaws' type lingo. Leave the sensationalism to meaningless blogs like this one.

I live on the Western Shore, by the water, and I love the Chesapeake Bay. I am dismayed by dead zones, fish with cancerous sores and water that the health department says is not safe to swim in for 48 hours after a big rain.

We do not have to allow more construction in these critical areas, even though the developers were misled into believing they would be able to build there.

Ok, now we are getting somewhere. You are a citizen concerned about the environment, expressing your opposition to development on environmental grounds. Excellent. For a brief back story on this issue, click here. To see the Kent Island Defense League, which played a significant role in this process, click here.You also hit on another point. Developers must have the assurances that if they follow the law as it exists and file all of the proper applications, that upon approval of the applications they will be able to build. Apply this lesson to the APFO for Annapolis and you will gain some understanding on that issue as well.

I am also against nuclear energy.


Remember Chernobyl?

Umm, is that near Wawa?

And I am most insistent that there be no drilling for oil in the arctic.

Where is all this coming from? This is not your bully pulpit to crusade against every environmental concern of yours. Stick to anti-development in Kent Island: you will make more friends.

The answer is to be found in new technology, not in destroying our public lands.
BARBARA MILLER, Tracy's Landing

The answer to what? I have so much to ask you! Oh well, I have a pot of Earl Gray on the stove.

You mean....other people urinate outside too?

Let's examine some logic.

Problem: People are urinating on our property.

Solution: Make all bars close at midnight.

This, of course, does not make sense. But is precisely what Ward 1 residents are saying as part of their opposition to 2 am licenses. How, you are now asking yourself, does closing a bar at midnight reduce public urination? The answer is of course the "Cinderella Effect", whereby the bodies of local thrill-seekers and socialites turn into pumpkins if they are home by midnight. And pumpkins, of course, do not produce bodily fluids.

Unless--geez this is hard to even imagine--people urinate in public for reasons other than coming from a bar. For example: on a golf course, on the side of the road, or in your backyard on a particularly nice day if you have privacy landscaping. Or maybe, just maybe, when they leave after drinking at a private party. Does this really happen? Let's ask Eric Hartley from Thursday's Capital:

(In reference to some mansion in Gambrills):

Neighbors said there are parties perhaps once a month, with some going until 2 or 3 a.m. Pam Schneider, who lives next door, said partygoers sometimes park on neighbors' property, and a few even relieve themselves on surrounding lawns.

Thank you Pam, for enlightening us on this new issue. We now understand that Annapolis can take action to prevent this problem from happening to us. To protect us, the city council should:

1. Mandate that all private parties end by some arbitrary time, let's say 8 p.m.
2. Parties with service bars, along with wine parties, can continue until 8:20.
3. Parties wishing to have outside activities, including but not limited to music, must provide 500 day advance written notice and agree to sacrifice 3 goats if the decibel level surpasses that of the NBC nightly news.
4. There shall be no 'all-you-can-drink' parties, except in Ward 5 because we are awesome.

Then, perhaps, people will understand that you solve Problem A with Solution A, not Indirect, Unrelated Mandate Q. If you really want this (or any) behavior to stop, you give people on the individual level an incentive not to partake in that behavior. If you told me that I would be fined $10,000 every time I urinated in public, and I knew that fine would always be enforced, I would never do it again because the getting caught is too risky. See? Command and control is not the way to get things done. Provide incentives and let people figure it out for themselves.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I am Madam Mayor Moyer and You Will Do What I Want

In an amazing display of bravado, Madam Mayor Moyer fired a department head after he expressed concern over something that contradicted her royal highness.

When it came time for Mr. Patmore, the director of public works, to comment on the mayor's proposal to shut down the city dock for a weekend and let between 2000 and 5000 people come to the city for a triathlon, use its resources, and swim in its waters, all for a grand total of (get this) $1 in rent, Mr. Patmore said:

The city is going to be a nightmare ... as far as street sanitation is concerned and as far as trash is concerned.

Quite right. Not to mention the city doesn't even have the necessary permit from the coast guard, which requires a 130 day advanced notice. Also not to mention that businesses downtown and on the water will lose money because nobody that is not competing in the bloody event will dare go downtown, even if they were able to.

Response from Madam Mayor Moyer: Mr. Patmore is fired.

Statement (from The Capital):

Mr. Patmore is the only department head whose contract was not renewed, Ms. Moyer said. But she said his dismissal was "unfortunate timing" and that his testimony at the meeting was not the reason for his dismissal.

"He's always been very good in bringing to me the concerns with any capital project," Ms. Moyer said. "In the hearing on the triathlon, he brought some issues before the council, some of which I happened to agree with."

