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RE: [TalkAntietam] Re: Spinning Wheels on South Mountain

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  • Rawlings, Kevin
    Tim, Hope you have not given up on me. I have been running here at work the last several days and have not had time to respond like I wanted. The White House
    Message 1 of 6 , May 5, 2004
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      Tim,

      Hope you have not given up on me. I have been running here at work the last
      several days and have not had time to respond like I wanted.

      The "White House" property is no longer owned by CMHL, but is owned by a
      person who does reside on the current BOD. Since the Iron Brigade site is
      now owned by the State (CMHL donated it to the State), I would opine that
      the property is contiguous. I believe he joined the board after his purchase
      of the property. The owners are required to open the house for tours one
      weekend out of the year for walk throughs by the public per Maryland
      Historic easements or requirements ( I can't think of the entity on the tip
      of my tongue just now). Not that this is currently happening for all I know.
      The guy that bought it is a little strange.

      I agree with your statement about Al having a conflict of interest sitting
      on CMHL's board and brought that up when I rejoined the board. I was
      promptly told by Bill Wilson I was a troublemaker and my opinion was of no
      account as the rest of the board saw no conflict. As far as "crackpot
      hobbyist" I take it you refer to George B. or Steve S.? If you meant George,
      I don't know if I would go so far as calling him a crackpot, but he did
      manage to damage his creditability, especially with the State, by having the
      media tantrum he had. It did not help that Bill Wilson and his minions
      helped to undermine George at the same time and eventually knifed him in the
      back. The tea shop owner at the Lamar House is a good friend of Bill's and
      he was very instrumental in overriding our opposition to it. Because of our
      opposition to the tea shop, Bill managed to convene illegally a special
      board meeting and removed George from the organization. Following that
      meeting several of us were told we were next if continued to oppose Bill's
      agenda as Executive Director. One of the items Bill pushed long and hard on
      was to have the Executive Director's position to have a BOD vote. Currently
      he and his wife Molly both sit on the Board.

      Now I was on the BOD when you say the CMHL said it was not interested in
      Crampton's Gap. What I remember being discussed was the several groups that
      were involved in Crampton's Gap/Gathland, including Paul Gilligan's new
      group. We agreed we would only serve to muddy the waters by adding another
      group to the mix and decided to stay out of any involvement with Crampton's
      Gap/Gathland. We figured we had all we could do to just take care of Fox's
      and Turner's Gaps and our addition to Crampton's Gap/Gathland would involve
      too many cooks' hands in the soup. We had also gotten fed up with Paul's "I
      want to be involved with you/I don't want to be involved with you" stances
      on any wind direction that happen to be blowing any given day. There was
      already group infrastructures for Crampton's Gap/Gathland/Burkettsville
      where there was none at the other gaps. That is the way I remember it unless
      there were some things said afterwards that I was not privy to. It was not
      because we were uninterested in Crampton's Gap.

      My opinion of Greenbriar Lake being associated with the budget of the SMSB
      is preposterous and should be its own entitiy. Unfortunately, the turf
      politics from within the State Parks will not allow that separation and thus
      lake tourism requiring picnic tables and such will take precedent over
      historic and battlefield needs and the budget for SMSB will continue to
      starve, unless I am off the mark.

      I don't know what the score is or what is needed any longer. I threw up my
      hands in fustration with the turn of events at CMHL and kept to myself for
      the last several years. But I don't like what I see happening on South
      Mountain and have slowly begun to get back involved. But as of this writing,
      I am not sure with whom or what group. I just know I cannot sit on the
      sideline and tsk-tsk all that is wrong or incompetent that I see. I am
      involved with George and a new group at this time but I am not even sure
      what we are working at is doable or right. I am not even sure another group
      is the answer. My feeling of "I have done my time in the trenches, let
      someone else carry the burden awhile" on top of working on another book,
      just does not leave enough time in the day or the week.

      On a side note, did Joe Hooker spend some time recuperating in Middletown
      after Antietam? If he did, do you know where he stayed? I believe Hayes
      stayed at the Rudy House (504 Main Street?).

