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An Independent Newspaper A4 SENTINEL county, M md. Y Tuesday, December 31, 1963 Too Heavy A Tax Bite? Gov. Tawes has proposed an increase of from three to four per cent in the state income tax, ef fective Jan. 1, 1965. During the first year the higher rate would raise an additional $42 million yet the Governor has indicated that the principal need for raising the tax at this time is to give education a boost specifically a proposed $16.2 million program rais ing the amount of state aid to education. Why a $42 million boost when the main stated need for the hike is a program costing a mere $16.2 million? If the governor is following time-honored pro cedure and asking for more than he expects to get, that is fine and the General Assembly should immediately accommodate him and go along with an increase of say, one-half of one per cent. If the governor is following time-honored pro cedures, also, by pushing through a big tax hike now so that such a politically undesirable move can be gotten out of the way well before the 1966 election, that is not so fine. In any event, the Governor’s proposal needs and we are confident it will get thorough study before the legislature approves it. And not just by the political parties. On such an important ques tion as a major income tax hike we would hope many individual citizens would acquaint them selves with the problems involved and whether such a hike is, in fact, necessary. Meanwhile, the needs of Maryk s swiftly expanding school system are many and highly im portant. Basis of the proposed new state aid program is shifting the emphasis of aid from minimum teach er salaries to number of pupils. There would be an average state contribution of $340 per pupil with the money distributed on a percentage basis according to property assessment and taxable income. The percentage ranges from 68.2 in Caroline County to 27.6 in Baltimore. It is to be hoped that those who routinely and without study scream unthinkingly against all tax increases will hold their fire until they know what they’re screaming about. But there are some indications this time that Gov. Tawes has asked for a heavier tax bite than he probably needs. Time To Slow Down The time will soon come—if indeed it has not already arrived—when some sort of a moratorium or slow-down on rezoning would be very much in order. Granted, there are many obstacles in the path of getting an overall, general plan. But a plan— some sort of a plan that is reasonably sensible and practical—must be adopted before too long to guide sensible, planned growth. So while we come to grips with the final stages of adopting a plan why shouldn’t we pause for a brief moment, as time until a plan of some sort is adopted. There need be nofeeling of compulsion on the *part of local goverflfflfflt to keep rezoning simply to accommodate the owners of the land who are eager to develop it. A great deal of land has been and is being developed here to provide housing and needed commercial facilities for an expanding popu lation. But if we slow our growth temporarily, surely no great harm will be done. Indeed, after more than a decade of experiencing annual school enrollment increases of more than 5000 per year the prospects of a brief breathing spell seem pleasant indeed. If the County Council is disinclined to consider a zoning moratorium or slowdown, it certainly should be somewhat more circumspect in exercising its rezoning powers than it has in recent weeks. The towering apartment complex in Four Corners —with there being no plan as yet for that com munity of single family homes—was reckless. Tentative approval of more high rise apartments in Wildwood Manor--also a single-family community —was extremely ill-advised as the Council now, we believe, understands after a citizen uprising. It is extremely difficult to understand the Council’s unanimous vote of two weeks ago to approve the idea of rezoning hundreds of acres near Poolesville for the beginnings of a satellite city for which no plans have been made by anyone except the owner of the land. The Council’s eagerness to extend sewer lines to Olney, where there was little demand at this time, and to Sandy Spring where there was no demand was also baffling. And in ordering the sewer lines extended to Sandy Spring the county heads subjected hundreds and hundreds of acres in the Northwest branch watershead, pres ently zoned two acres, to possible early breakdown into denser categories. Where, indeed, will the Council stop? is begin ning to be a widely asked question—and a most proper one. The answer, of course, should be this: the time to stop or slow down for awhile is now— Until we can in the next few months or so agree on a general plan for the county. PUBLIC DEBATE i **OUR. FOREI6N micy" I 8. - Bfl n wife All you ever loom at these debates is how to politely insult someone's Intelligence without getting a punch In the nose!" lif . c*ag/ Open Letter Dear Boss, Gee, that was a wonderful story Lila Thomson told In the Dec. 26 “Sentinel”. As I read it, I couldn’t help thinking how wonderful the people of Mont gomery County were to help a family In such tragic cir cumstances. But then, Boss, I started to t.ilnk about other things. I thought about that family when Its year or 18 months or what ever of free rent Is over and the beautiful gift clothes are worn out or outgrown. What happens to them then as suming, that Is, that one of the other children doesn’t die so that Lila can write another let ter? Do they go back to their concrete-block hovel because It’s the only housing In the county