Anne's politics becoming Wild Wild East
By DAVID ABRAMS, Staff Writer The Capital July 16, 2006
wasn't your typical suburban Fourth of July parade, as a county
would be demeaning to the pig," quipped Squeaky Lofland, the
is not your usual staid political climate. It's the Wild Wild East of
the other end of the Bay Bridge from Anne Arundel, the county is at the
were so angry about decisions made in the past that they kicked the
the growing pains of the county are again creating a pressure cooker
the pace of development has been cut in half in the past four years,
commissioners are reeling from their own mini version of Watergate's
photo of the commissioners on the county's Web site is missing Mike
commissioners are regularly getting into arguments that quickly turn
week there's another fight between two of the commissioners," said
eight-year battle over Four Seasons, a development slated for the
it ever gets out of court, the project is slated to include 930 houses,
said nearly every decision they make is met with the threat of
Seasons is one of five major projects slated for the future, and there
have property rights, and they're exercising their property rights,"
The 30-minute gap
growth problem is behind every controversy for the commissioners.
a recent development in the continuing saga of Four Seasons, for
Anne's County Circuit Court Judge John W. Sause Jr. ruled earlier this
commissioners held a work session before signing off on the maps, Mr.
now says he did that because he didn't think the work session would
the judge ordered the commissioners to produce a transcript of that
Critics were suspicious, and cried foul.
commissioners had to hire an ex-Secret Service agent to enhance the
does sound like a conspiracy theory, a Nixon tapes thing, but it was
more famous 18.5-minute gap led to speculation that President Nixon had
the case of Queen Anne's County, the tape was about 30 minutes long. The
the election season is heating up. Just ask the "mayors" of Kent
natives over here are so disgusted with development," said Clyde Wynne,
T. McQueeney Jr., one of the three incumbents voted out last time, is
a symptom of the conflict between what people want and what they need,
county as a whole is totally opposed to growth, and there's no way it
people are challenging the sitting commissioners. A slate of people
Wynne and his friends think there might be a repeat of the 2002 election
when the board votes on an issue related to development, there is a
Ransom and Mr. Koval vote against, while Mr. Cupani, Ben Cassell Jr.,
make things even more interesting, Mr. Cassell is running against Mr.
Cassell said the election is going to be about informing the voters
Gibson's Grant, a pending project. Mr. Cassell said he ended up voting
He's ready to counter the claim that he is pro-growth.
going to argue with that and say, 'Show me the massive development,'"
Ransom and Mr. Koval, he said, vote against everything. Meanwhile, the
previous commissioners signed a settlement agreement with the Four
dealing with contract law, not growth stuff," he said, adding that
Koval said the commissioners control the fate of Four Seasons, and have
tensions on the board are obvious. In its official photo, Mr. Koval is
thing legitimate business people can't put up with is lying," Mr.
said other commissioners claim to be fiscal conservatives tough on
Cassell said he had a falling out with Mr. Koval when they were both
then, Mr. Koval has accused board members of fraud to the Attorney
But no agents have been knocking on Mr. Cassell's door, he said.
"It's just hard for me to take his statements seriously," Mr. Cassell said.
to discuss the county's budget last month - shown on a video
Mr. Koval proposed cuts to pay for teacher pensions.
order to do one thing, you're going to have to cut from something else,"
Mr. Cupani fired back.
sat here, and we cut expenses," he said. "Where were you? Where were you
Mr. Cupani moved on to let Mr. Ransom make his comments on the budget.
"Excuse me, I wasn't finished!" Mr. Koval said.
"You've got to show up and be here, that's all," Mr. Cupani continued.
let's see who's here next year," Mr. Koval responded. "That's all
came to be Mr. Ransom's turn to talk, and he thanked citizens for coming
part of a community is a contact sport sometimes," he said, "as you
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