      Good seeing you and Jan the other night in Boonsboro. The book you have
      coming out on the Maryland Campaign, is that the 70 page book you are
      talking about or is it a longer book?

      All the best,
      Kevin
    • tjrhys62
      Kevin, Ah, power democracy. You gotta love it. Thanks for the update on CMHL holdings or lack thereof. The White House property, now being out of CMHL
      Message 2 of 6 , May 5, 2004
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        Kevin,

        Ah, power democracy. You gotta love it. Thanks for the update on
        CMHL holdings or lack thereof.

        The "White House" property, now being out of CMHL ownership as you
        say, remains private whether or not it falls contiguous to state
        land. By "Iron Brigade site" I take it you mean the ground on the
        high side of the pike, that traversed solely by the 6th & 7th
        Wisconsin. This too is situated far from any state land to which it
        could be attached in any SMSB context. In between lie fee-simple
        sale lots. See what I mean? If the current owner of the WH property
        were to deed it to the state, then perhaps a narrow public ingress
        might be established, accessible from the WH.

        Easements would have no effect, they being essentially public money
        dolled out to private property owners to keep it private. No state
        battlefield here. Half-measures, such as loosely agreed present-
        owner covenants to traverse, are not long-term binding. And as you
        observe, "strange guys" are not to be depended upon when hairs get
        split. These wholly private lands, CMHL owned or otherwise, cannot
        be construed as a portion of SMSB unless deeded into public domain.

        Regarding Ranger Al Preston, in recent years I've caught him in so
        many lies I resigned from work at Gathland in 2002 and cut off all
        communication. In the meantime he spews misinformation abroad about
        the battlefield, me, and Burkittsville in his dubious capacity as
        titular head of SMSB. Within the past month two such instances have
        come to my attention. Nothing like official clout to lend
        credibility to untruth.

        I think you've learned the hard way that anyone using preservation
        logic and common sense will inevitably fall afoul of the anointed in
        DNR and CMHL. Strange bedfellows. Both have conflicting agendas
        irrespective of what they tout publicly. Al just wants to play with
        his cannon (excuse the expression) on as much battlefield land as he
        can access, and Bill Wilson desperately wants to be Czar. I'm
        reliably informed that Wilson showed up uninvited at the autumn
        meeting of the Friends at Gathland, quickly got into a shouting
        match with a state rep from Annapolis, then vigorously shoved her to
        the floor. Yep, a woman. Nice guy.

        George isn't the crackpot hobbyist I had in mind, but he'll do. Over
        the years George proved to me in spades that he too had an agenda. I
        omit details herein. At an SMSB hearing George angrily asserted that
        it was he who had started the initiative for SMSB. In reply Park
        Manager Dan Speddon said that it was a shame that the two guys who
        really did start it-¬óBill van Gilder and myself-¬ówere no longer
        involved. We both backed away when our initiative for Crampton's Gap
        was pirated for creation of SMSB. Bill washed his hands of the whole
        thing in disgust.

        In my personal opinion George needs a shrink, though he has my
        sympathy for a Wilson knife job comparable to your own. It was
        George and his disciples who diverted state attention/funding from
        Crampton's many years ago. I pulled his knife from my back and kept
        going. Then Bill put one in his. Do I detect a pattern here? Sounds
        like a bag of weasels to me. Meanwhile lands formerly of little or
        no interest as house sites have leaped in value to the point where
        preservationists would have to pay out developers' prices tantamount
        to extortion. In this respect it's now too late for purchase,
        notably by a state government well in the hole.

        There was never more than one group infrastructure marginally
        concerned (purportedly) with CG, that being Paul Gilligan's jumped
        up SM Heritage Society, basically a band wagon without wheels.
        George had maintained that CG needed no attention because
        surrounding land was all in ag easement. It wasn't and never had
        been. Paul really wasn't interested either, being far more eager for
        public office and local land control. His favorite expression
        is "capture properties," which he hasn't a clue what to do with
        after capture--including his own dilapidated farm. Paul shot himself
        in the foot so many times in recent years he can scarcely walk now.
        The Mid-Maryland Land Trust showed him the door (like George with
        CMHL) and the Heritage Society is poised to do the same now that his
        mandatory 12-year board seat has expired. Gilligan's island is
        sinking fast. Talks to himself a lot. He and CMHL won't have to do
        battle anymore. Nothing left to fight over anyway. They cancelled
        each other out.

