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Re: Spinning Wheels on South Mountain

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  • 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 1 of 6 , May 5, 2004

      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

      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.


      --- 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
      > 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
      > on CMHL's board and brought that up when I rejoined the board. I
      > 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
      > 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
      > board meeting and removed George from the organization. Following
      > 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.
      > 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
      > group to the mix and decided to stay out of any involvement with
      > 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"
      > on any wind direction that happen to be blowing any given day.
      There was
      > already group infrastructures for Crampton's
      > 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
      > politics from within the State Parks will not allow that
      separation and thus
      > lake tourism requiring picnic tables and such will take precedent
      > 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
      > 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
      > 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,
      > someone else carry the burden awhile" on top of working on another
      > just does not leave enough time in the day or the week.
      > On a side note, did Joe Hooker spend some time recuperating in
      > after Antietam? If he did, do you know where he stayed? I believe
      > stayed at the Rudy House (504 Main Street?).
      > Good seeing you and Jan the other night in Boonsboro. The book you
      > coming out on the Maryland Campaign, is that the 70 page book you
      > talking about or is it a longer book?
      > All the best,
      > Kevin
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