Letters to the Editor: August 10, 2012

Bethany resident offers suggestion to town

Bethany citizens are raising questions about what manner of park is being planned and developed for the Church-Neff property and how recent activities on the property fit into that plan.

As citizens of Bethany, we should keep firmly in mind that up until very recently a highly visible portion of the proposed parkland had been seriously considered as the location for Bethany’s new water tower.

The natural character of the landscape there is gradually being altered by the addition of large amounts of fill dirt and the virtual clear-cutting of trees on its northern sections. We need to know that these substantial actions will not place limits on feasible uses of the park. In other words, is it possible that the landscape there is being reshaped in advance of detailed and specific decisions by the Town Council with respect to the uses of these nearly six acres of parkland?

Of particular concern to me is the fate of the wet, low-lying areas of the park at its northern end that were once considered to be federally protected wetlands. No more filling-in should be made in this area until a decision about the use of that land has been made by the Council. The area could be the last remnants of old freshwater ponds. Perhaps they could be preserved and reused as a natural feature — carefully shaped and planted with examples of Sussex County’s abundant native plants.

Bethany resident Bob Collins made a great point when he suggested that these low-lying areas ought not to be judged to be eyesores that need filling in. Such areas could be very important in absorbing stormwater, recharging aquifers and filtering runoff before dumping it into our already seriously degraded Loop Canal and then on to our threatened Inland Bays.

Bethany really needs to adopt an effective policy about the expansion of impermeable surfaces here. We can start to devise such a policy by making sure that natural low-lying areas in the Church-Neff property are put to natural, beneficial purposes.

Before any additional alterations are made to the existing natural features of the Church-Neff parcel, the Town Council may wish to consider returning to the public-involvement phase begun seven years ago.

There really is no detailed plan for the park’s uses. We don’t know what uses are being considered for what portions of the six-acre parcel. A detailed public involvement phase would enable the Council to reconsider and perhaps add to the body of knowledge of public opinion about the parkland. The piece-meal, bit-by-bit approach does not seem to working and may be doing more harm than good to what the park could become in the future.

Alternate use options are jeopardized by virtue of actions being taken now to prepare the way for some sort of pond.

The Council may want to consider sponsoring a design and use conference and bring in Delaware’s acknowledged experts to discuss designs and uses that conform to the wishes of residents and property owners. Presentations could be made about the nature of the property and how a park could be developed that first respects and enhances the parcel’s natural features.

Such a conference would be open to the public and citizen participation actively encouraged and welcomed. The Council might want to ask the Delaware Center for Inland Bays to suggest possible panelists, or even manage the conference.

I hope Council members will seriously consider this request and see the great value that may be added to the eventual use of the Church-Neff property by opening up its use to a much wider circle of Delaware expertise in a highly public and interactive experience.

Dan Costello
Bethany Beach

Steele responds to previous Point letter

I could not let Sean’s letter about Bush tax cuts go without comment.

So, here goes:

Sean Crowley’s letter states that the Bush tax cuts should expire. He states he is the “Communications Director of the Americans for Tax Fairness.”

Well, who or what is the AFTF organization? They were formed on May 24, 2012. This info came from blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/05/24/union-liberal-coalition-pushes-obama-tax-plan/.

The AFTF is a coalition of “30 Labor and Progressive Groups.” You already know what Progressives stand for — I’ve given you enough research info in the past to know exactly what they want and who they are!

From the oldest non-profit organization, “tax foundation.org,” founded by executives from General Motors, in the 1930s, comes this bit of info, “in 2010, 41 percent of tax returns filed had no income liability. In 1990, it was 21 percent. The 41 percent represents 58 million tax filers.” The blame is not just an Obama problem, along with G.W. Bush’s policies helped accelerate the growth with new tax credits.

Now, a little more info from the Tax Foundation (tax foundation.org/article/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data). This info is the latest presented and comes from the year 2009: The top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers, (adjusted gross income, AGI, equal to or greater than $154,643), however, still pay far more than the bottom 95 percent. The top 5 percent earned 31.7 percent of the nation’s AGI, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal income taxes.

From the charts, you will see that the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers pay only approximately 2 percent of taxes paid. Some get money refunded to them without having paid any taxes.

Mr. Crowley states that if the top 1 or 2 percent would “pay their fair share,” we would be on the road to recovery. What a joke! You could take all of their money, and it would only pay for one day of our government’s operating budget.

One fact: Government does not and cannot generate income. They can only take it and re-distribute the money!

When they run out of the money from the top 1 to 2 percent, guess what: they will be coming for yours and mine!

Just a few thoughts!

Harry Steele
Bethany Beach