Annapolis alderman tries to set the record straight; imperfect rowing installation commentary
In a recent letter to the editor, Ms. Susan Schneider attributed a false quote to me. In lambasting the Annapolis City Council for delaying grant funding to Eastport United Methodist Church because we needed time to discuss advice from our legal counsel, she falsely quoted me as saying: “You can’t give money to a church because you can’t trust them. “I didn’t say or insinuate that, and I don’t think so either. You can watch the video by yourself.
Our town attorney advised us not to give money directly to a church in order to maintain a separation between church and state. What I said at the meeting was that as an atheist, I am very aware of maintaining this separation, and so I accepted the proposal to postpone the allocation of funds to the WUSC until this is resolved. As we have repeatedly told Ms. Schneider, all she has to do is resubmit an application using the non-profit arm of WUSC.
Yet somehow Mrs. Schneider turned this into a lie about me. Maybe she didn’t like to hear that I’m an atheist, because there are people who don’t understand us. I am an atheist because I am an environmental scientist whose belief structure is oriented around mother earth and humanism. I don’t know why Ms. Schneider thought it was morally acceptable or appropriate to fabricate this quote about me, but I wanted to set the record straight.
Rob Savidge, Annapolis
Savidge is an Annapolis Councilman for Ward 7
I respond to the recent comment that a rowing facility mentioned in the July 19 Capital is not a wise use of public funds. I am puzzled as to why the former chairman of the county water access commission opposes opening our county waters to a rowing group. I think they would support increased public access to our county waters by environmentally conscious groups.
The proposed “rowing” facility has always included rowers, kayakers and windsurfers in the use of this public site. In fact, many rowers participate in all three activities and belong to various county clubs. The purpose of this new facility is to encourage greater participation in these water sports, not to exclude the public. A county park is always open to the public and with more shorelines in Anne Arundel County than any other county in Maryland, that seems fitting. The fear of crowding out the public with weekly regattas is wrong. The regattas only take place once or twice a year.
The 2017 report’s recommendation that this site be next to a public boat launch is truly puzzling since anyone who does these water sports knows that rowing shells and motorboats don’t mix , because you need calm water to launch the shells. The hulls have very little freeboard and are easily submerged and even capsized by boat wakes.
In recent years, the county has opened 19 kayak launch sites using public funds, so the county supports better access to water for its citizens. There are no public sites for rowers. This new site would expand the opportunity for students to participate in the sport of rowing and be eligible for the many college scholarships available to rowers across the country.
Comments regarding the feasibility study fail to mention that this study is currently being conducted at all waterfront parks in the county – not just Homeport. There is nothing to report to the public until these studies are complete. The public’s opinion would then be solicited regarding the recommendations of the study.
Other counties surrounding Anne Arundel may have developed a site like this along their rivers and bay. Why not Anne Arundel County?
Poulsen is a member of the Canoe and Rowing Committee of the Annapolis Rowing Club
Unlike American senses Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, I don’t believe Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Bret Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett lied about their belief that Roe v. Wade was established law. They did not testify under oath that they were opposed to overturning established law and it was not difficult to foresee that each of these judges would act on their opposition to a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. Nor do I believe that established law should be immutable. Indeed, over decades, if not centuries, it is important for the court to overturn established law, such as “separate but equal,” when established law reflects an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution inconsistent with the mores and realities of modern American society.
Always, I listen carefully to others who have opposing points of view. I’ve heard life advocates claim that, routinely, viable fetuses are aborted after 8 or 9 months of pregnancy. Yet when I interview doctors who actually perform abortion services, I am told that this does not happen except when a medical emergency that threatens the life of the mother requires it. (In most of these cases, I am told, it is now possible to save the mother’s life and deliver.)
Some life advocates envision a scenario in which teenage girls and adult women with unwanted pregnancies receive strong medical care and mental support throughout their pregnancies, ultimately placing the babies up for adoption. An added benefit is that these babies are raised by loving parents who desperately yearn to have a family of their own. It’s a nice result when that happens.
History shows us that the path to adoption is not what often happens. Instead, women are having abortions illegally by unqualified practitioners who perform them in unsanitary conditions. I am old enough to remember women and young girls performing their own abortions with a coat hanger. It’s not some crazy anomaly. It happened. As has been expressed, abortions are not going away. Only safe and legal abortions disappear.
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the bad decisions that are made when it comes to sex, especially by teenagers. When I was 16, I had unprotected, consensual sex with my priest. At that time in Virginia, I was not considered old enough to “consent” and therefore, legally, it was statutory rape. Regardless of the issue of consent, it was pure luck that I hadn’t impregnated during the year or so this relationship continued. Although I was extremely lucky, I never lost sight of how different my life could have been.
Others who don’t have the same chance of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy, including married couples, face difficult life-altering choices regardless of which path they choose is best for them. To think that the government or those with certain religious beliefs should have a say in this decision is ridiculous. To think that state governments will have the power to decide whether or not victims of incest or rape can be excluded from abortion bans is even more ridiculous.
While I would prefer my votes in the fall and in the 2024 election to address issues that are personally more pressing in my life now, it is dangerous for voters to let that slip by. As we have all heard, the reasoning behind the Supreme Court’s decision opens the door for other rights to be entrusted to state legislatures, where the tyranny of the majority can reign as surely as when slavery was acceptable.
Patricia D. White, Crofton
It seems like there is a collision of events that have unfolded over the past few weeks.
Last week, the EPA issued a code orange air quality alert for parts of Anne Arundel County and the Baltimore-DC metro area as heat and humidity swamps. The Maryland Department of Environment issues a code orange alert when pollution levels may be unhealthy for sensitive groups. Children, the elderly, people with heart/lung conditions and asthmatics are considered susceptible to poor air quality.
To minimize air quality effects, officials suggest people in susceptible groups avoid outdoor and strenuous activities. That probably means the kids who finally got access to the Harbor House pool yesterday should stay inside.
Almost at the same time the alert was issued, the disgraced Supreme Court issued a ruling that severely limits EPA action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants (located upwind of Annapolis) .
This Supreme Court action is at least consistent with a recent ruling that undermines protections for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
No wonder people feel angry!
Barbara Beelar, Annapolis
Bless her little heart, but Jonah Goldberg’s June 30 article downplays Dobbs’ reprehensible decision – the Supreme Court ruling on the landmark abortion case overturned Roe v. Wade – to balance economics, defense and conservative politics.
Goldberg completely ignores women and girls – living, breathing human beings. Dobbs will maim and kill people who are already alive. Dobbs means that women and girls no longer have the right to bodily autonomy. This means medical professionals may need to prevent women from receiving chemotherapy or other treatments, as they could potentially prevent a mass of non-responsive cells from becoming a viable fetus to be put back into breathing form months later. .
This means that women can be threatened with arrest for “causing” a miscarriage, although this is the fate of as many as 1 in 8 pregnancies. This means that the state now forces women to give birth. This means that men have dominion over their bodies and women do not.
Keeping the dialogue about abortion in an intellectual realm denies the real impact on literally every woman and girl – those who are already there and yet to be born.
He is right about one thing: this fight has always been about increasing the power of a political movement that has always considered women as second-class citizens.
Jane Beard, Churchton