Lack of county over­sight a trou­bling dis­cov­ery

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - Com­mu­nity Voice By FROM: KEITH MCKENICA Keith McKenica is a mem­ber of the Calvert Neigh­bor­hood Al­liance, LLC. Steve Le­vit­sky serves as the vice pres­i­dent of sus­tain­abil­ity at Per­due Farms. Dana Mil­bank is a syn­di­cated colum­nist. Con­tact him at danamilb

North East

The Calvert Neigh­bor­hood Al­liance would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to in­form the Ce­cil County cit­i­zens of the fol­low­ing de­vel­op­ments.

Last year, a 2.2-mil­lion­gal­lon ma­nure tank was built in the county along with a 90-foot silo. The cost of these struc­tures was over $500,000. Through proper due dili­gence, it was dis­cov­ered that both struc­tures were built with­out any per­mit­ting done by ei­ther the owner of the prop­erty, the builder or the county.

The lawyer for our Al­liance con­tacted the county to com­mu­ni­cate to them our se­ri­ous con­cerns about this de­vel­op­ment.

The county’s re­sponse was to is­sue a per­mit over a year af­ter the struc­ture was built and waive any in­spec­tion of both struc­tures. The only charge to the prop­erty owner was a $140 fine. No ac­tions were taken against the builder.

On Nov. 16 mem­bers of the Calvert Neigh­bor­hood Al­liance met with county of­fi­cials to ques­tion the ac­tion taken by county.

The county ad­mit­ted that the struc­tures were never per­mit­ted by the county prior to con­struc­tion. They also stated that this hap­pens of­ten when deal­ing with farm struc­tures. When asked about the prop­erty own­ers and builders be­ing fined for break­ing the law, their an­swer was even more up­set­ting.

First, they were asked what sort of fine would cover this act and they didn’t know.

Sec­ond, they guessed the fine would be around $400 to $500 against the builder but did not state the fine against the prop­erty owner. No­body in the room would state for the record that they knew for sure what the fine would be.

Third, the county of­fi­cials then stated is would not be “worth their while” to fine ei­ther party be­cause the le­gal cost would out­weigh the fine.

The county of­fi­cials then pre­sented a re­port from a third party en­gi­neer­ing firm that stated they the ma­nure tank was built fol­low­ing the man­u­fac­turer guide­lines and the en­gi­neer­ing firm would stand by the struc­ture. The re­port never stated if the en­gi­neer­ing firm ever in­spected the foun­da­tion or ex­plained how this re­port was com­piled. The county would not al­low us to have a copy of the re­port. The only thing that the county of­fi­cials were con­cerned about was the fact that now the li- abil­ity of this 2.2-mil­lion-gal­lon ma­nure tank falls on the en­gi­neer­ing firm not on the county. The county of­fi­cials also stated that this is com­mon prac­tice on their part.

You would think the county would in­sist on in­volve­ment in all build­ing projects dur­ing their con­struc­tion and not af­ter the fact, es­pe­cially large projects such as this one. Given that this ma­nure tank can store over 2 mil­lion gal­lons of ma­nure, the county should have been ac­tively in­volved in all steps of their con­struc­tion for safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal rea­sons.

Af­ter hear­ing the way the county op­er­ates with re­gard to per­mits, why would any Ce­cil County res­i­dent bother to ap­ply for a per­mit? If a law bro­ken in this spe­cific case, why were no ac­tions or fines brought on those peo­ple who ig­nored the proper pro­ce­dures which are clearly writ­ten in our build­ing codes?

If Ce­cil County Govern­ment can’t mon­i­tor and en­force its own per­mit­ting process, what hope do the cit­i­zens of Ce­cil County have in its suc­cess­ful mon­i­tor­ing of in­dus­trial-sized poul­try op­er­a­tions that will have a di­rect ef­fect on the en­vi­ron­ment and the health and liveli­hood of Ce­cil County res­i­dents? Like­wise, Del­marva’s farm­ers have im­ple­mented en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly best prac­tices, and con­tinue to do so.

All too of­ten, we hear only the shout­ing at the ex­treme ends, with con­fronta­tion, the lay­ing of blame and de­fen­sive­ness mak­ing head­lines. Progress, how­ever, will come from those who want to move to­ward a pro­duc­tive com­mon ground. As we look for­ward to a New Year, let’s re­solve that it’s time to end the food fight and work to­gether for Del­marva, agri­cul­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment. self-praise. She de­scribed her man­age­ment style as pa­tient, me­thod­i­cal, “tough and firm but gen­tle at the same time,” hon­est, can­did, “very def­er­en­tial and re­spect­ful,” and “with a big smile.”

But af­ter this ugly cam­paign, Con­way and her boss will need more than a big smile. “I was al­ways raised to re­spect the of­fice of the pres­i­dency and its cur­rent oc­cu­pant,” said the woman whose boss led the cam­paign ques­tion­ing the cur­rent pres­i­dent’s le­git­i­macy as a na­tive­born Amer­i­can.

Amer­i­cans re­spect the pres­i­dency, but Trump will have to earn re­spect. And you don’t earn that by run­ning a cam­paign that stirred up misog­yny and gen­der-role re­sent­ment — and then pro­claim­ing it a vic­tory for women. by things done to them.

Such peo­ple are sus­cep­ti­ble to charis­matic pres­i­den­tial lead­er­ship, with its prom­ise that ex­ec­u­tive power with­out lim­its can de­liver them from un­hap­pi­ness by de­liv­er­ing to them pub­lic goods. In con­trast, there was dig­nity in the Joad fam­ily (of John Stein­beck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”). When the Dust Bowl smoth­ered Ok­la­homa, the Joads were not en­er­vated, they moved west in search of work.

What for­merly was called con­ser­vatism re­sisted the per­me­ation of so­ci­ety by pol­i­tics, and par­tic­u­larly by the sort of un­con­strained ex­ec­u­tive power that has been wielded by the 44th pres­i­dent. The man who will be the 45th forthrightly and com­pre­hen­sively re­pu­di­ates the tra­di­tional con­ser­va­tive agenda and, in re­vers­ing it, em­braces his pre­de­ces­sor’s ex­ec­u­tive swag­ger.

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