Please, I beg you, make your own judgement. He was the only dept. director not to be renewed--the only stinking one! There are other department heads (read: police chief) that could stand to have way more scrutiny than ol' Patmore.

I have personally sat in on meetings where Mr. Patmore participated, including his department's annual review of it's budget, and he appeared to me as a quite capable servant.

A Case for 2 a.m. Licenses

First and foremost, any and all references to 'bar wars' shall be banned from this site. As we all know, wars are far more profound than gin joints and a few aggrieved flower pots in Ward 1.

What the 'twelve o'clockers' argue:
A. Loud noise ruins quality of life
B. Debauchery ruins property
C. Business owners knew what they were getting in to

Right off the bat we can address point C. Yes, they knew what they getting in to. But, so did the residents. They knew that they were moving into the downtown area of a capital city, where people come, and have fun, and spend money, and (gasp!) drink alcohol. The fun that these people have makes more people want to come and live here, and that raises property value. Heck, even Madam Mayor Moyer announced that this is a 2 am drinking town.

Deep breath................(deeper, because we are not breathing in cigarette smoke anymore)...........okay. Points A and B are valid and correct. BUT, stay with me here, they are not automatic reasons to oppose the 2 am licenses. The city, when making this determination, must balance the needs of all citizens. Let's see this for what it is, folks. A certain group of highly motivated, highly organized individuals with a lot of resources opposes this bill. If a person is so drunk as to do the behaviors in question, they are not going to stumble to Admiral Heights--they are going to disrupt some streets in Ward 1.

Let's talk about the benefits of 2am licenses. #1 more money for the city. how? well, license holders will gladly pay a higher license fee to stay open longer. Believe you/me, they will make that money back. Furthermore, for those of you mathematically inclined: higher earning potential for property = higher property value = more money for city from property taxes.

(Intermission--Note do city: Do not spend this money. Cut the property tax and give this money back to us. We earned it, not you.)

(Intermission II--As a general principle, if you make it easier for businesses to make money, they will be more willing to make ivestments in their property and therefore the city. Example: build a parking garage on Board of Education Property downtown, therefore making it easier for people to go downtown and spend money, then the businesses downtown will contribute to installing sprinklers. thanks to AP friend Tim Hogan for this insight. okay, back to the reasons)

#2 better tourist draw. #3 jobs. many people who live in annapolis work downtown and would make more money, then spend more in the local economy, etc. in fact, i would be willing to bet that all of the people who oppose the 2 am bill have benefited from the services provided by someone with a 2 am job.

Question: Do the needs of the Ward 1 residents affected by inebriated idiots outweigh the needs of the residents of the OTHER 7 WARDS?

Answer: Negative.

Recommended Course of Action:
1. pass bill allowing all liquor licenses to go to 2am
2. enjoy more money from license fees and taxes
3. give some money back to the citizens and use the rest to put more police outside bars
4. have the police actually arrest the drunkards BEFORE they partake in destructive behavior in Ward 1, thereby making both sides happy
5. pass some sort of feel good resolution, perhaps naming an official annapolis favorite color
6. go on vacation for all of August

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Should she be driving?

In accordance with AP's personality, the inagural post will be a critique of someone else. In this case, the introduction of what will be a permanent section examining the wit and insight of writers of letters to the editor of The Capital. Oh Sandi McCall in Edgewater. If you are the same Sandi McCall in Edgewater that I know, that I worked with for 5 years, at whose house I have eaten watermelon--good to hear from you! Congratulations on getting your letter published in the Capital...let's talk about it:

I leave my home for work at 5:15 a.m Monday-Thursday. I travel Route 214 in the Edgewater and Mayo area 5 to 10 miles over the speed limit.

Public Service Announcement to AP Readers: Do not publicly admit to any laws you are or may be breaking. As my high school civics teacher used to say, "it's the limit".

Would the other drivers please stop riding my bumper? It only makes me slow down. If they need more time, they should leave earlier.

Earlier than 5:15 a.m.? Does such a time exist? Does the sun know about this?

Would those out for morning strolls please leave their cars at home? They cause unbelievable road rage. Could they at least drive the Speed Limit?

Um, ok, so fast and slow drivers piss you off, but you yourself drive 5-10 miles over the limit? Also, stroll = leisurely walk--the cars are already at home. Confusing. Anyway, here is the breakdown on non-speed limit driving. Those who drive too fast, get tickets; those who drive too slow, drive Buicks. Pick your poison. Alas, we Annapolitans cannot relate to your Route 214 dilemma--we are too busy running red lights and crawling at a snail's pace on Forest Drive.

Do you have any more watermelon?