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Letters to the Editor for December 2000 / January 2001

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Dear Editor:

With regard to Ms. Bragg's response to my letter (Letter to the Editor for November 2000) it appears that my letter was not clear as to the intent. While I attempted to be succinct, I will further expand my thoughts so that there is not misunderstanding.

I did not write nor was it my intent to convey that all councilmembers were against community participation during the Eckerd meetings. I wrote that the current Councilmember from Ward 4 suggested an Executive Session to discuss the future meeting with Eckerd. Executive Session of the Council does exclude public participation and does not embrace "open government". I agree that newspapers do leave out important information. Newspapers are notorious for misrepresenting the facts also. I suggest that Ms. Bragg review the tape of the referenced Council meeting to verify what was said. I believe that the tape, in this instance, will agree with what was reported in the newspaper.

Regarding the maintenance of a petition at the town office, I ask Ms. Bragg, how can a fair judgement be made on any issue with only opinions from one side? It is one thing to develop a petition and then walk door to door to solicit support of that petition and subsequently present the results to Council for their consideration and edification. It is quite another issue to advertise a petition on town TV channel, which is paid for by all cable subscribers, to solicit for "AGAINST" signatures only. I think to do so is wrong, it does not reflect the general consensus of opinion, but rather a totally one sided view. This is not "open government".

Why would anyone in their right mind want to saunter down the sidewalk on Route One. That is beyond my comprehension, the noise and air pollution is terrible on a summer afternoon and is not much better in the winter months. I will say that the spiteful act of barricading the street behind the current shops does lend that certain "home town" feeling to the area.

Perhaps we should regress to the days of the beer joints and car dealerships that once occupied the block--that would regenerate the main street atmosphere that was once the REAL Riverdale that I remember.

Why not concentrate the Council energies in the effort to improve the Town Center with small shops and apartments, it has the history of both and the structures even now resemble "early" Riverdale Park. The Town Center is within walking distance for a lot of citizens and the approach is certainly more people friendly than Route One.

If my original letter to the editor gave the impression that I was FOR Eckerd, so there is no mistake: I do not support Eckerd in any way for any reason. While I do not totally object to the Mayor's methods to achieve what she feels is good for the Town, on occasion the Mayor in her fever to do good will sometimes overlook the fact that the town is not just "her" town, but it is "Our Town".

It's just my humble opinion, but regarding Route One and the Eckerd properties, the "town vision" is suffering from a severe case of cataracts. I agree there should be a win/win situation whereby the town continues to "lean" on Eckerd for design concessions to lessen the impact that another contempory structure will have on the area.

However, I still believe that "new" garbage is better than "old" garbage. For instance, the "new" brick fortress at the corner of Queensbury and Route One is better than the overgrown parking lot that once graced the corner. To further the win/win scenario I would suggest that the Town request that Eckerd turn the buildings over to the Fire Department for a training exercise. This way will be rid of the eye sore, the inherent rats and the other vermin that inhabit the buildings all at once and the fire department will gain valuable fire fighting experience.

My wife and I have voted in each election in support of Mayor Ferguson since she first decided to run for public office after a sitting councilmember told her in an open public council meeting that if she didn't like the way the town was being run, she could move. I, for one, am glad that she chose to stay. I too intend to stay and will continue to be forth-right with my opinion.

Franklin H. Rafter II
4511 Oliver Street

Dear Editor:

The Farmers' Market at Town Center has completed its third year! We thank the many patrons who contributed to its success.

We had an average of ten vendors at each market--mainly vegetable and fruit growers--including one MD Certified Organic. The addition of a vendor of smoked cheeses and meats proved to be very popular. Although we lost our commercial baker, we added Marion, an Amish baker, and our local baker, Linda, who

made Pennsylvania Dutch specialties. Guest vendors included handmade pottery, soap, fabric art and birdhouses.

All of the farmers at our market plant, nurture and harvest the produce they offer for sale. Customers can take pride in knowing they brought the freshest, most nutritious foods to their family tables while supporting local agriculture.

All of the vendors have stated they want to return in the 2001 season. They enjoy the friendliness and good will of our patrons and asked that we express thanks from them for your support.

Patricia Gladding
Farmers' Market Chair

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