Series Omitted Two Key Women
Your two-part series on Howard County's political parties, "Reversal of Fortune" (April 16-17), was interesting and largely accurate, but incomplete in one important facet.
The laundry list of current and future leaders of the Republican Party omits the names of two countywide elected officials: Clerk of the Circuit Court Margy Rappaport and State's Attorney Marna McLendon. Any article on politics in Howard County which fails to mention that Ms. Rappaport was the county's top vote-getter in 1990, or Ms. McLendon's stunning 1994 victory, is flawed on its face.
I'll give reporter James M. Coram the benefit of the doubt and assume that the names of Howard's top-ranking women ended up on the cutting room floor. I know their names were mentioned to him, because I called attention to them myself.
Carol A. Arscott
It seems as though new school board member Stephen Bounds has made another misstep in a string of unsettling incidents.
After the earlier incidents, in which he directly contradicted the promises of his campaign, Mr. Bounds himself has failed to live up to the "good government" test which he previously espoused. His attendance at a national seminar in California cost taxpayers nearly $2,000. Combined with the attendance of the other four board members, the board spent just under $10,000. . . .
Just weeks before, during budget deliberations, it was the same Stephen Bounds who said too much was allotted for conferences and meetings throughout the budget. He argued that this should be one of the first things to cut if the County Council returned a reduced budget to the board. Apparently, Mr. Bounds would rather not lead by example.
J. Michael Kendrick
There's only one thing worse than political deceit and that's political hypocrisy. In The Sun on April 15, your editorial entitled "Senators Wouldn't Lie" mentioned that Chris McCabe (R-Howard), voted against continuing the senatorial scholarships. You failed to mention that Mr. McCabe, who has not supported the scholarships in the past, still has given them out.
He has a cover committee to officially designate the recipients of the taxpayer-funded $120,000-a-year giveaway, but Mr. McCabe intimately has involved himself by writing each recipient a personal letter congratulating them on winning the scholarship. Mr. McCabe even has penned a personal note on each congratulatory letter, saying he is glad to be able to help in this modest way.
Who's kidding whom? Mr. McCabe hypocritically says the scholarships are wrong and then he gives them out and sends a congratulatory letter to boot. Mr. McCabe is deceiving Common Cause and The Sun, but worst of all, he's deceiving his constituents.
. . . The reasons to support violence on television are not good reasons. . . . Movies that are shown on TV today are too violent for children to see.
. . . A 13-year-old boy saw a movie on TV and started to fight with his brother, who was five. They were playing and suddenly the older brother kicked his younger brother, who died. If they will not see this stuff, they will not copy it. The solution is that these shows not be shown. Children are affected by watching super-muscled heroes in cartoons. They are corrupted by blood and guts. . . .
The writer is an eighth grader at Ellicott Mills Middle School.
Police Merit 4-Day Week
In response to your editorial in The Sun for Howard County, "Police Fight for a Longer Work Day" (April 10), it is quite obvious that you do not support or understand my views on the Howard County Police Officers Association Inc. contract negotiations with the current administration.
As president, I represent the men and women of our association, which is 240 members strong.
The four-day work schedule has been removed from the negotiation table per agreement from both sides. A five-day work schedule is utilized by all members of the Howard County Police Department, excluding uniformed patrol officers.
These officers are the county employees who work weekends, holidays, and, yes, even snow days when our schools and county government offices are closed due to inclement weather.
Our patrol officers are the county employees who report to work to fulfill their mission: to protect and serve the citizens of Howard County, to provide the needed services that our taxpayers expect and receive without hesitation from our patrol officers.
Our officers handle the bicycle theft call, respond to the violent domestic calls and render the necessary assistance without complaint or reservation. Yes, our patrol officers need three days off, away from the constant rigors of police work, to be with their families.
Being a police officer is a very different job, when you compare this profession to that of other county employees, who work a five-day week.
Every year, our police officers sustain injuries as a result of effecting criminal arrests. It is fair and reasonable that our patrol officers work a four-day, 40-hour week. The current trend in law enforcement is to compress work schedules as a method to recruit and retain police officers.
Does the county need to be more generous to our police officers? Yes. The life expectancy of a police officer, after retirement, is considerably shorter than other occupations.
Let the citizens of our county answer this question. When you dial 911, do our police officers respond and help our citizens? . . . We desire parity and just compensation for our police officers.
James F. Fitzgerald
The writer is president of the Howard County Police Officers' Association, Inc.