Monday, March 21, 2011

Sample Letters

What follows are real letters on this issue, stuck on what to write? Just copy and paste. If you would like to share your letter, please send it to

Letter to the Editor, Potomac Almanac

Legacy Of Deceit?
To the Editor:
The combination of violating the Potomac Master Plan and circumventing the public process is a formula for a very bitter battle. It appears that Ike Leggett, our County Executive who ran for office on a platform of greater public transparency, has succumbed to the greatest political pitfall of all in thinking he is above due process and that he knows better than his constituents. He has singlehandedly decided that Montgomery County needs more soccer fields and that Nick Marvell’s 31-yearold organic farm on Brickyard Road has no public benefit. He directed the school board to terminate the organic farm lease and enter into a lease agreement with Montgomery County who is in turn now contemplating a lease agreement with MSI, a private soccer advocacy group whose consultants have been reported be hand-in-hand with Mr. Leggett’s representatives as this whole plan has playedout.
His decision on the Brickyard property is not in keeping with the Potomac Master Plan, yet he has instructed his office staff to tell citizens that it is in keeping with the Master Plan. I know it is not in keeping with the intent nor the letter of the Master Plan because I have personally spoken with writers of the Potomac Master Plan, and what Mr. Leggett is doing is not according to this plan. As Mr. Leggett has announced that he is not running for office again, it is very difficult for me to accept that this is the type of legacy that he wishes to leave in Montgomery County.
The press and several local blogs have attempted to pit soccer lovers against environmentalists on this issue, when this is not the issue at all. Montgomery County has well over 200 soccer fields, and there are many more in Mr. Leggett’s soccer fields expansion plans. Montgomery County only has one Organic Seed Farm and once it has gone it will never be able to exist again due to the presence of genetically modified crops within the broader Agricultural Reserve in Montgomery County.
The issue is that there has been a breach of public trust; a complete circumvention of the public process; a potential loss of a unique characteristic of Montgomery County; and just plain bad planning. The roads leading to the Marvell Farm are not designed, nor capable of handling the traffic that these fields will require to be a successful operation. The immediate neighbors who will be most impacted by this proposal were not notified nor consulted.
The broader community has not been asked whether they think that the existence of a local,
profitable, sustainable and successful business is a public benefit. Soccer lovers and environmentals alike should be outraged by this lack of process.
Mr. Leggett and his representatives have made it pretty clear that they are not going to listen to what people say no matter what is said about necessary processes, procedures, and just plain common sense. We do not live in a monarchy, and Mr. Leggett must follow and be guided by the Potomac Master Plan.
He must not make his legacy in Montgomery County one of lies, subterfuge and deceit.
Barbara Hoover
West Montgomery County Civic Association

From DC Urban Gardeners
Please notice today's article on the loss of Nick Maravell's farm in Potomac MD (front page, metro section).  He has been renting the 20 acres from the school system for 30 years, running an organic farm and serving as one of the region's most stalwart activists and mentors on behalf of organic farming all while.   Now the school system wants the land back to create soccer fields. 

Seriously!!! - Can it be said that Montgomery County has no other land with which to create soccer fields.  At the very least you''d like to think that the County Board of Education would partner with the County Parks Department to add soccer fields to park lands and then partner with Nick Maravell  and the Maryland Assoc for Environmental and Outdoor Education Green Schools Program to create the premier learning opportunity for all Montgomery County students at Nick's farm. 

Such a location would provide opportunities for hands-on learning in ALL academic subjects for students in every grade level.  It would provide internships and work programs for students who best thrive in experiential learning settings - not just in math and science, but also language arts, communications, business development, etc etc.   For example, look at Growing Power  and The Edible Schoolyard at

It is an outrage that The Montgomery County Board of Education is so short-sighted and lacking in focus on the extraordinary opportunity the farm presents for its students.   While it has the opportunity to create one of the best learning opportunities and partnerships in the nation, instead it is  willing to destroy an ecological wonder.  Is this decision-making strategy one of role models for our youth?

This plan should immediately be stopped.

Judy Tiger
former coordinator of youth & community gardens in DC

From A Community Resident
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Dear County Executive Isiah Leggett,

Please help me to understand your stand on environmental issues and county costs.  On one level,  I've heard you say that this recent proposal for the 5 cent charge on plastic grocery bags is not going to be for the revenue, but rather, it's for the environment.  

In your letter dated November 10, 2009, however, you clearly ask Shirley Brandman to consider "the twenty-acre Brickyard Road site is largely vacant and underutilized."  I wonder how you came to the conclusion that it was underutilized when, for the past 31 years, a nationally recognized, organic, non-GMO seed & feed producing farm has been there thriving, and supplying both the farmer's, and other farmer's, local organic livestock farms.  One of the most environmentally sound and friendly ways to utilize a fair-sized parcel of land so close to our Potomac River, and so close to many homes enjoying well water.

What study suggested that it was largely vacant and underutilized?

In the same letter, you also noted that: "There would be no cost to MCPS as as any development costs will not be the responsibility of MCPS."  Respectfully I ask then Sir, who will be paying for the additional traffic lanes, the water & sewage lines to be run?  

Once the proposed fields would be in, and the irreplaceable, nationally recognized organic farm destroyed, what assurance would we have as a neighborhood, as a county, that artificial turf will never be used so it won't run into our water supply (similar to what many believe has happened at the Richard Montgomery artificial turf field where 38,000 tons of crumb rubber was added to make up for what was lost over the winter)?

So, I respectfully ask: "What IS your stand on the environment?"

Thank You for your consideration,

Maria Fusco
10723 Rock Run Dr.
Potomac, MD 20854

From a Community Resident/ Civic Organization
Dear Board of Education Members,
As a civic activist and environmentalist, I am disappointed in the hurried process, the lack of transparency, and the very concept put forth for the 20-acre MCPS site on Potomac’s Brickyard Road.
I question the wisdom of kicking off a nationally-recognized organic farmer while the County is simultaneously expending so much time and effort to energize local/organic agriculture, farmers’ markets, young farmers, environmental stewardship, Chesapeake Bay relief, water-quality protection, etc. The particularities of this site for growing seed free from GMO contamination make it unique within the County to my knowledge. In addition, there appears to be significant disagreement over the need for these proposed ball fields, based on their location and accessibility to the rest of the county. Where was the public in the discussion on these issues?
We are told there would be no artificial turf, no lighting at night. That is helpful. But what about when the next County Executive & Council roll in and get pressured? As we know too well, once a new use is established, the tendency is for growth. What would prevent this predictable course of events?
For the immediate neighbors the core issues are noise, lights, traffic, trash, commotion, loud whistles, etc. My concerns include those impacts but more central still is the need for transparency in the underlying decision to fundamentally change the use of this land and to walk away from a farmer serving his community with fresh, local, healthy produce and seed.
Enthusiasm for all things local and organic is exploding. By way of example a Potomac Village store is selling an organic lettuce mix from Poolesville at $7.99 per 11 oz. clamshell. Say what you will about personal choices, but this product is prominently advertised as local and organic, and it is selling out. More broadly, our seasonal farmers’ markets and local growers are outstripped by the rising demand from families and restaurants for local and/or organic produce.
The time for public input is now. We ask for reasonable notice and hearing, so that your decision will be better informed and therefore better serve the public. At a minimum, this decision should be put off to allow further discussion.

Diana Conway, President

Montgomery Countryside Alliance


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    Sample Letters

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