Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Hot Time in Elkridge

CSX and MDOT held an intermodal workshop at Elkridge Middle School tonight. I decided to drop by and catch some of the action. This is very contentious issue in some parts of Elkridge, particularly those parts around Hanover, closest to one of the final four sites for this new terminal. The opposition has a Facebook page and an online petition. They have even had red signs made demanding that the terminal be located anywhere but Elkridge.

I happen to see this a bit differently. If CSX / MDOT decides that the Elkridge site best fits their needs than they have every right to put it there. Period. End of discussion. The zoning already permits it and in fact this is the type of use that has always been envisioned for this land (more about that in another post about permiited uses in an M2 zone,as a matter of right). As far as I’m concerned, this is an important asset to have in the county, it will benefit all of the surrounding warehouse business parks and that means jobs and a solid commercial tax base. It’s also important to remember that not all residents in the county can get cyber security jobs.

Tonight of course I was one of the few people who saw things that way. On my way into the building I passed Senator Ed Kasemeyer. He counts himself amongst the opposition and was even wearing a red Cincinnati Reds t-shirt to show solidarity. The opponents had urged all supporters to wear red to the workshop.

 Paul and I had hoped to have Ed as a guest on our podcast for our next General Assembly wrap up show but we could never seem to get the date coordinated with his office. We ended up booking Senator Allan Kittleman instead. He did tell me tonight that he'd like to come on though so I told him we’d shoot for the Fall prior to the Special Session on congressional redistricting. He seemed amenable to that.

No sooner had I walked in the door than I ran into Larry Carson as he was leaving. Larry asked me why I wasn’t wearing a t-shirt that read “I Support Intermodal.”

I don’t really do message t-shirts anymore.

Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty was leaving too. I didn’t get to talk to her before she left. I soon understood why she and Larry were leaving so early in the workshop. It was bloody humid in the non air conditioned gymnasium.

The first person I encountered inside was Jeff Robinson, the President of the HoCo Repub Club. Jeff asked me about my post about Herman Cain. He wondered if I was being sarcastic when I said that Cain would be entertaining. I wasn’t. I’d actually like to hear him speak but I’m reluctant to be around that many of the Repub party faithful all in one place for an entire evening. I feel the same way about the Dems.

I also spoke with Council President Dr. Calvin Ball. I asked Calvin why the Democrats hate business. All the Dems who represent Elkridge have come out in opposition of an Elkridge terminal. Senator Kasemeyer went so far as to call it goofy.

Calvin of course said, in his trademark calm and reassuring manner, that the Dems don’t hate business. They just want to help business be better.

Yeah, sure, it's the old "we're from the government and we're here to help" line. Though I find him to be a little left of center in his politics, I still like Calvin. It’s hard not to.

I also saw Councilwoman Courtney Watson. We didn’t get a chance to talk but I did notice that she was wearing pink, not red.

The funniest line of the night came from Lisa Filar. She said she’d prefer CSEX over CSX any day.

Now that's my kind of heat.
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