        What all this adds up to is nearly two decades of political
        intrigue, behind-the-scenes maneuvering, and internecine warfare as
        egos angled for supremacy. Forget the who-struck-John of it. Really
        doesn't matter anymore who's to blame. The end result is the same:
        Nothing permanent.

        It should now be amply clear what H.B. 1183 was all about. It was,
        and remains, a bureaucratic shell game crafted to funnel additional
        funds into SM Recreation Area coffers for unrelated uses such as
        Greenbrier Lake diversions you cited. Oh, and Al got a repro cannon,
        limber, implements, new weapons and uniforms to wear, framed CW
        prints for his office, and a new patrol vehicle out of the bargain.
        Remind me sometime to fill you in on Al's purchase of an original
        Mississippi Rifle using his state credit card to its limit as a down
        payment. The state yanked his card when they found out. Curiouser
        and curiouser. Al(ice) in wonderland.

        Speddon has been bellyaching about his budget for years. SMSB was
        the answer to his prayers. While I was working at Gathland even his
        rangers and other DNR personnel were vocal about misuse of funds--
        out of Dan's earshot of course. Where I come from this is called
        malfeasance, unlawful, and arrogantly hypocritical to public
        mandate. In the early stages of SMSB consideration Delegate Sue
        Hecht said it best: "DNR is a law unto itself."

        Don't feel bad if you don't know the score. No one else does either.
        Truth is private groups can have no impact, because they were and
        are an integral part of the problem from the start. It all boils
        down to a simple mantra. If it isn't publicly owned, don't call it a
        public battlefield. Someone will call you on it.

        You, George and whoever can form another group if you like. But
        you'll run into the same old wall of lies, hubris, and unmitigated
        spin. True enough; you've done your bit insofar as the powers that
        be would allow. It will probably take class action public interest
        lawsuits to put cake under the SMSB icing. But neither of us has the
        time or bucks to spend the next five years in court. Barring that,
        public demand for state comptroller's audit of SMSB might do the
        trick.

        For what it's worth, I've learned to join nothing, work
        independently, and to get as much documented information out to the
        public as possible so well-informed decisions can be made on a far
        broader plane. The next book (the 70-pager out next month) lays down
        the law according to Lee and Mac concerning the Md. Campaign.
        Thereafter if government cranks want to continue their backroom
        games, they will do so with everybody else knowing the score and
        looking on with jaundiced eye. Got fungus? Shine a harsh light on
        it. Eventually it will wither and die. But by then it will be far
        too late for the battlefield. Manipulators win; public loses, again.

        In reply to your question, Joe Hooker was taken to the Pry House
        (Mac's HQ) with his painful foot wound and treated their for awhile,
        somewhere upstairs. His disposition thereafter eludes memory, but
        I've never read anything about his treatment in Middletown. You are
        spot on about RB Hayes at the Rudy House. His wife Lucy came over
        from Ohio to look after him personally, distrustful of army medics.
        Smart lady. Maybe she should have been the 19th president.

        Good to see you too. Love the beard. Very extinguished, sorry
        distinguished. Juuust kidding. Hang in there, by your finger nails
        if necessary. Yours is a purer faith.

