Article on Columbia bids contained errorsYour Nov....

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Article on Columbia bids contained errors

Your Nov. 22 front-page article, "Bid procedures are tightened in Columbia after some sloppiness," contains two gross inaccuracies.

First, your article states that the Columbia Association "awaits the results of the first-ever audit in its 30-year history."

The truth is that CA has an annual audit and has had from its very beginning. CA has also had periodic special audits, e.g., on the Equestrian Center, and special reviews, e.g., internal controls and ash management practices.

Second, your article states, "Historically, this group [the CA board of directors] has offered little oversight of CA spending."

The truth is that The CA board of directors maintains continuous oversight over CA spending, reviews detailed financial management reports at least quarterly and conducts an extended and extensive public budgetary process unprecedented among private, not-for-profit corporations. How do I know? I chaired the CA board of directors and its audit committee.

Your self-congratulatory article was a disservice to CA and The Sun's readers. A formal correction is in order.

Lanny J. Morrison

Columbia

Judge Dudley is right, one feminist says

As a woman and a feminist, I agree with Circuit Court Judge James P. Dudley's comments ("Judge draws criticism over his remarks," Dec. 2). If women want to be taken seriously, if women want to be treated as equals by men, they must take responsiblity for the choices they make in life.

If a man beats you while you're dating, don't marry him. If a man beats you while you're married, don't have children with him. If you have children and a man beats you, do whatever is necessary to protect your children, if not yourself.

Folks, teach your daughters to be strong so they can cope with this reality. Violence against women has been going on since the beginning of time. Isn't it time we stopped tiptoeing around the subject and address it head-on?

Leslie J. Cale

Ellicott City

The writer is a court reporter for Judge James P. Dudley.

A sense of proportion on seat belt tickets

Recently, while driving the three blocks from the local store to my apartment, I was pulled over and ticketed by a member of the Howard County police. My crime: not wearing my seat belt.

This is the same police force that for two months two years ago did nothing while a group of drug thugs terrorized our building until all hours of the night despite repeated complaints about their activities. On at least two occasions, they didn't see fit to make an arrest while drug use was in process.

On the day of my ticketing alone there were five serious property crimes in my area of the county, including two car thefts and two burglaries. One wishes that the seat-belt police would show the same energy in catching the area's car thieves, bank robbers and drug dealers.

Lawrence J. Fischer

Ellicott City

Northern principal did the right thing

Three cheers for Northern High School Principal Alice Morgan Brown. She did what was necessary to control the situation.

Interim school Superintendent Robert Schiller should have backed her decision. His action is telling the students, "Do as you please. The principal has no authority." To the parents: Don't send your kids to school to be disciplined. That starts at home.

Serreace Kelly

Columbia

Don't blame Daytonians for opposing development

Since I was named in the Nov. 20 editorial on development in Dayton, Howard County ("Moving to Opportunity, Dayton-style"), I was tempted to challenge the editorial's tone and its numerous errors of fact, but such a response would divert us from larger issues.

First, your paper reports as fact the claim of county Planning Director Joe Rutter that the DEO/CEO program has preserved 1,300 acres of agricultural land at no cost to Howard County taxpayers.

In fact, the Density Exchange Option has been used to "preserve" such plots of agricultural land as the golf links of a private country club (Cattail Creek), a large lake used as water supply for a nursery, forested slopes, wetlands surrounding a new church, etc.

Mr. Rutter's claim is a sham. I urge The Sun to investigate an odoriferous operation that increases density throughout the county without preserving much farmable land.

Second, erecting houses in large tracts on one-acre lots when those houses depend on well and septic systems is an invitation to environmental disaster. The failure pattern has been repeated throughout the country, including in adjoining Prince George's County.

We in Dayton oppose the high-density development of Big Branch Overlook because, among other things, it is a prime candidate for such pollution problems. More than half of the 238 acres consists of flood plain, side streams, seeps and marshes.

The rest is on sleep slopes which drain directly into Triadelphia Reservoir and the drinking water supply for Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

I urge The Sun to contact the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). It also questions the wisdom of such over-development of this sensitive reservoir area.

Ted C. Davis

Dayton

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As residents of the Dayton community, we take exception to your editorial of Nov. 20.

The community and history of Dayton (including many of the current residents) date back to the beginning of Howard County as we know it today. Dayton is a small community consisting of 500 mail stops. Several years ago, we petitioned the governor to save our one-room post office and our historical identity.

Dayton consists of a wide range of very modest, low-cost housing to very expensive homes. It is home to two of the largest farming operations in Howard County. In addition, it includes commercial establishments, antique shops, in-home businesses, a nursing home, a rod and gun club, a therapeutic riding center, the Dayton Raiders amateur baseball organization, churches and cemeteries. "Dayton Daze" is an annual summer parade and picnic supported by the vast majority of the community.

The fact is, we are a diverse community of citizens in the best and oldest tradition of small-town America. We help each other in a myriad of ways, from assisting each other in snow removal problems to car-pooling our children to after-school activities.

Your editorial was grossly misleading. It appears that you based it on the comments of one individual's testimony, which itself was taken out of context.

As regards County Councilman C. Vernon Gray's proposed legislation, you should have known that he was the at-large councilman some years ago for all of Howard County. Fortunately, Dr. Gray has remained interested in the needs of all Howard County residents, as opposed to merely district concerns.

Your editorial of Nov. 21, "Looking ahead to 2015," appears to contradict the "Dayton-style" piece. It would appear to be financially impossible for the taxpayers of Howard County to pay for the attendant public facilities required to support cluster development in the western section of Howard and at the same time infuse new life and money into the existing areas of the eastern section.

As to the proposed development and two minor subdivisions in Dayton, please note the correct acreage is 238-plus acres with more than 100 homes -- not the figures you reported.

The Dayton Community Association is on record as not opposed to development in western Howard County. We are concerned, rather, with the lack of public facilities to support the amount of increased density in the Dayton area.

Also, we wish to preserve the Patuxent watershed from further deterioration. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, supplier of drinking water to Prince George's and Montgomery counties, Washington and the city of Laurel as well as portions of Howard County, reviewed the proposed development in Dayton.

It has stated "the transfer rights to this sensitive area has increased the number of lots while decreasing the availability for quality control for septic field locations, lots encroaching on and into stream buffers and possibly inadequate locations for storm-water management ponds."

Six Howard County reviewing departments have indicated the preliminary plan should not be approved. Even the developer's own colleagues in the building profession question the legitimacy of the proposed development, due to its extreme environmental sensitivity.

The Dayton Community Association is pursuing issues that can only enhance the quality of life for future generations of Howard County residents as well as those in neighboring jurisdictions. Your editorial was unfounded, inaccurate and based on presumed knowledge rather than the facts at hand.

Peter J. Esseff

Dayton

The writer is president of the Dayton Community Association.

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I take exception to your Nov. 20 editorial. You paint a picture of an elitist community attempting to prevent others from moving in. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Dayton is a very diverse community of blue- and white-collar families. Dayton enjoys an ethnic diversity not seen in many western Howard County neighborhoods.

Charles Sharp apparently purchased the property he wants to develop, not to farm, but as an investment. The current zoning for the property is for about 30 housing units. He wants an exemption to the zoning to increase the density, using the Density Exchange Program, to offset the acreage further west near Mount Airy.

Please point the finger of greed toward the person who wants to profit from the zoning change, not the middle-class residents of Dayton.

Steve Hayleck

Dayton

Pub Date: 12/07/97

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