In a December 25 letter to the Baltimore Sun, Saint Mary’s County Commissioner Cindy Jones criticizes both the science behind PlanMaryland and the process used to vet the Plan with Maryland’s citizens. Here is an excerpt:
The science supporting PlanMaryland employs tactics such as changing the parameters on a chart to produce a favorable result, omitting pertinent items from topical discussions (the ones that do not support the plan’s theses) and using unproven assumptions that are not based upon empirical data.
This explains why elected officials at both the county and state levels have met with months of stonewalling and evasiveness when querying Secretary Hall and his staff about PlanMaryland. Based upon its scientific merits, PlanMaryland is indefensible.
The Department of Planning engaged 3,000 citizens in its outreach efforts, including stakeholder meetings and open houses. This is not authentic consensus building, and not consistent with the workings of a representative form of government.
The threshold for ballot access for a referendum is 50,000 signatures. How can the input of a mere 3,000 people, comprised mostly of special interests, be said to be a legitimate consensus?
As previously reported on Conduit Street, MACo summarized its concerns regarding the PlanMaryland process and the potential impact on local land use authority in a letter to Governor Martin O’Malley in November. Legislation will be introduced during the 2012 Session to restrict or clarify the parameters of the Plan and MACo will consider any legislation relating to the Plan.