Famous Last Words.
“There’s absolutely no question in my mind this is going to be a great project,”
–David F. Hale (R-Owings), 2001
“We had no idea it would be such an abysmal operational failure,”
–David F. Hale (R-Owings), 2007
Sadly, many of Maryland’s elected Republicans are virtually indistinguishable in their philosophy of governance from the Democrats so there is little wonder that this is a one-party state. As they say, why would you vote for a fake Democrat when you can vote for a real one?
For today’s lesson in why governments should avoid the perils of venture marxism at all cost we take a short trip to Calvert County.
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Officials in Calvert County, once the fastest-growing area in Maryland, took an usual step in 2002 to ensure that developers would not destroy an aging, rutted golf course to make way for a subdivision: They helped the state buy it instead.
Calvert provided $800,000 up front and county pension funds invested $1 million to support a venture led by state economic development officials. The deal guaranteed the land would not be developed for at least 30 years.
Five years later, the Chesapeake Hills golf course has become a money pit. All told, Calvert officials have given, invested in or lent the venture $4 million, much of which they say they’re unlikely to get back.
Here you have a story that would fit in well in either Prince George’s County or Montgomery County. A hostility towards developers. A total lack of business sense. A “masters of the universe” arrogance brought on by being able to use tax dollars and pension funds to fund a harebrained investment the private sector wouldn’t touch.
And what do they have to show for it. A Zimbabwean class resort:
The state economic development corporation has taken significant steps to improve Chesapeake Hills, including repairing greens and adding golf cart paths. But tee boxes remain pocked in places with patches of dirt, and sections of the patio outside the clubhouse are crumbing.