Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Erhlich Saves Bay....From Fish

For those of you living locally, I'm sure you've heard or seen the ad blitz for Republican incumbent Bob "Is that an endangered species? Hit it with a shovel!" Ehrlich. In the ads, a carefully chosen multi ethnic/multi class crew of Erhlich supporters lauds Ehrlich's accomplishments ranging from taking the bold stand of supporting B.G.E. in the current rate hike hullabaloo (Hullabaloo being another way of saying "ass effing of the citizenry") to apparently curing cancer with nothing more than the gentle touch of his baby soft palms.

The most laugh-out-loud funny part is the Republozombie they found to laud Ehrlich for his bold stance protecting the Chesapeake. From what, I'm forced to ask. Fish? Oysters? Wetlands? On the flip side, an invasive species known as "The Developer" is thriving.

Maryland was once at the forefront of smart growth initiatives nation wide. It didn't take long for Ehrlich to take care of that. Exemption after exemption was granted gutting the critical areas protection.

For most of my childhood, I spent summer weekends fishing on Sue's Creek in Eastern Baltimore County. It was pretty idyllic. A few shore shacks with out-houses nestled into the heavily forested banks that buffered the creek from nearby farms. When I was ten that changed. A developer bought the land with a plan for a marina, hotel, condos and a veritable happy meal of McMansions. One little snag. Nearly the entire area was in the bay's "Critical Areas" and would be illegal to develop. Beyond that, little Back River Neck Road was not up to the task of supporting the planned development. Widening the road and building the infrastructure for sewage and city water would destroy hundreds of acres of forest that was home to some rare and threatened local species. Additionally, the development was hugely unpopular with long time residents.

The development was stonewalled for the better part of two decades. Of course, the election of Bay Protector Bob Erhlich heralded a new "green" wind from Annapolis, "green" in a Mr. Yukian sense. Within a year of Governor Yuk's election hurdles were lowered and cleared. Construction began, accompanied by a massive state welfare program to build roads and infrastructure for this new habitat for multi-millionaires.

Ehrlich claimed a victory for the environment as the development was smaller than the original plan. Of course, the original plan had failed to gain legal traction since its inception and the new plan would never have gone through without Ehrlich.

Before Ehrlich, one could count on Maryland to provide a counterpoint to Virginia, A.K.A. Texas East's rootin' tootin' major pollutin' legislation. The Chesapeake Bay, when healthy, is an oyster reef ecosystem. When the first Europeans arrived in Maryland in the 1600s, they were greeted by oyster reefs that broke the surface of the water. Today, those reefs are gone. The oyster population, and as a result the bay itself, is in rough straits.

Virginians hatched a plan to save the day. They would introduce Asian oysters. What could possibly go wrong when introducing new species to an eco system? We've got nothing but success stories ranging from the delightful zebra mussel to the wonderful tale of the old woman who swallowed a fly. Well, for one thing, Asian oysters reproduce much faster than C. Virginicus, the Bay's native species. Further, they do not build reefs, a hugely important aspect of restoring the bay. Finally, compared to the natives, they taste like crap. Anyway, Maryland would never get on bored for such a short-sited plan, well, until we elected Governor Yuk.

Ehrlich follows his mentor George Bush's lead by practicing photo-op environmentalism. Saying Bob Ehrlich is a friend to the Chesapeake is akin to calling Elmer Fudd a friend to rabbits. If we were going to have honesty in advertising, the commercial would be mother nature bent over a tree stump, Ehrlich, standing on a Baltimore City student for leverage, givin' her his big business (friendly policies) while the bloated body of B.G.E. hangs from a pleasure swing having it's nether bits suckled by the eager governor.



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