Thursday, February 16, 2006

More on the Manor...

Following up on yesterday's article, the Washington Post has a story today about a package being put together by state officials to induce the Carroll family to preserve Doughoregan Manor. The short story is, it's going to cost millions. No surprises there.

The effort to come up with a package of incentives has drawn officials with land conservation and historic preservation programs in the state departments of natural resources, agriculture, planning and general services.

"It is the goal of the state to preserve that land -- as much as [the Carrolls] will agree to," Chuck Gates, a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources, said this week. "That will be up to them."

Administrators from those departments and a few county officials, including (Council Chairman Chris) Merdon and County Council member Charles C. Feaga (R-West County), visited Doughoregan last week on a bus tour, stopping at the small chapel adjoining one wing of the manor house.

I am glad to see the aggressive stance the state is taking. Although I would still like to see a development rights transfer program enacted, ultimately what's most important is keeping development out of the estate -- even if the public isn't allowed access.

What's funny about the story, however, is this:
The Doughoregan visit was criticized by state Republican lawmakers who weren't invited. State Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard), whose district includes Doughoregan, said he learned of the meeting from a local preservationist.

"All of us should know what's going on out there," said Kittleman, who added that his office is receiving e-mails from residents asking him to support the manor's preservation. "We certainly should be included in the conversation."

Dels. Warren E. Miller and Gail H. Bates, Howard Republicans who represent the district, said they were especially unhappy with state officials about being excluded from the meeting.

"Here's a major activity in our legislative district, and nobody bothered to call," said Miller, noting that an effort to preserve the entire estate will require "extraordinary coordination" among government agencies.

"We do the state budget. We work with state agencies. We do have a role," said Bates, who is on the House Appropriations Committee.

Merdon, who contacted the governor's office about organizing the meeting, said Carroll family members told him they wished to invite the administrators of state programs, and "we followed that request."

I know how it feels when your friends do something cool and leave you out: not good; not good at all.

It should be noted that this trip was organized by Merdon and officials from the office of Bobby Guv, all Republicans. And the complaints over being left out are coming from an entirely Republican group of legislators. Are there rifts in the party of Lincoln? Probably not, but it's still fun to see them get mad at each other.

And, yes, I would say the same if Democrats were involved.

No comments: