Homeowner Group: This is Democracy?
As a law-abiding American citizen and upholder of the U.S. Constitution, I feel compelled to bring to your readers' attention a most un-democratic action which has just occurred. My husband and I are residents and unit-owners in Stoney Beach Condominium in Anne Arundel County. We have both been active within the condominium and enjoy living in our beautiful surroundings.
In the past year, the board of directors of our condominium has left much to be desired. The builder, Sterling Homes, has also been found on numerous counts to be lax in construction, completion of facilities and roads and repair of legitimate building faults. The one major repair of a building unit within the condominium has been to "wrap" the building in which the board president, condo news letter editor, two committee chairs and one board nominee live.
After a heated campaign in which an unprecedented number of resident unit owners ran and voted, the votes of the inhabitant owners were for a new board and a board without membership from the "wrapped" homes. The disparity in votes was nearly 2-1 in favor of a new board over old or "nominated by the board" candidates. However, for the first time since the majority of occupied condominiums owned by homeowners outnumbered those owned by the builder (Sterling Homes), the builder chose to cast the 113 votes (of unsold or still-to-be-constructed homes) for particular candidates.
Wonder of wonders, he cast his votes for the board ticket/group whose homes he had "wrapped." This same board who had also voted to save the builder $50,000 by allowing him to tar and chip our road shoulders instead of the more durable method originally proposed.
Do I detect an undemocratic process? While legally the builder may cast his votes, is it appropriate for him to do so in direct opposition to the majority of homeowners and condominium members? What is Sterling trying to protect? The residents already know of the building defects and poor workmanship.
The residents have a right by Maryland law to elect a condominium board which will look out for our best interests. The builder has already forsaken us. Have we no one to whom we can turn? Perhaps I have been too naive in my belief in the democratic process and the right of the people to determine their own property rights. I pray that there is someone who reads this who can restore my faith in what is right and good.
Nancy M. Burkhart
Teen Parents are Being Maligned
On May 16, an editorial appeared in The Sun for Anne Arundel County titled "Government for the Fittest?" The editorial was in reference to County Executive John G. Gary's proposed budget, and specifically what the writer described as "Mr. Gary's request for $700,000 to renovate a county building for a careers center designed to serve 40 trouble-making students."
The anonymous writer referred to "those who are troublesome" and (generously?) acknowledged that "sometimes, those causing the trouble aren't to blame, such as children with mental or physical disabilities." The writer did not identify what "trouble" our disabled children have been causing the rest of us taxpayers, so I infer that their very existence is the trouble. I suppose it is comforting to know that those children, at least, are not considered blameworthy by your editorialist.
Others were not so fortunate. Your editorialist voiced the opinion that "sometimes, the troublemaker is at least partly to blame for the added expense, such as the students enrolled in the teen parents program at Meade High School." Again, the writer did not bother to explain what "trouble" the teen parents had caused, so it is left up to the reader's imagination.
I would like to inform your readers that the Teen Infant Program at Meade High School is not a program for "troublemakers." It is a program for students who are parents and who want to complete their high school education. I consider that to be a commendable goal, and I support those students. I have been associated as a community adviser with the YWCA Meade Teen Infant Center since its beginning at Meade High School.
During all those years, many student parents have completed high school successfully while caring for their children at the same time. That is not an easy task, and it most certainly is not made any easier by your editorialist labeling these students as "trouble makers." These students are better served if we give them our support, rather than our scorn.
Penelope S. Dart
On May 16, an editorial titled "Government for the Fittest?" appeared in The Sun for Anne Arundel County. Reference was made to troubled youths who disrupt the school environment. The writer followed up a brief discussion of those teen-agers by making an outrageous connection regarding teen parents at Meade Senior High in the Teen Infant Program.
The writer's comment, "Sometimes, the troublemaker is at least partly to blame for the added expense, such as the students enrolled in the teen parents program at Meade High," came completely out of left field with no explanations whatsoever. . . .
* On what data is this analogy based? (Our disciplinary documentation does not support this.)
* Has the writer ever spoken with the staff of our Teen Infant Program or visited our center?
* Most importantly, can the writer substantiate this claim, or could it be that he/she simply had to have a scapegoat to defend the points made in the article?
As principal of Meade High, I am appalled by the lack of sensitivity and truth as well as the vindictive nature of such an unwarranted claim. The young mothers in our program are dedicated to their goal of obtaining their high school diploma. The support rendered by the staff of the Teen Infant Center is incomparable and unfailing. These young ladies are to be commended for their stamina and pursuit of their goals, rather then scrutinized. . . .
George K. Kispert
Fort George G. Meade
The writer is principal of Meade High School.