Sun editorial was unfair on Columbia tot lot
This is in response to the editorial that appeared in The Sun in Howard County on Jan. 9, "Playground fight in Columbia." The 20 families who opposed this particular siting of a tot lot in Pheasant Ridge II are very tired of being portrayed as insensitive to the legitimate desires of our neighbors.
For the record (again), not one of us is against having pathways and a tot lot in our neighborhood. What we oppose is the specific location of the proposed (and now approved) tot lot. Placing this tot lot in an area that is not visible from any street or sidewalk is a potential problem.
The assertion that the site was the best and only choice is simply wrong. Other sites were available, feasible and safer. The chairman of our own village board wrote, "This location makes a tot lot inherently more dangerous."
Dennis Ellis, the tot lot expert for the Columbia Association, admitted that at least two other options were "doable." We are not cowering in our houses, fearful of marauding teenagers. We just wanted a fair hearing on this issue. We never really got one -- not even from your paper.
Bartlett epitomizes Washington gridlock
I am shocked but, sadly, not surprised, at Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's decision to support the "ethically challenged" activities of Speaker Newt Gingrich by voting against the sanctions which were imposed upon Mr. Gingrich by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee. Mr. Bartlett was one of only 28 members of Congress to vote against the committee's recommendations.
In explaining why he voted against the bipartisan report, Mr. Bartlett said that in his opinion, other members had committed more grave violations, yet were not punished as severely. Well, Mr. Bartlett, none of those other members, whoever they may be, has ever become speaker of the House as a direct result of benefits gained by those ethical violations.
In addition, given the heightened sense of awareness among the American people as to the nature of campaign financing, it would have been appropriate for Mr. Bartlett to take a stand for political reform, and for bipartisanship, and vote to support the bipartisan report. In a Washington where both parties are trying to be part of the solution, Roscoe Bartlett continues to be part of the problem.
William C. Woodcock Jr.
What do Ecker's promises mean?
I was pleased to read Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker's promise not to raise taxes, and to hold the line on fees over the next two years.
I was disgusted that once again our elected officials can't tell it like it is. Taxes (for some of us) will go up, as our property assessments are increased. They have every year for the last nine. We don't pay the rate, we pay the taxes.
And, what is "hold the line on fees"? Does this mean that the $125 trash fee won't go up or down? Or does it just mean that we won't have a "new" trash fee?
If the upcoming test to weigh trash is "successful," what would be the cost to homeowners? Forget the $50,000 to equip the test truck to weigh trash. Forget the $750,000 to equip the 15 trucks that will be used. That's just our tax money down the drain unnecessarily. What effect will the weighing of trash have on my "fee"? What is the projected cost per pound? What makes the test "successful"?
If we weigh trash, how do I appeal a bag that I weighed at 25 pounds, but the $50,000 modified truck weighed at 30 pounds, charged and hauled away?
Mr. Ecker needs to reexamine his statements before they end up discarded on the trash-pile of politics.
Richard C. Buczek
Hill Staton's new post a plus for Marylanders
I am writing to publicly express my gratitude to Donna Hill Staton for her service as a Circuit Court judge of Howard County. She served the citizens of Howard County with much integrity and professionalism, which is not always present in our courtrooms today.
While the citizens of Howard have lost an excellent officer of the court, the state of Maryland has gained a first-rate deputy attorney general. I am truly glad that Ms. Hill Staton will remain in public service, as we need people of her caliber to strike a chord for justice.
Transfer station plan lacked notice
As board members of the Woodland Park Homeowners Association, we represent 164 homeowners in the Elkridge area who oppose the zoning change proposal put forth by Browning-Ferris, Inc.
In 1994, due to the impending closure of Alpha Ridge Landfill, the County Council (which also serves as the zoning board) held public hearings regarding a waste management plan for Howard County. This plan included a county-owned waste transfer station to be located at Alpha Ridge.
However, when a final plan was adopted, the waste transfer station was no longer to be located at Alpha Ridge as originally discussed, but in an area in Elkridge owned by BFI.
In addition, it would be operated by BFI. This proposed area is currently zoned as a light industrial area and is not intended for heavy industrial uses, such as a waste transfer station.
We are opposed to the plan on the grounds that we were denied our right to a public hearing regarding the change to locate the solid waste overlay in Elkridge. In addition, the compelling reason the County Council used to justify the BFI facility was the very plan enacted by the County without a hearing.
The County Council of 1994 violated Maryland law by not providing public notice and a hearing on the location and private operation of a waste transfer station. Moreover, these same elected officials, serving as the zoning board, failed to meet local regulations that require a compelling reason for changing this type of zoning.
Preventing the public from having any input on the location of the proposed garbage facility was improper and illegal, as the Maryland Court of Special Appeals found last April. Let us hope that the 1997 zoning board (two of whose members were not members in 1994) will follow the law in the next set of hearings.
Ann L. Rasenberger
The writer, president of the Woodland Park Homeowners Association, wrote this on behalf of the board and its membership.
Pub Date: 2/02/97