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Why Did The Mall Open In Big...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Why Did The Mall Open In Big Storm?

Why is The Mall so insensitive to the welfare of its store employees? Baltimore's airport closed, schools closed, courts closed, no garbage was picked up, postal workers limited deliveries and all federal workers told to stay home during the storm of Feb. 11. TV and radio reports all morning told people to stay home. Hospitals called for four-wheel-drive vehicles. . . .

But The Mall was open and guess what? At 3:15 p.m., they sent a memo to each store telling us they are closing at 4, so we could go home (as the ice storm was coming down the hardest). That also was done wrong -- 45 minutes to close while our workers on the 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. shift were on their way to work; also customers who we could not reach. I would like to know how many mall employees fell or had car accidents on the way to work or going home. Most of the time the mall was opened, it was a hangout for kids who had nothing to do. I wonder how many executives showed up for work at the Rouse %% Company? . . .

Stanley Weinberg

Columbia

Columbia's Debt

Last September, the Columbia Council received a memo from Robert Krawczak, vice president of CA in charge of finances. He tried to persuade the council to borrow money for future use, not for present needs.

In his memo, he gave an illustration of how he thought the financial future of CA would develop. Basically, he wanted to borrow $30 million in the next six years and pay off $24 million in principal over the same time period. He estimated, therefore,a "net increase in debt of $6 million over six years." (FY 1994-FY 1999).

CA's long-term debt increased from $61.8 million in 1989 to $83.4 million in 1993. . . . Based upon CA's past history of large yearly debt increases and upon actual and predicted diminished increases in real estate values, and therefore assessment income, a $1 million increase in debt per year over the next six years would be close to impossible. The council, however, swallowed Mr. Krawczak's seductive estimate hook, line and sinker and approved immediately another $10 million in debt. CA's debt in January stood at $87.5 million. If we include the recent $10 million, this will be $97.5 million. Wake up Columbia Council and smell the coffee. Get your own independent financial consultant paid for by the Columbia Council and not CA.

Albert Genemans

Columbia

More Police

A Jan. 31 editorial inferring that adding more police officers in Howard County when crime is actually going down may be unwise again demonstrates the out-of-step thinking of Sun editorial writers. . . .

Howard County has added just 12 new police officer positions in the past three years. That is not enough to keep up with the unrealistic level of high growth the county has experienced in recent years.

Many of us wish to praise our police department for a job well done. We wish to thank Police Chief James N. Robey and County Executive Charles I. Ecker for their forward thinking in proposing additional police officer positions in the fiscal year '95 budget to keep Howard County a safe place to live and work. . . .

Wilbur F. Coyle III

Simpsonville

Snow And All-Year Schools

The poll on year-round school should have been taken on Thursday morning of the frozen week. Preferably the pollsters would have reached parents just as they heard the news that schools would be closed for yet another day. . . .

You see, when the idea of a winter vacation is presented in the abstract, the mind can wander to idyllic visions of cherub-cheeked youngsters sipping steaming hot chocolate after a morning sledding on pristine snowy hills. Oh, I made plenty of hot chocolate. I believe that one cup was actually consumed. The rest were spilled, forgotten and used as impromptu science experiments to see how fast hot water will melt ice in front of the door. . . .

On Wednesday, I was taking playmates home, and received a phone call in the middle of putting on six pair of mittens, boots, hats, scarves, etc. I herded the crew out after the phone call, and we were halfway to the car when I saw my 20-month-old looking down curiously at his feet. I then realized I had sent him out in his stocking feet in sub-freezing temperature. By then BG&E; was spreading the vicious rumor that VCRs were unnecessary appliances (the TV was naming the radio as an unnecessary appliance, while the radio fingered the TV). We did our bit by consuming nothing but cold cereal for 48 hours. Things really got itchy when we realized that even the mall was closed, and our final escape route to the outside world slammed shut with the sliding doors at Woodies. . . .

You see, winter vacations really are different from summer vacations. And if you think you are immune from this problem, just remember: If the trend of winter vacations catches on, people throughout the county will be looking for places to send their children for weeks in the winter. Perchance a grandchild, a niece or nephew or just a friend may show up on your doorstep with a cherub-faced child looking for a place to spend a few weeks sipping cocoa and sliding down snowy hills. Do not let them in.

Even while advocating year-round schools (and accompanying winter vacations), the administration is proposing increasing the number of homes that will be allowed to be built in the county this year. I thought we had an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, not a "Disrupt everyone's schedules and peace of mind so that there will be enough room to cram even more kids into the buildings ordinance," or even a "Let's increase the projected number of dwelling units this year so it can look like we can balance the budget through a one-time infusion of upfront funding in an election year, even though we know the units will probably not be built and if they were, the schools would not be ordinance."

Reduce the number of new homes allowed in the county now and in the future, bite the bullet and pay for the schools to educate the children that are already here and allow extended winter vacations to be a fluke of nature, not bad public policy.

Ann Jones Koch

Ellicott City

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