Letter From Former Councilwoman Barbara Risacher



Former Councilwoman Barbara Risacher (Photo from Facebook)


To: Council President Richard Slutzky; James  McMahan, Councilman District C; Chad Shrodes, Councilman District  D; Patrick Vincenti, Councilman District E; Curtis Beulah, Councilman District

From Barbara Risacher, Joppa MD

Re: Bill No. 16-029

Dear Sirs;

I was astounded at your performance at last evening’s County Council meeting. I was embarrassed for you. Bill No. 16-029 concerns a new development overlay guide for property totally in District A. This was a bill introduced at the request of the County Executive and is a good effort by the Planning Department and the Executive to create a new and more innovative development style for our area of the county.

It is very important to note that after the first informal discussion of the bill at a local Community Advisory Board meeting, and only a brief review, the Planning Department and the Executive agreed to some amendments that were suggested by the citizens of District A. That was much appreciated.  However, that review was at a meeting that not a large number of citizens were able to attend. Councilman Mike Perrone, then arranged for two area meetings where the bill was discussed and many more citizens had an opportunity to voice their concerns. Many citizens attended the Public Hearing on this Bill and expressed their concerns and desire for amendments.

 Councilman Perrone then drafted amendments at the request of those citizens and presented them to you at last night’s Council meeting. It is important to note that none of the amendments would have drastically changed the proposed Overlay District. There was general consensus that the idea was good but needed some extra words to protect citizens and enhance quality of life. The areas of major concern were; soil erosion and downstream sediment, traffic, and access to usable green spaces.

 I was astounded that as Councilman Perrone introduced his proposed amendments one at a time and explained them and even showed picture: NOT ONE COUNCIL MEMBER WOULD GIVE HIM THE COURTSY OF A “SECOND” SO THAT THERE COULD BE DISCUSSION OF THE MERRITS OF THE AMENDMENTS.  This leads to the conclusion that this was an example of 5 members of the Council having decided to “bully” and be rude to another elected official, or was this totally disregard for the citizens of District A.

I was astounded at the rudeness of it and embarrassed that the actions showed such lack of courage and thought in the presence of a retired military officer whom you had just congratulated for his bravery, and leadership in many fields of battle and his diplomacy and correct behavior in many countries where he had represented the United States Military. I have no idea what would cause such behavior. Councilman Perrone was elected by the citizens of District A and even if he does not conform to your idea of a politician, he deserves to be heard. We did not expect to have every amendment adopted but a simple explanation of why would show some reason and courage.  When I was on the County Council, I lost a few votes 6 to 1 but the men who served with me at least had the courage to explain their reasoning.

I remain amazed,

Barbara Risacher