        Tim

        --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Rawlings, Kevin"
        <kevin.rawlings@s...> wrote:
        > Tim,
        >
        > Hope you have not given up on me. I have been running here at work
        the last
        > several days and have not had time to respond like I wanted.
        >
        > The "White House" property is no longer owned by CMHL, but is
        owned by a
        > person who does reside on the current BOD. Since the Iron Brigade
        site is
        > now owned by the State (CMHL donated it to the State), I would
        opine that
        > the property is contiguous. I believe he joined the board after
        his purchase
        > of the property. The owners are required to open the house for
        tours one
        > weekend out of the year for walk throughs by the public per
        Maryland
        > Historic easements or requirements ( I can't think of the entity
        on the tip
        > of my tongue just now). Not that this is currently happening for
        all I know.
        > The guy that bought it is a little strange.
        >
        > I agree with your statement about Al having a conflict of interest
        sitting
        > on CMHL's board and brought that up when I rejoined the board. I
        was
        > promptly told by Bill Wilson I was a troublemaker and my opinion
        was of no
        > account as the rest of the board saw no conflict. As far
        as "crackpot
        > hobbyist" I take it you refer to George B. or Steve S.? If you
        meant George,
        > I don't know if I would go so far as calling him a crackpot, but
        he did
        > manage to damage his creditability, especially with the State, by
        having the
        > media tantrum he had. It did not help that Bill Wilson and his
        minions
        > helped to undermine George at the same time and eventually knifed
        him in the
        > back. The tea shop owner at the Lamar House is a good friend of
        Bill's and
        > he was very instrumental in overriding our opposition to it.
        Because of our
        > opposition to the tea shop, Bill managed to convene illegally a
        special
        > board meeting and removed George from the organization. Following
        that
        > meeting several of us were told we were next if continued to
        oppose Bill's
        > agenda as Executive Director. One of the items Bill pushed long
        and hard on
        > was to have the Executive Director's position to have a BOD vote.
        Currently
        > he and his wife Molly both sit on the Board.
        >
        > Now I was on the BOD when you say the CMHL said it was not
        interested in
        > Crampton's Gap. What I remember being discussed was the several
        groups that
        > were involved in Crampton's Gap/Gathland, including Paul
        Gilligan's new
        > group. We agreed we would only serve to muddy the waters by adding
        another
        > group to the mix and decided to stay out of any involvement with
        Crampton's
        > Gap/Gathland. We figured we had all we could do to just take care
        of Fox's
        > and Turner's Gaps and our addition to Crampton's Gap/Gathland
        would involve
        > too many cooks' hands in the soup. We had also gotten fed up with
        Paul's "I
        > want to be involved with you/I don't want to be involved with you"
        stances
        > on any wind direction that happen to be blowing any given day.
        There was
        > already group infrastructures for Crampton's
        Gap/Gathland/Burkettsville
        > where there was none at the other gaps. That is the way I remember
        it unless
        > there were some things said afterwards that I was not privy to. It
        was not
        > because we were uninterested in Crampton's Gap.
        >
        > My opinion of Greenbriar Lake being associated with the budget of
        the SMSB
        > is preposterous and should be its own entitiy. Unfortunately, the
        turf
        > politics from within the State Parks will not allow that
        separation and thus
        > lake tourism requiring picnic tables and such will take precedent
        over
        > historic and battlefield needs and the budget for SMSB will
        continue to
        > starve, unless I am off the mark.
        >
        > I don't know what the score is or what is needed any longer. I
        threw up my
        > hands in fustration with the turn of events at CMHL and kept to
        myself for
        > the last several years. But I don't like what I see happening on
        South
        > Mountain and have slowly begun to get back involved. But as of
        this writing,
        > I am not sure with whom or what group. I just know I cannot sit on
        the
        > sideline and tsk-tsk all that is wrong or incompetent that I see.
        I am
        > involved with George and a new group at this time but I am not
        even sure
        > what we are working at is doable or right. I am not even sure
        another group
        > is the answer. My feeling of "I have done my time in the trenches,
        let
        > someone else carry the burden awhile" on top of working on another
        book,
        > just does not leave enough time in the day or the week.
        >
        > On a side note, did Joe Hooker spend some time recuperating in
        Middletown
        > after Antietam? If he did, do you know where he stayed? I believe
        Hayes
        > stayed at the Rudy House (504 Main Street?).
        >
        > Good seeing you and Jan the other night in Boonsboro. The book you
        have
        > coming out on the Maryland Campaign, is that the 70 page book you
        are
        > talking about or is it a longer book?
        >
        > All the best,
        > Kevin
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