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Joan Veon Interview With Mayor Kurt Schmoke

4/1/97 - Annapolis, MD

Question/Answer on Smart Growth and Public-Private Partnerships

JV: Mayor Schmoke - I'm Joan Veon, USA Radio, I interviewed you in Istanbul at Habitat II. Just a few questions please.

Mayor: Goodness!! Yes.

JV: Rural Legacy appears to be a fulfillment of the public-private partnerships spoken about in Istanbul. Is that a correct assessment of what is going on with Rural Legacy and Smart Growth?

Mayor: Well, I'm not sure about that. I think it is probably consistent with the ideas. I am not sure whether anybody from the State actually looked at what came out of Habitat, the specific document-- but clearly Smart Growth policy is consistent with what was being talked about in Istanbul and that 's why I have been supportive of what the governor is trying to do. (emphasis added)

JV: How important is it to the people of Maryland and what will it mean?

Mayor: Hopefully it will mean better planning in the future not only as we look at not only our population growth, but economic development and what kind of impact it will have on quality of life. If we are able to use our existing resources better and plan better for the future, we might be able to preserve some of our natural resources and also improve quality of family life so that people will be in more village like settings and also have better planned communities. [JV Note: This is a description of "sustainable development" the foundational cornerstone concept from Agenda 21--the UN environmental document in which all of this is based on.]

JV: What are the hold-ups right now and do you see it passing this session or will it go to summer session?

Mayor: Well hold up is politics---its politics and tradition. There is a sense that this is a new idea that is in conflict with old traditional zoning and local planning prerogatives. I don't think that it is in conflict but it takes a while to persuade people that we can come up with a new idea and a new planning strategy that will benefit them at the local level. My hope is that at least part of what the governor is talking about will get through this year and serve as the basis for building on a more comprehensive policy in the future. (emphasis added)

JV: Some people are concerned about personal property rights with growth be legislated. Do you see that as a problem?

Mayor: No, I don't think so. I don't think there is any intention to undermine personal property rights but I think that like all rights that we have in this country there has to be some compromise because individual rights and run up against collective rights and in this instance, we are trying to plan for an entire state and so some of the individual perogatives--the local perogatives--really will have to be compromised to a certain extent in order to deal with the greater good. [JV Note: Collective rights/greater good is socialism and opposed to individual freedoms and the Republic which we have] (emphasis added)

JV: Then do you see collectivism as the new wave of the future for the 21st century?

Mayor: I would prefer to call it partnership--I think that's better--it's "partners in progress" and that is what the governor is trying to achieve and I support him.

JV: Public-private partnerships... Mayor: Correct. JV: Thank you sir.