Help Shape Recreation into the 21st Century
We truly live in a beautiful community. Howard County is one of the most richly blessed places in Maryland. Nestled between the Patuxent and Patapsco rivers, our county is expected to attract another 100,000 people in the next 16 years. But when they come -- and they will come, attracted by our inviting quality of life, our excellent school systems and our proximity to business centers and two major cities -- where will Howard County's children play?
An important process is going on in your government. The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks is developing the 1994 Comprehensive Recreation, Parks and Open Space Plan, a plan that is completed every five to 10 years and that will significantly effect that "quality of life" we value.
I recently attended the first of three public regional workshops being held around the county. These workshops are provided for the citizens to have input into preserving, protecting and enhancing our precious natural resources, and into evaluating and redefining priorities for recreation and leisure programming for all of us from pre-schoolers to senior adults, rich or not so rich, able-bodied or disabled, retired or overworked.
. . . Many people sit around and complain that government makes choices for them, giving them no input. Now is the time to express your choices and use your voice where it will do the most good. Attend one of the other two public regional workshops. They are Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Glenelg High School and Oct. 26 at Hammond High School. Both meetings are at 7 p.m.
The comprehensive plan will be a pivotal document for the future quality of life in Howard County. Be part of it.
Dr. Willa J. Brooks
The writer is chairwoman of the Howard County Recreation and Parks Advisory Board.
Thomas and Taxes
For the second time in the last two weeks, Del. Virginia Thomas has defended her support of Governor William Donald Schaefer's tax increase by saying that the county executive asked her to vote for higher taxes to prevent state cuts to the county.
Thomas must be confused as to where she lives. It was Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening, now Thomas' candidate for governor, who repeatedly asked the state to raise taxes and when given the authority to raise his county's piggyback rate did so immediately.
On no occasion did Chuck Ecker ask the state to raise taxes even though the county was threatened with cuts in state assistance. When given the authority to raise Howard County's piggyback tax, he refused, preferring to find areas to reduce the county budget instead. In each appearance before state legislative committees, Chuck Ecker told legislators that if cuts to the county were necessary, they should be made early in the process so that the county had time to react. He did not ask them to raise taxes.
Thomas apparently is unwilling to take responsibility for her own poor judgment in supporting the largest tax increase in recent history. Those who know Chuck Ecker and the way he brought Howard County through the last several years with budget reductions realize Thomas' attempt to place the blame on him is blatantly untrue.
Sun Out of Bounds
In The Sun's editorial on the school board (Sept. 2), it described Stephen Bounds as "a strong candidate . . . a very viable choice." Now The Sun seems surprised that he did so well (Sept. 19).
If The Sun's reporters had ventured into the western part of the county, they would have seen his signs in many yards. Also, if they had attended the fair, they could have met him in person.
As to his views, The Sun keys on the least significant topics,
issues like sex education and self-esteem. Most parents look beyond these petty subjects because they are instilled at home and the school's impact is minimal. The issues of real interest were not contained in the editorial.
But, horror of all horrors, Mr. Bounds is a member of a church. And a conservative church at that, not a liberal one. This does not bode well for him among the unbelievers in Columbia. Fortunately, The Sun dispels any qualms liberals might harbor by stating, "No one is suggesting that his religious affiliation disqualifies him from holding public office!" Our founding fathers would have breathed a collective sigh of relief. . . .
C7 With all this baggage, why did he do so well? . . .
R. D. Bush
Howard County Democrats defied the conventional wisdom. Low voter turnout was expected for the Sept. 13 primary election. Statewide about 40 percent of registered voters were reported to have gone to the polls. In Howard County, 43.4 percent of Democrats voted. While the ballot was crowded and somewhat confusing, the various Democratic campaigns involved many volunteers and included many exciting candidates.
Comparatively, among local Republicans barely 36 percent participated -- even with a Howard countian on the ticket with their winning gubernatorial nominee.
In County Council Districts 2 and 4, the two races that were contested in both parties, the top Democratic vote-getters, Vernon Gray and Mary Lorsung, each received many more votes than the combined total among the Republican primary candidates. Even in Republican-leading House of Delegates District 14-B, Democrats turned out 14 percent more voters than the other party. Votes cast for Casey Willis, one of two Democrats selected for that post, exceeded the primary vote for either of the two incumbent Republicans.
Additionally, despite a recent article in The Sun about the lack of black elected officials in suburban counties, Howard County Democrats not only re-elected Vernon Gray for County Council, but also chose Frank Turner to be on the November ballot for House of Delegates in District 13-A.
If the above patterns continue, Howard County Democrats will do very well in November.
Fredric C. Cooper
The writer won a spot on the Howard County Democratic Central Committee in the primary.