Sunday, June 19, 2005

19: “What next, NASCAR?”

The disgust is deepening. Our developer friendly county and township politicians are now planning to bestow a rodeo rink upon us. Oh, but not just any old rodeo rink, but a huge, acre-eating giant of a rodeo rink that they are calling and “Equestrian Center”, to nice-it-up for the show-horse folks from down Maryland way. “A rose by any name should smell so sweet”, wrote the Bard in Romeo and Juliet. And “a road apple by any name should smell so bad”, to paraphrase him.

The culprits? Need you ask? "The Strabaddies", of course. After their sneak-attack conquest of their own township on May 2, the night they laid waste to 8,000 acres of open and farmland in Straban Township (that’s almost 80% of the open and agriculture land in the township!), "The Strabaddies" now can talk openly about putting the Equine Center in where they once wanted so desperately to put in a WalMart Distribution center.

And nothing has changed about the property – it still drains into Marsh Creek with the same environmental problems associated with run-off that eventually caused WalMart to cave on their effort to build at the corner of US 15 and PA 234 (the Hunterstown exit from 15). Potentially it is worse. Where the distribution center posed an environmental threat due to chemical contaminants, the Equine Center would as well, with the additional threat of equine based bio-contaminants in the runoff.

Add to the list the Adams County Economic Development Corporation, and the Adams County Commissioners (whom I hereby formally dub “The Addams Family”, though there is little humorous about this version), as the ACEDC certainly worked hard to get this “Equestrian Center” to build here, and did so with the active assistance of “The Addams Family”, and of course, our old friends, "The Strabaddies".

How do we know this? Well, the investors received a tax-payer funded grant to do engineering and environments studies on the project from the Commonwealth Financing Authority to the tune of $175,000 of your tax dollars. It’s akin to the way the Chinese government does executions: you get a bullet in the back of the head, and your family gets a bill for the bullet. According to the website of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Economic and Community Development, “The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) was established as an independent agency of the Commonwealth to administer Pennsylvania's economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania's economic growth.”

Hello? I would like a grant to study the effects of putting up a cell phone tower in my back yard? Seriously, Pennsylvania citizens absolutely must get their priorities in order here. First, start asking your legislators the hard questions, like:

“Why is Adams County getting all this development money when we are “suffering” with 2-3% unemployment, and have three thriving economies in our county, none of which are dependent on the others, and while municipalities elsewhere are strangling in their own death throes?”

“Why isn’t this money going to some place like the City of Chester in Delaware County, which has become pretty much of a ruined ghost town occupied by low income residents, with no new industry, very little left of the older industries, and a school district that simply is unable to function at all. Please explain to us why this is allowed to happen?”

And if your legislator doesn’t answer satisfactorily, or he misinforms you by saying Adams County needs it just as badly as Chester, PA needs it, then you know to target that legislator for removal in November. Now, repeat the process for your Adams County Commissioners (“The Addams Family”), and your Township Supervisors, including, especially, "The Strabaddies".

So, what can we expect as our next “morning surprise” to come out of our newspapers while we drink that first cup of coffee for the day? How about a NASCAR track just south of Biglerville?

Next up: The Economic Development Corporations.

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