SHORT TERM IS TROUBLE

THE BALTIMORE SUN

From: Edward B. Rogers

Ellicott City

Increasingly the call is going out from many business leaders that many of our current difficulties, both economic and social, in the United States are due to an overly narrow "focus on the short term."

As American assets are sold off to Japan, junk bond notes become due, and the flashy appeal of the quick fix all begin to show their darker side, there is a growing realization that pressure to perform atthe moment, to be popular today, is not always the best approach.

As true as this is nationally and internationally, we also see the effects of this approach in Howard County. In the context of rapid, really explosive growth, constituency and government alike tended to bethrown into a reactive short-term view.

Results here, as elsewhere, have been unforeseen debt, rapid equity deflation, and concerns about what direction to go next.

I look with respect and relief at County Executive (Charles I.) Ecker's sober and responsible call for fiscal cutbacks and higher taxes.

However, I have personal concernswhether all of the emotionally appealing, short-term fixes can be given up when such pressure from certain interest groups works against it.

Specifically, I am referring to the outlook that sees increased commercial development in the county as the desirable source of increased tax revenues and improved financial health for the county.

In my opinion, this is arguable in the abstract and undeniably misguided in the light of the past 20 year record in Howard County.

Howard County has had more than its share of extremely "clean," high-tech, high-rent industrial presences over the past two decades, and has never mitigated the need for greater fees and taxes to pay for appropriate schooling and roads.

Even more important however, is the veryunfortunate view that money can ever be saved by cutting funds for education. If ever there was a misguided philosophy for improving the health of a local economy, it involves cutting educational funding.

In the 21st century more than ever it will become apparent that thestrength of an area, local or national, is in its human resources.

Part-time pizza delivery and an unskilled service sector economy will never support the standard of living that we have been presented by hard-working predecessors who sacrificed so much.

So if we are called on now to make sacrifices, I encourage all of us to "give till it hurts" but not to give in where we will be hurt, and more importantly, where our children and their future will suffer.

BELTRAM: FOOT IN MOUTH

From: Scott Miller

Ellicott City

There she goes again, putting her foot where it is most comfortable: not in her shoe! Who? Who else but Angela Beltram.

After she was so soundly defeated in the last election, I find it most amusing that the press still solicits her opinion as though what she has to say is important.

The remark she made, "If he (Mr. Ecker) wants to put the blame where it belongs, he should blame George Bush" ("By whatever amount, tax hike won't help Ecker's popularity, pollster says," March 3) is absolutely the most intellectually deficient comment I have ever heard from a politician!

Ms. Beltram, let me refresh your memory. Who controlled the Howard County Council from 1980 through 1990? Who was county executive from 1986 through 1990?

There is only one answer, Democrats!Your assertion that President Bush is to blame for Howard County's woes is akin to blaming General Motors for the condition of our roads.

Mr. Ecker has some tough decisions to make due to what he inherited from the previous administration of which you were a part.

My advice to Mr. Ecker is that he should freeze all salaries of county employees from top to bottom:

Freeze all spending programs to 1989 levels; no COLAs for any county programs; postpone purchase of vehicles, computers and other large-ticket items until the economy returns to normal.

Then and only then should Mr. Ecker look to raising any taxes, otherwise his fate will be the same of his predecessors.

GUN DESCRIPTION CONFUSION

From: Sanford M. Abrams

Silver Spring

Iam writing in reference to your article on the truck stop killing, ("Man arrested in submachine-gun killing of trucker," Feb. 20).

I have only one complaint. The firearm used by the Colorado trucker was a Tec-22, .22-caliber handgun. It is not an "Uzi-styled semiautomatichandgun," and it is most certainly not a "submachine gun."

The Tec-22 does not fire fully automatic, a requirement of a submachine-gun. It is not styled after the Uzi, which can be a submachine gun. It is simply a .22-caliber target pistol.

All fully automatic firearmsare centerfire caliber, 9mm and above. The Tec-22 simply does not fall under any of the categories in your story.

A phone call to our association could have given you this information and documented it. The MLFDA has always cooperated with the press on information about all types of firearms.

Please understand that the proposed semiautomatic ban now being discussed in Annapolis would have had no effect, whatsoever, on a long-haul trucker from the state of Colorado.

It is against state and federal laws to have a loaded firearm in his vehicle, so additional gun ban laws would not change the tragedy that occurred.

* Editor's note: The writer is vice president of the MarylandLicensed Firearms Dealers Association.

A Howard County DistrictCourt charging affidavit, written by county police, describes the gun in question as "a large-framed weapon that resembled an Uzi."

Our article did not mention any proposed gun-ban laws, nor did it say where the weapon came from. The defendant is charged with a handgun violation.

WE RAN OFF THE MARK

From: John H. Dye

Columbia

President

Oakland Mills Boosters Club

Thank you for your excellent coverage of the Maryland State Indoor Track Championships.

I agreewith your assessment that Pat Rodrigues is the current star in a county prolific at producing long-distance runners. I am proud to root for him as an outstanding representative of Howard County schools.

However, your statement, "These two seniors have had many battles in cross country and track but Drissel has never beaten Rodrigues." ("Glenelg, Oakland Mills capture state indoor track titles," Feb. 24 Howard County Sun) is not true.

I offer the following:

1. Howard County Indoor Track City Meet (Jan. 31)

* Joe Drissel, first in 800-meter run

* Pat Rodrigues, second

2. Howard County Outdoor Track Championships (May 8-10)

* Matt Holhaus, county champion in 1,600-meter run

* Joe Drissel, second

* Pat Rodrigues, fifth

3.3A Region I Outdoor Track Championships (May 18)

* Joe Drissel, regional champion in 1,600-meter run

* Pat Rodrigues, third

4. Maryland State 3A Outdoor Track Championships (May 23-25)

* Joe Drissel, state champion in 1,600-meter run

* Pat Rodrigues, third

Again, Pat is a superb champion.

However, please don't in any way diminish the outstanding career of Oakland Mills state champion Joe Drissel.

Editor's note: You're right. Our mistake. Joe Drissel hasbeaten Pat Rodrigues in track competition.

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