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Guest Column in February 5, 2006 The Capital


There have been many comments about me and the Greater Crofton Council, of which I'm the president. I am privileged to lead an organization whose members work endlessly to accomplish their mission: creating a borer Crofton community.

I thank the many hundreds of people who have called, e-mailed or stopped in to see me to offer support of the GCC initiatives and my leadership.

I am in my fourth term as president, after being elected through the overwhelming support of my members. One year the election results were so significant that they were the subject of newspaper headlines.

I value the mutual respect and trust I have with the GCC membership. I feel I've been rewarded by our track record of getting the job done.

The intelligent, quiet majority -- not the belligerent, noisy complainers -- guides the GCC. We do not move in lockstep with any political agenda. We look outside the box for solutions and do not accept worn-out rhetoric as gospel.

In recent years and months, money has become the focus of complaints against the GCC. The tax cap is not the reason we do not have county money. The GCC never accepts money for itself. The council runs on a budget of less than $2,000 a year. We strive to ensure that all of our member communities and associations benefit from any financial arrangements we facilitate.

Many of the current outspoken critics of the GCC have taken the money. These include County Executive Janet S. Owens' parks and recreation department and the Crofton Athletic Council. Their complaint is that they are more deserving and should receive more funding at the expense of other community organizations. With respect to money, those who squawk the most usually have something to hide.

The list of groups that receive funding was put together as a consensus effort by the home owners' associations most affected and the GCC. Many GCC members asked for money or help to sponsor local community organizations. Sometimes donors make anonymous donations through us.

No one has ever said no, or said "Do not send the money -- we do not support that idea." They all want to get the check yesterday. Most do say thank you.

Since we are open to discussion of any topic affecting the Crofton area, the GCC does not care what political party you belong to. Working this way has brought success to the projects the GCC has spearheaded.

Our members bring forth the agenda items and the initiatives. The speakers at our meetings are leaders in the county. Most elected representatives -- from the speaker of the House of .Delegates, to our congressman, to officials of the Maryland Stadium Authority -- request a chance to talk with our members. Interim school Superintendent Nancy M. Mann is coming this month.

Although we have doubled in size the last three years, we continue the founding GCC tradition of fighting for causes our members believe are right and will advance the greater good.

The GCC has signed or helped forge agreements for the benefit of community organizations. Until my members-say otherwise, we will continue. We do this with open minds and with our member boards' support. The GCC has respected the trust many members have given to us to do what needs to be done, even if it is not the politically correct, thing to do.

I have attended over 100 meetings a year listening to our members talk about what they want and what price they are willing to pay.

The high school is the No. 1 community improvement on everyone's list. We took the high school decision to new heights by signing a nonbinding discussion piece with the Halle Co. to build a high school in the 21054 ZIP code.

We did this after your elected county officials and representatives showed up at the hearings and told the hearing official, on the record, that they do not oppose the Halle landfill or the Cunningham Sand & Gravel mining operation at this time.

At your next community meeting, ask the county officials why they tell you one thing and then tell Halle and Cunningham the opposite.

The GCC's membership has voted many times on this issue. These policies have passed each and every time. We do not support the landfill, but if it comes, we want something in return. Our members want a Crofton-area high school.

What the political community does with this is up to you. But no matter what promises it makes, only the appointed school board can budget and build a high school. In this county, no elected official has that power.

If the school board were held accountable to the public, it would have to live up to its promises. The GCC supports changing the system for school board appointments.

The writer is president of the Greater Crofton Council

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