Anne Arundel Green Party Deliver Letter to City Leaders in Response to False Allegations by Crystal Springs Developers

Anne Arundel Green Party Delivers Letter to City Leaders in Response to False Allegation by Crystal Springs Developer

Contact:  Robb Tufts 443-370-6857 or robb.tufts@yahoo.com

Annapolis - Today the Anne Arundel Green Party delivered letters to the office of Mayor Pantelides and to each of the City Council members in regards to a false allegation made by the developers of the Crystal Springs project in an August 5th, 2014 blog posting. In the statement published by Crystal Springs, the Green Party was described as a "self-proclaimed anti-development organization with a stated agenda of stopping the proposed Crystal Spring development."

“We have never described ourselves as anti-development on our website, brochures, or other communications. Nor have we ever passed any sort of resolution or issued any statement in regards to all out stopping the proposed Crystal Spring development,” stated Robert Smith, acting co-chair of the Anne Arundel Green Party.

The Anne Arundel Green Party, along with several community and environmental organizations, signed a letter July 31 regarding the Crystal Spring project. The letter called for scaling back the project to preserve priority forest, wildlife corridors, and wetlands. Since its inception in 2001, the Anne Arundel Green Party has advocated for smart growth principles, supporting local businesses, and most of all protecting the environment and the water ways of the Chesapeake Bay.

Mike Shay, the party's nominee for County Executive in 2010, cites the Green Party's stance on development as one of the reasons he sought the nomination. "As a community organizer in South County we have actually been fighting in favor of development -- the type of development that builds communities, supports our local economy, and doesn't damage the environment and our waterways.”

Members of the Anne Arundel Greens were also concerned about the tone of the statement in regard to its members’ participation in civic commissions. "Because of this misconception that the Green Party is ‘anti-development,’ members of our political party are being unfairly singled out on city commissions and as a city employee," said Robb Tufts, the party's 2006 candidate for the County Council. "Annapolis is still a democracy, and there should not be a political party litmus test when it comes to volunteering for the city or for civil service employment.”

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Dear Mayor Pantelides and City Council,

The Anne Arundel Green Party wishes to address misstatements made by the developers of Crystal Spring on their blog, www.crystalspringannapolis.com, and forwarded to the Annapolis Mayor and City Council.

In their statement against the Annapolis Environmental Commission posted on Aug. 5, 2014, the developers stated, "The AEC and/or individual members of the AEC have ... been organizing members of The Green Party, a self-proclaimed anti-development organization with a stated agenda of stopping the proposed Crystal Spring development."

First, the Anne Arundel Green Party (AAGP) is not a "self-proclaimed anti-development organization with a stated agenda of stopping the proposed Crystal Spring development." AAGP has not published any materials claiming to be anti-development, nor published any materials advocating completely stopping the Crystal Spring development. If the developers cannot produce such materials, they should apologize on their web site and to the Annapolis community for publishing potentially libelous mistruths.

The Green Party, of which AAGP is a local chapter, is a political party recognized by the State of Maryland. Greens are not "anti-development"; they support sustainable development that minimizes environmental impacts, recognizing the right of future generations to grow up with sufficient natural resources. Mike Shay, AAGP's candidate for Anne Arundel County Executive in 2010, ran on a platform of "more efficient government, responsible development, less crowded schools and a cleaner environment," and stressed "balancing a healthy business environment with the critical need to protect the [county's] natural resources." One of the Green Party’s elected leaders in Maryland, Michael Cornell, has been advocating the redevelopment of downtown Columbia to be more pedestrian and bike friendly and to better serve the residents there.

AAGP signed on to the joint letter submitted by Gerald Winegrad, the Sierra Club, and others on July 31 regarding the Crystal Spring Preliminary Forest Conservation Plan. This letter does not argue for preventing the development; rather, to limit its impact by preserving priority forest, wildlife habitat, and wetlands. This letter reflects AAGP's official position on Crystal Spring thus far.

Finally, we are alarmed that members of our political party who serve as volunteers on city commissions or are employed by the City of Annapolis are being singled out solely due to their political affiliation. Freedom of association is one of the bedrock principles that this country was founded on. We respectfully request the City of Annapolis provide assurance that the political rights and freedoms of its volunteers and employees will be protected.

Sincerely,

Robb Tufts
On behalf of the Anne Arundel Green Party