they can afford? And then I thought of the other families around here that live In quiet desperation In similar hovels day after day, but no one notices because none of their children die at Christ mastime. Isn’t It funny that we warm hearted people of Montgomery County never think of these people? You know, Boss, Lila’s right when she says that “people see with the heart and not the eyes”- but It sure takes a horrible event to get us to see at all. If that event happens, we go right on talking about “race, creed, and color,” and our hearts never get a chance to look. Pretty soon I got to think ing about the man who was born almost 2000 years ago, that we commemorate at this time. Was He born so that we could do glowing, wonder ful things once a year to cele : brate His blrth-or so that we , could live that way all year, 1 and always think about and help ! the less fortunate? Well, anyway, Boss, It was awfully nice to read about all the good things that happened to that family. But I keep wondering—does that mother ever wonder why her little boy ; had to die before anyone | thought of her? William H. Pittman Liked Story Lila Thomson’s Dec. 19 story on the small boy who died alone in a hospital was done with skill, warm sympathy, and bal ance. Allow me to offer my thanks and congratulations. I’d like to say a word also about the paper as a whole.' Recently I have seen a letter or two from readers who were Indignantly canceling their sub scriptions. As a relatively new subscriber. I provide you with a small cushion for such shat tering blows. Montgomery Countv Is luckv indeed to hv< a newspaper of the caliber of the Sentinel. The Integrity of Good Luck Kid!’ Public Forum Its news columns Is Impressive; Its makeup, photography, edit ing, signed columns, and ed itorials are worthy. A local weekly which takes a strong and reasoned stand on local Is sues should be highly com mend ed, and It must look with a rue ful eye on those who disagree with editorial stands and there fore cancel subscriptions. Per haps they could benefit from some long thought on the mean ing of America and the purpose of Journalism. Nothing nlc tr could happen to this county in 1964 than that Its excellent newspaper should grow stronger In every way. Eugene Keith Rockville Ruby’s Favor There seems to be a differ ence of opinion as to whether or not Jack Ruby did us, the citizens of the United States a great favor when he took the life of the accused assassin of our president. This act of violence did not erase the na tion's tragedy or the mourning In men's hearts. Aside from the fact that the taking of Os wald's life was immoral and barbaric, It robbed a man of his unalienable right to a trial by jury as prescribed by law in this country. It also robbed us of something very Im portant -a chance, at least, to find out what drove Lee Har vey Oswald to shoot down the President of the United States. Was It because Oswald resent ed authority and the presi dent represented the highest authority in the land? Was It because he could not seem to fit Into society and the presi dent typified a strong union of the society. Was It because he craved attention that he could never attract in normal life? Or perhaps Texas’ Governor Connally was the real target because, as Secretary of the Navy, he would not rescind Os wald's undesirable discharge from the Marine Corps. These and many other questions burn In the minds of many Ameri cans. When one man can be re sponsible for the suffering and sorrow of so many, It’s a shame that we shall never know why. R. W. King Rockville Why Screams Why the outraged screams In Wildwood at a few acres of apartments to be built there? All Is fair In love and war. Isn’t all fair for politics, plan ning and private Initiative? If a Democratic County Coun- I cil can grant a leading Dem ocratic family represented by ; a Democratic Central Commit tee lawyer fifty odd acres of ! apartment zoning east of Wlld- I wood, why shouldn’t a Repub lican County Council grant a leading Republican family rep resented by a Republican Cen tral Committee lawyer apart ment zoning west of Wildwood? What sort of communists dare to challenge the duty of our elected representatives to sup port private Initiative over so cialistic. public planning? Where was Wildwood when the concept of a general plan for the whole of Montgomery County was being replaced by a grand private plan to trans form some 500 acres of tax subsidized, open space farm land Into a fine community at Poolesvllle? Don’t all good Cit izens have an obligation to pay higher property taxes for the new schools, wide highways, po lice and other public services to make this remote commun ity a success for Its enter prising developer? Where was Wildwood at the rape of our Rock Creek and Northwest Branch watersheds by a powerful combine of poli ticians, public officials, and land speculators pushing their sewer lines Into virgin land? Have not our public officials the duty to let a man use his pro perty as he sees fit? Why should the citizens in Montgomery County now rush to the aid of Wildwood? Is not each community in the County an Island Into itself? When the bell tolls for thee, it does not toll for me. All hall the Three Musque teers _ “Politics, Planning, and Plunder”! Let them arm in-arm gaily frolic through our romantic county. What blue nose citizens or somber Grand Jury would dare to dampen our gaiety In this holiday season, when we all should give freely, one to another! Darius V. Phillips Chevy Chase pontsueti tiMlfetiiel Established 1855 by Matthew Fields Published by MORKAP PUBLISHING CO. ROGER B. FARQUHAR Editor LEONARD KAPILOFF Publisher BERNARD KAPILOFF President MICHAEL R. McDADE Circulation Manager CARLTON DESROSIER Advertising Manager ELEANOR BRADLEY Associate Editor Member Audit Bureau of Circulation, Maryland Press Association, Affiliate Member National Editorial Association. Published every Thursday at 215 E. Montgomery Ave., Rock ville, Md. Entered as second class mat ter at Post Office, Rockville, Maryland, under Act of Con gress, March 3, 1879. SUBSCRIPTION RATES l Year $4.50 2 Years $7.50 Telephone: GArden 4-7700 Mailed in Maryland and the District of Columbia On* Year $5.00 out of State Walsk Rare Bit Louis XIV, Whoever He Is? by Barney Welsh Instead of me going to the mountain on New Year's Eve, the mountain, as represented by Monty Gopher et at, came to me. This can be considered an honor because the Gophers usually carry out their old family ritual on New Year's Eve only on their Sugarloaf farm. The twins came into our home carrying a box shaped like a coffin. The top was not nailed down. I was shaken by the sudden appearance of this reminder of our mortality and put my finger on my pulse to see if I was the intended oc cupant. Monty, seeing my concern, said that on New Year's Eve the Gophers write out all of their hates and bitterness against people and deposit them in the coffin. These slips of paper are then sealed in the coffin, the lid Is tacked down, and it Is taken out into the yard where it is burled at exactly midnight. During that time, the entire Gopher clan stands around and watches the burial of their hates and malice. Sarana sprinkles her devil dust on the grave and says a sooth; “Old moth er Earth, swallow this hate; teach us to love before it's too late.’’ Harlotta throws the dirt on the coffin to keep It warm and then all of us go back into my house to argue and jaw about things and people. The Gophers don’t have time enough to be insincere. Well, we sit around and watch the neurotic people in Times Square jump up and down Just like they did down in Dallas a month ago, and wonder what It Is that makes people behave like. Idiots on New Year’s Eve. As a matter of fact I have always thought that New Year’s Eve Is a Every year at this time the Christmas spirit wells up and floods the American scene with good wllL Baskets of food and other pres ents for the needy, for the elderly, and for the unfortunate children are gathered and pre sented. Coins rattle In the Salvation Army kettles and checks flutter from envelopes In dozens of charitable organizations. Everywhere one goes he Is reminded that this Is Christmas by a thousand decorations and a thousand colored lights. Churches dis play creches and hold services to remind their parishioners of the real meaning of Christmas. Warm greetings circulate among the citizens. The mall bags bulge with Christ mas cards and presents. The wide-eyed wonder of discovery and the delirious delight of our children as they ex plore the wonderful world under the Christ mas tree should make the most cynical and hardened adult rejoice anew In life. Can any parent doubt that adult experience holds no greater delight than the giving of toys to his children and grand-children? Even the animals and birds are not forgot ten at Christmas. Who can turn away a stray cat on Christmas eve without first giving It a warm saucer of milk? The family dog gets a rubber bone or a steak. Even the wild birds find bread crumbs or pieces of suet to dine on. The Christmas spirit seems to extend to all living things. There are few whose life Is not made better, more joyous, or more comfortable by the Christmas season. But after Christmas and New Year's Day, Into the cold days and nights There Is always a zoning crisis. Our population Is unevenly divided into two groups: those who favor a zoning change (and who would profit from it) and those who are op posed to a zoning change (and would not pro fit from it.) There Is a dog-ln-the-manger attitude that afflicts nearly everyone who sees his neighbor, with an Identical plot of ground, suddenly greatly enriched through no effort of his own, because of a zoning map adjust ment. Our modern design for congested living requires planning and zoning. In Montgomery County changes come about this way; an applicant files a peltltlon stating exactly what he wants changed. The appli cation goes to the Technical Staff of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which studies It In relation to the existing plan and proposed changes and submits Its recommendation to the Commis sioners who may, or may not, agree with the staff. A report containing the staff’s opinion and the Planning Board's recommendation goes to the Montgomery County Council, which sits as a District Council of The Mary land-Washington Regional District in hearing applications for amendment to the zoning ordinance. The Council sits In legislative session and considers each application as a proposed change In the law. Since the property rights of Individuals are deeply Involved, the hearings are "quasl judlclal” and aggrieved persons have a right to appeal the Council's decision to the Cir cuit Court, and then to the Court of Appeals. If the evidence before the Council shows the application was unreasonably granted (or denied), the case may be returned to the Council with directions, but If the Issues are "fairly debatable,” the Council will be up held, for It is not the function of the court to zone property but to see that the rules are observed and that property rights and public Interest are properly protected. The law prohibits the Council from ap proving a change “conditionally for the erec tion on the land of a structure at a particular location, or within a particular time, or by a particular person, or of a particular type, or for the subdivision of the land In a particular manner, or on any other condition.” There are several serious defects In the system long followed In Montgomery County. As long as we continue to consider the zoning The Christinas Spirit by Les Kimble Our Zoning Procedures holiday which lends itself least to rejoicing. Perhaps that Is because my mind looks back wards and I am forever Inquiring about the future. My Idea of the perfect way to spend a New Year’s Eve is to sit by the fireplace and eat Velatls candy, pop pop-corn, or, If you have a few old friends in, to give them a toddy or a drink of this potent new stuff called “Gluug.