Peace Means Taking Risks
I am writing to voice my opinion on the public's perception of Clinton's foreign policy decisions thus far in his presidency. To me it seems that our post-Cold War peace drive is conflicting with our fears of a second Vietnam.
Americans naturally want to bring peace and democracy to every part of the globe, but not if it means that American soldiers have to die. We have yet to realize that changing entire governmental systems takes commitment, and often lives.
Since we have been elected to be the world's police force, conflicts within Bosnia, Somalia, Israel and Haiti have been suddenly exploited by the American press. These problems have been around for decades, in some cases centuries, and the public is led to believe that they have sprung up quite recently.
. . . To solve problems of the magnitude that Clinton is addressing would take years of fighting and negotiations. If this is what our country considers a priority, so be it.
If we merely want an easy, risk-free solution so we can live our lives with a clean conscience, however, we are sadly mistaken.
David A. Fessler
The Howard County Council's approval of the Comprehensive Zoning Plan demonstrates why we need real change in the zoning process.
In spite of strong, consistent opposition, the council, sitting as the zoning board, unanimously approved a plan that at best is confusing, and at worst, misleading. In mixed-use districts, only residential densities are emphasized, and little mention is made of the amount of commercial development or public facilities' open space that can also be developed.
Because of the many variables involved, we really won't know what a particular mixed-use site will look like until after public hearings are held. . . . In effect, the zoning board has passed a plan without knowing what the exact outcome will be.
This is especially troubling because the county will one day be asked to provide adequate infrastructure, such as roads and schools, to support these zoning decisions. Since we don't know what these sites will actually look like, county planners can't make informed planning decisions for future infrastructure requirements.
There is nothing wrong with mixed uses for land and regional coordination of large parcels has merit. I understand that certain density increases are necessary as more of the county is developed. However, the adoption of mixed-use zoning with so many unanswered questions highlights the need for a new zoning process in Howard County.
Council members, sitting as the zoning board, convey great financial rewards when they increase the allowed density of land. Their decisions can profoundly and permanently change our neighborhoods. Because of this, the General Assembly needs to pass the Howard County Ethics Bill to help assure that zoning decisions are fair and unbiased. Additionally, future zoning plans should be adopted in such a way that they can be brought to referendum for the voters to make the final decision. . . .
Michael A. Grasso
The writer is a candidate for the state House of Delegates in District 13A.
More Praise For Stephen Wallis
Re: Stephen Wallis' guest column -- "It's Irresponsibility In Schools, Not Race." (Nov. 7).
Yes! Mr. Wallis tells it like it is. . . .
All taxpaying citizens should be sick and tired of paying teachers baby sit and coddle disruptive students while the rights of the majority of students are consequently not respected. . . . Rather, the vast majority of parents should bring litigation against parents of disruptive students and should demand more discipline in the schools. . . . It is unfortunate in today's economy that two working parents, striving to give their children "the best" in Howard County, wind up working so hard that they lack the energy to parent. That is why conscientious parents need to be assertive and support such administrators as Mr. Wallis. . . .
We would like to express our gratitude to Steve Wallis for his articulate response to discipline in the Howard County schools. We feel, along with Mr. Wallis, that assisting students in "cultivating personal accountability" is mandatory for their maturation as learners and citizens. Genuine effort on the part of the students, teachers, parents and community will assure our county of the quality education that we all value so highly.
This letter was signed by several staff members from Dunloggin Middle School.
Congratulations on each of the 11 steps you suggested to return our educational system to a place of learning.
I find each of these suggestions not only productive from the students' point of view, but healthy for society as well. Unless we put aside our differences, our excuses, our fears of offending the few, we will have a society where:
* Students, even in elementary school, will feel it necessary to arm themselves with a weapon to safely attend school and learn the basic academic skills for survival. . . . * Young children are physically crippled for life because of a stray bullet. . . .
* Increasing tax dollars that could feed the hungry or house the homeless will be diverted to build bigger, more secure prisons.
* Neighbors, who used to look out for neighboring children, will be afraid to speak to them, won't even know their names and will develop increasing resentment toward them.
* The maxim, "your rights stop where mine begin," will be replaced by "my rights are what I choose them to be."
. . . Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront so that it can be discussed and secondly, for making a moral and conscientious decision to stand up for the many educators who have dedicated their professional lives to improve the lot of us all.
Carmen Del Guercio