|Corporate pouting in
The events of September 11 have been a wake up call for Americans.
Weíve been reminded of just how much we value the individual liberties we enjoy as citizens living in a democratic society - and how strong our resolve is to protect them.
It also occurred to me that weíve probably all been a little guilty of taking those freedoms for granted from time to time, and this got me to thinking about noteworthy examples of citizens exercising their freedom right here in our little part of the world.
I didnít have to think long. I thought immediately of the Kent Island Defense League - a small group of Kent Island citizens who have identified what they rightfully perceive as a threat to the islandís quality of life and its natural environment that, once lost, can never be replaced. And have responded by giving freely of their time and energy to do something about it.
The dedication and tenacity of this group has been nothing short of inspirational. Over the past few years there have been countless occasions when they could have caved in to the enormous odds they faced and no one would have thought less of them.
How many times do you suppose they were told, ďYou fought the good fight, but you canít win. Thatís just the way it is here in Queen Anneís county.Ē But each defeat along the way seemed to energize them even more.
Just as commendable is the fact that the KIDL has always taken the high road, directing their fight through constitutional channels afforded them by law. They chose the American Way. Pity the same cannot be said of their opponents.
Their efforts on behalf of residents have been met with a salvo of corporate double-dealing, bureaucratic arrogance, and political duplicity at a level never seen before, even by old-timers on the island. Still, they endured. And Kent Islanders responded.
Last week, by coming just 10 signatures short of forcing a referendum over the 1,350-home Four Seasons project, the KIDL was granted a 40-day extension of the petition deadline by the county Board of Elections.
The referendum would give county citizens the opportunity to voice their opinion in the next election on whether they want to see intensive development in critical areas of Kent Island. Some may feel that letting the residents having a say is not unreasonable, but there are others who believe that the people simply arenít well enough educated to make that decision.
County Chamber of Commerce President Jim Sowden is one of them. "Unfortunately, I don't think the rank-and-file voter knows what can be lost if this issue goes to referendum."
Iím not sure what the implications of being a ďrank-and-fileĒ voter are, but I donít believe Mr. Sowden meant it as a compliment, do you?
Mark Stemen, area president of the billion-dollar developer of Four Seasons, stated his companyís position weeks ago. "If the petition to referendum succeeds, K. Hovnanian cannot afford to wait another 14 months to see if we can even proceed with our proposed active adult community."
Gee, is that a threat? Or do I detect corporate pouting in public? I suspect that when heís alone in his corner office heís also not above whining and stomping his feet.
I donít expect the extension of the petition to referendum to go unchallenged. I suspect that, as I write, teams of corporate lawyers are being thrown at the problem, looking for loopholes in the law to deny citizens their right to have a voice.
In light of whatís happening in the world, I donít believe there has been a more appropriate time for us to join the protest against this unholy alliance between money and government by adding our signatures to the petition for referendum.
A freedom not acted
on, is a freedom lost.
© 2000 - 2001 Bill
Evans. Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.