*’ I think it is Danish. The Gophers and I saw eye to eye on this (Harlotta excepted) and so we sat back and talk ed about the miserable and disastrous old year, 1963. He asked me what I thought had been It’s low and high spots. I had no difficulty with the low spots. Nineteen sixtv three was a year of death to the mighty. A great Pope and a great President died and the world Is the loser. We shall not see the likes of them again within the foresee able future. I do not know about our new Presi dent, and the only thing which is certain is that he can beat Barry Dogwater at any dis tance; but that Is not saying much. Locally, I was dismayed at the Inability of the Board of Education to agree with each other; but, on the other hand, I was also dismayed to observe our Republican County Council have such unanimity of opinion on controverted zon ing problems. The Republicans came In under the slogan, “We are more conservative than Louis XIV, whoever he Is?’’ Well, it Is time they learn of the fate of that Individual and take heed. of the new year, the world resumes Its old ways. It Is true that a few find Christmas a time for renewing their concern for their fel low men, a concern that is maintained for the rest of the year. Too many of us, however, go back to the ruts of everyday living, forgetting the Christmas spirit and our fellow men. In a competitive society like ours, someone may say, we expect most men to take care of themselves. Quite true. In a representative democracy like ours we also are expected to help make that society work so that most of our citizens have the opportunity to take care of themselves. Most of us have seen pictures and stories of great masses of poor In foreign nations who never have enough to eat and whose chil dren die at an early age. Many of us have said, I'm glad that we don’t have that kind of a society. Shocking as It may be to some, we do have that kind of a society. This problem should concern, every citizen. Poverty, like a bucket of oil thrown on the water, spreads and contaminates all tha* It touches. I should like to recommend some holiday reading to my fellow citizens. This reading Is contained in the current Saturday Evening Post In an article by Ben H. Ragdifctnn, The title Is “The Invisible Americans.” The sub title is “Poverty; A Special Report-We are the richest nation on earth, yet one American In five is without adequate food or shelter or medicine, and nobody seems to care.” I should also like to suggest that as citizens of the richest county In the United States, we ask ourselves, what can I do about this? by Robert Bullard process a legislative function of the Council, this enormous burden will continue to consume the major part of the Council's time. They cannot delegate this authority. It Is the most thankless task Imaginable. As one of the few Montgomery County boys to ven ture to appear before the County Commis sioners of Prince George's County (Sitting as a District Council) In zoning applications, I find a number of Impressive differences. Our Council hears Its zoning cases at night and places a one-half hour limitation to each side, but begins each case with a needless recital of each exhibit In the record. The Planning Commission Is not represented and there Is no cross-examination. Seldom Is the matter decided at the hearing. By contrast, the Prince George's Board begins Its cases at 10 a.m. The applicant puts on his case and his witnesses are sub ject to cross-examination, which Is the best method known for bringing out the truth and clarifying issues. The opposition then puts on Its case and If the Park and Planning Com mission has recommended denial, then a technical staff representative Is there to ex plain why and he, too, Is subject to cross examination. There is no time limit, but the average case takes less than an hour, and many are decided at the conclusion of the hearing. These sessions are less apt to be disturbed by public clamor than our night meetings which often have the air of the arena. Most people come not to hear the evidence or offer testimony, but display their objection by num bers and noise. The Council must decide the application "on the basis of the evidence of record.” A crowd of protesting neighbors does not make a record and It Is not the Council's fault If the applicant's case Is ably presented while the opponents offer no sub stantial evidence to warrant denial of the application. The Prince George's pro cedures, though considerably better than ours, do not protect the County Commis sioners from the same type of criticism and complaint that our own County Council is constantly subjected to. Our system has serious defects, but the whole body of zon ing law and practice Is a new product of the Twentieth Century. It takes time to evolve a workable and Just body of law. We have a long way to go.