Sunday, June 12, 2005

17: “Transitioning to Summer…or…What next?”

Note: This essay contains an offer.

Things are very quiet here in Adams County as the area transitions into high gear in its two major industries. The fruit season is starting up, with spring pruning out of the way, and spraying already underway. In and around Gettysburg, the tourist season hit full swing this weekend with the start of the Gettysburg Battlefield National Military Park and Eisenhower Presidential Site’s summer programming. “Battle Walks” conducted by the Interpretive Rangers, and the Campfire Series at the Amphitheater in the evenings got started last night.

And the Casino? Well, just about the only thing that really hit the papers in the past week that was remotely connected to the Casino project was the announced cleanup of the old Crystal Cadillac dealership on the northeast corner of the US 15 - US 30 interchange. The former owner is either doing time for rolling back odometers, or he’s on the lam from justice. It’s a hazy story of him being in Florida, and needing medical treatment, and the hardship of coming up here for trial, etc. So "The Strabaddies", as the township supervisors in Straban are called here, have mailed out letters to get the former owner, and another person who had an interest in the property to clean it up. We wouldn’t want to build a brand-spanking new Casino with an eyesore like that next to it, would we?

Oh, and all around good guy Bob “If I don’t build it, someone else will” Monahan once again stepped forward in the press to trumpet his “civic mindedness” by announcing he was filming a Civil War movie here that will show what the common soldier and civilian faced during the battle.

Outside of that, and the occasional “LeVan Treat” (the thunderous noise and vibration of 30-150 Harleys riding by your home at several times between 10 AM and 11 PM on all days of a three day weekend!), there was not much happening. All was quiet, except when the Harleys rumbled by.

And that, my friends, is the trouble. Not a peep out of “Casi-NO!”, or any of the folks involved, (oh, Mr. Berg got his monthly letter to the editor published in the Hanover Sun). A photograph of a bunch of folks who got together to discuss development, and the occasional article stating Adams County is the second fastest growing county in the state.

Alan Berg is a community activist who has been out front on similar issues before, including the WalMart Distribution Center, and the WalMart Superstore. He has been working hard in the southern end of the county trying to help the townships down there (ironically called Freedom and Liberty) break the chains their own supervisors put them into with inadequate zoning ordinances over the years. Now a huge, out of state developer, Wormold, is trying to invade Pennsylvania and build enormous “Planned Residential Communities” in those townships – communities that even the above average Adams County resident won’t be able to afford to move into, communities that are not going to be built for Adams County residents, but for getaway folks from Washington and Baltimore.

Mr. Berg is, unfortunately, a Democrat. And Democrats do not carry a lot of weight in Adams County. The carry a lot of baggage these days, but not much weight. He has the unfortunate stigma of being a Greenie, as well. And Greenies, or Environmentalists, carry even more baggage and less weight (far less) than the Democrats. He works with the likes of local politician Gil Pringle, a man I have come to admire greatly over the years, and Diane Bittle, a local resident who has the moxie to stand up and demand to be heard, and to speak with a forceful community voice. Please understand I do not hold either Democrats or Greenies in contempt (well, some National Democrats are contemptible, but so are some Republicans!), so the “stigmata” is a reality not of my making. Mr. Berg’s valiant efforts to build coalitions, and lead causes in Adams County are almost doomed from the start. The anti-Democrat, Anti-Greenie Republicans hold the seats, and have the insider power, and they are wielding that power with great, though irresponsible effect.

Ask yourself, “Why is it that only one Republican figure from Adams County has stepped to the plate and unequivocally declared himself against the Casino?” I refer to State Representative Steve Maitland. Why is he the lone voice on “the inside”?

As I said in an earlier essay, I am ashamed of my Republican Party in Adams County (really, I am ashamed of my Republican Party in Pennsylvania! They are responsible for Act 71 and Act 72!). They have become a class of gutless wonders. Early in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln wrote a response to a scathing editorial written by Horace Greeley, in which Greeley complained that Lincoln was giving in on slavery. Lincoln responded:

"As to the policy I "seem to be pursuing" as you say, I have not meant to leave anyone in doubt.

"I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the neared the Union will be "the Union as it was". If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.”

Lincoln was willing to do just about anything to bring the nation back together. But at the end of the letter, this cautionary note:

"I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.”

Oh! How I would like to see an Adams County Republican stand up like that.

I promised an offer at the start of this essay, and here it is: I would love to meet with Mr. Berg, Representative Maitland, Mr. Pringle, and Ms. Bittle any time, to offer the services of this, or any other Blog they would care to start, in order to get a single voice out over the Internet. I’d be happy to start the Blog and run it for them. I am already in contact with Representative Maitland, but the rest could contact me through a mutual friend of Mr. Pringle’s, who has the initials DJ. Any of them could leave an email address in the comments section, and I will make contact.

Anything is better than nothing. The pressure must be kept up on the Casino issue. And we can think about how to stop "The Strabaddies" and their land grab! Perhaps we could add “Republicans Against Development” (RAD) to the coalition?


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