Sustainable Annapolis ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sustainable Annapolis

CP is a longtime tree-hugger and frothing-at-the-mouth environmentalist who has written about our local government's conservation and environmental protection efforts. I've given Mayor Moyer both strong marks as well as demerits for her leadership and occasional bungling in this area. I don't doubt her sincerity, but I think much of it is misguided, though well intentioned. She has focused hard in some important areas yet also gotten involved in some issues that are just fluff-n-puff (i.e. Lacey Anne Regina...Cloud Nine...The Clean Air curriculum or fourth graders) A few weeks back, CP exposed a silly, wasteful and hyped slide show about our so-called "sustainability" efforts (see July 30).

Now Mayor Moyer has come up with yet more busywork in this area with a Sustainable Annapolis Program Kick-Off Event on September 11th. Yes, September 11th. Yet two weeks before the "kickoff", the only thing one can find at the city's web-site is an announcement about the "kickoff".

I'll bet many of you did not even know that we have an official Sustainability Coordinator. Now this is probably a good thing, but how did this new job get wrangled in place? One day when I have absolutely nothing else to do, I am going to study just how many new such jobs Mayor Moyer has created. She made a whole Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Protection, installing her own choice (sort of like with Economic Development Office? Department?)but that was not enough. Now we have to coordinate such protections. She has created another choice position for Youth and Family Coordinator (or something like that) as well as an Aquatics Coordinator. These are all great and well if you believe in activist government as I generally do, but not so good if you believe in a government that should only provide police and fire protection and build roads. But what bothers me is not so much whether we have the jobs or not, as whether spending the money actually does anything useful for the residents.

And it gets worse. We have all kinds of coordinators and Lord knows what, but we can't even get a bicycle and pedestrian planner/coordinator, which I would argue is vastly more important than aquatics. And as far as sustainability, why can't we even have working air conditioners on our buses? Now I will give the mayor credit for taking strong positions with bicycling improvements, and despite my political opposition to her, she has chosen me to sit on the committee tasked with planning those improvements--and we are working hard to make those improvements with her support.

I guess the big question is do we really need another program, or committee or fancy project such as "sustainability"? What we really need is a hard-nosed assessment of progress and an evaluation of results. Are we getting bang for our bucks, so to speak? Mayor Moyer creates jobs she likes, puts in people she likes and what do we get? Announcem

CP also wants good government and wants to know if this government is sustainable with this spend, spend, spend and crony mentality.

One last thing---while we're embarking on this sustainability effort to create green and thriving neighborhoods, does anybody know what has happened to the Comprehensive Plan? I think it is months and months behind. Please let me know.

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