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The Tentacle


August 26, 2008

Community Action: Good and Bad

Farrell Keough

It used to be that a handshake or a person’s word was their bond. While some may argue that this is just simply our memories of a past gone by, many still know people who, when they tell you they will do something, it gets done! In short, people of integrity.

 

Many will remember a previous article on the Southern Frederick County Youth Athletic Group (SFCYAF). It has obtained permits and the construction of new practice fields for our children’s sports is underway. They have not only put up their own money in bond, but many, many people have also put in hours of sweat equity – building fences, getting land surveys and plots compiled, filling out the plethora of forms, all the difficult and tedious tasks it takes to accomplish this Herculean task.

 

They are still in need of donations which are fully tax deductible and will only pay to offset the required costs. In short, no person will receive any part of your donation; it is simply to pay for the tremendous costs involved in undertaking this private/government partnership.

 

I am trying to contact some of our larger local companies in hopes of corporate donations. If you can offer any type of contribution, or know of a contact, please either use the website or drop me a line. (My email address is at the end of this column.)

 

This group has given their time, money, and valuable expertise – and elbow grease – to get something truly worthwhile accomplished for residents and our children.

 

What is of note in this group is their transparency and openness. The names of the people involved, the companies who have helped, the representation before the Board of County Commissioners has all taken place openly, with all information publicly available. No one has to wonder if there is an ulterior motive, or some outside group involved. This is the best of volunteerism and government involvement. Real people making a real difference.

 

I point this out because other groups are doing what they can to make a difference, but they are either not from our area or are making sure it is very difficult to determine just who exactly is involved.

 

This would not be of issue, except the methods they seem to be employing are not always on the up and up. Disinformation, misinformation, and at times, outright lies are being employed. Scare tactics and attempts to impede our government processes are also being used.

 

Signs like “No Incinerator” are being given away with “donations” requested. Since there is no accountability, there is no way of knowing if the laws are being followed with respect to these “donations.”

 

As has already been acknowledged, the “No Incinerator” signs are a tactic that does not describe the truth of the Waste-To-Energy plant being discussed. It is not in fact a simple incinerator.

 

But, stating the facts is not the purpose. The purpose is to influence the public and manipulate our government officials. Hence, a catchy sign will do when facts, precise alternatives, compromise, or any other number of solutions will not suffice. It is their way or no way – using less than truthful or ethical methods is no deterrent for these groups who will only accept their plan for our county.

 

This is important for at least two reasons:

 

(1) These groups take valuable time away from our government officials and staff.

 

(2)These groups are not accountable for the information they present.

 

These groups will inundate our government officials with requests, emails, extra time at meetings, etc. They will use outside lobbying firms from Washington, DC, to attempt to manipulate our elected officials and delay the processes already underway. In short, they take our time, our taxes, and the democratic process of our local county.

 

They will also provide false information about presumed dangers of the Waste-To-Energy plant. They will either misrepresent or develop costs which have no basis in fact. They do not propose valid alternatives, (including real costs, real logistics and requirements, real data with which to make comparisons or considerations). They will, instead, talk in highfalutin terms about process, disagreeing with studies but showing no actual evidence or alternatives, and providing mounds of information that has little to no bearing on the case at hand.

 

Keep your ears and eyes open for these groups and their affects. You will see numerous people of various distinction, outside groups you have never heard of before, and the emergence of many new groups with acronyms similar to existing organizations. Many letters will be written and catchy new signs may arise.

 

It is unfortunate that our area may now be facing these new politics of win at all costs. There have always been instances of behind-closed-doors shenanigans, but generally those involved were discovered and methods to remedy the situations have come about. But, with these shadow groups and outside people and organizations, the likelihood of determining who is actually involved and holding them accountable is becoming less certain.

 

Fortunately, we still have more honorable people, like the SFCYAF, than those involved in these nefarious activities.

 

We need to support these people of good character as well as hold those of questionable character to account. I hope you will seriously consider a donation to our children’s future through SFCYAF!

 

I also hope you will continue to be engaged with what you hear and read in the coming arguments over Waste-To-Energy and remember who involves themselves with these groups.

 

fkeough@hotmail.com

 



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