Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008

Leventhal should apologize for comments about protesters

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I am writing in response to comments about me and Sandy Spring residents in the Jan. 23 article, ‘‘Residents take battle to the streets.”

It seems that County Councilman George Leventhal can’t fathom that some people help others without expecting anything in return. I’ve learned that helping people in need, with no strings attached, is one of the greatest gifts that I can give to others and to myself.

Let’s be crystal clear — I have not attempted to purchase any property from the struggling families in Sandy Spring, or any other property in Sandy Spring, nor do I have any interest in doing so. For Councilman Leventhal to boldly state otherwise, as reported by The Gazette, is an abomination. I have never profited from any of my volunteer activities on behalf of Maryland residents, the county and state governments or people in need inside or outside of the United States. Consequently, it is important that Mr. Leventhal make a public apology and issue a retraction for his baseless comments.

Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson commented that the Farm Road residents don’t know what they want. Not true. They want the Planning Commission to reinstate its recognition of the Farm Road and issue addresses for their properties.

Steve Kanstoroom, Ashton

The writer is a retired fraud detection expert and founder of www.FEMAinfo.us and www.SaveSandySpring.org. He also is a volunteer advocate for the Sandy Spring families featured in the Jan. 23 article.

Rather than helping those in desperate need, County Councilman George Leventhal attempted to vilify the victims’ advocate with an inane and illogical argument. He apparently did so in hopes of misleading the readers into thinking he and his colleagues have clean hands and lack oversight of Park and Planning. Hardly.

The council funds Park and Planning and appoints its board. The council needs to act when Park and Planning engages in wrongful conduct, such as ignoring blatantly false plans as it has done in the case of Sandy Spring. To sit idly by as it is doing, and let this Sandy Spring kinship community get pushed out of Montgomery County, is reprehensible.

Why it is that none of our officials will lift a finger? Something smells.

Cheryl Coleman, Germantown

After reading the Jan. 23 article, it struck me that these are a desperate group of people trying to defend their property that has been in their families for 100 years.

It’s too bad county officials were upset that these folks felt they needed to protest at the homes to get their point across. Clearly, if they felt the officials were listening to their problems, were genuinely concerned about the fate of their property, they wouldn’t have felt the need to go to such lengths to get attention for their issue.

Perhaps rather than disparaging Steve Kanstoroom who is helping these folks, Mr. Leventhal should have come out of his home and listened to these people.

For Mr. Leventhal to say these people should settle this issue in court speaks volumes. Couldn’t this elected official come up with a better solution than to tell these people to play the rich man’s sport and go to court? Who can afford that? These people? I think not.

I read too many times in the article, ‘‘It’s not my jurisdiction.” The officials named in the article should work for the people who are less fortunate, investigate — make it their jurisdiction and desire to help others without looking for something in return.

Take a lesson from Mr. Kanstoroom make it your business to help your fellow man.

David Waters, Olney