Getting the story or missing point?I read...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Getting the story or missing point?

I read with great dismay your story and account of "Police protest ticket quota" (April 22).

The story sensationalized a memo and misrepresented an incident, which was resolved as quickly as it occurred.

When I was contacted by reporter Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan regarding this incident, I told her that this was not a standing issue. I had explained that the incident was investigated by myself and our union representatives and that, in fact, no quotas existed.

Further, I explained that from time to time an overzealous supervisor attempts to "manage" performance by issuing memos such as that reported in your story. Unfortunately, the shortsightedness and naivete of such a manager created the situation we have here.

Your reporter took this explanation and, I suppose, determined that there was nothing sensational to this story after I had explained that the memo was not an issue.

So, she went to Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police president, Gary McLhinney, and, reading him only the quoted portions of the memo by Lt. Kenneth Schlein, extracted a comment that sensationalized the story.

Officer McLhinney does not work for the Anne Arundel County Police Department and should not have made any comment on the subject. He should have deferred to me or waited at least until he had an opportunity to speak with me about the matter. But worse was your reporter's zeal to produce a story on the subject (maybe her own quota?). What resulted is a story misleads the public and instills doubt and mistrust for the police officers of our department.

Finally, the story irresponsibly conveyed Lieutenant Schlein's memo and its message as an extension of that expected from the chief of police. The story even reported that Lt. Jeff Kelly, speaking for the chief, denied any quota system existed. As well, you reported that Capt. Harry Collier addressed the personnel at Eastern District and countermanded the memo.

This should have been further evidence that the memo was not a department directive but, as I had explained, a naive edict by a zealot supervisor. But your spin to the story was reported anyway.

Perhaps your reporting of this story and Lt. Schlein's memo have a lot in common, except for the truth that is.

William T. Wild III

Crownsville

The writer is president of Anne Arundel County Lodge 70 of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Behind marina party, a crass try for support

We are responding to your May 14 article about Jerry Herson's party at which he tried to gain support for his continuing efforts to create a "total wreck-creational environment" at Pleasure Cove Marina in Pasadena ("Marina owner gives party to aid case").

To the representative of the 32nd Legislative District who attended because she "likes to support small businesses" even if they are not in her district, let us clarify a few things. Mr. Herson is a multimillionaire who made a fortune selling Toyotas. He obtains control of small marinas, builds them quickly for sale and moves on to his next land development project.

Isn't there something that Del. Mary Ann Love could be doing which might benefit her constituents? Ours boycotted the party.

While Mr. Herson speaks of his version of the marina, only a small percentage of his property is zoned for marina use. In the past two Anne Arundel County comprehensive rezonings, the property was found unfit for marina use because of its location near the headwaters of Bodkin Creek and because the channel and the creek were too narrow.

If he wanted to build a marina there today, he could not do it. If it burns down, he cannot rebuild it. It simply does not conform to county land use codes.

To anyone who thinks that neighboring property owners want to turn back the clock, we do not. We want to preserve what is good and what is unique about Bodkin Creek for the future.

The great American poet, e.e. cummings, once wrote that "progress is a comfortable" disease. He and we understand that trade-offs, once made, can never be recaptured.

To any of our neighbors who feel that this is a case of the haves against the have-nots (i.e., waterfront owners against other boating enthusiasts), please remember that Mr. Herson offered to have public boat ramps at Pleasure Cove.

Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary and Councilman Thomas W. Redmond Sr. did not accept the offer. The location is not fit for public boat ramps. The area Mr. Herson offered is a fragile yellow perch spawning ground.

We work together simply to require him to act lawfully, no matter how many free drinks and hot dogs he offers in a crass attempt to buy support. We will have to live with what we allow him to do.

Chip Beziat

Pasadena

Candidate Marsh overlooked in article

Tanya Jones' story in The Sun in Anne Arundel ("Races get off to early start," May 15), concerning the upcoming primaries, was full of surprises. She left out so many declared candidates, including Mary Marsh of Arnold, whose campaign committee I chair.

Mrs. Marsh has been active in community matters for many years throughout the 5th Councilmanic District and the county.

As a member of the county's General Development Plan steering committee, she pressured the administration to remove primary growth areas from county peninsulas. Mrs. Marsh also organized support for a new hike/bike trail along College Parkway to Sandy Point State Park. She has participated in the PTA and school improvement team for her daughters' schools. She has consistently urged for more police officers on the street to keep our neighborhoods safe.

I am sure this letter will remind them and others why Mrs. Marsh should be your candidate for County Council from the Fifth District in 1998.

Paul V. Bennett

Arnold

The writer is chairman of the Friends of Mary Marsh.

Zero-tolerance columns label policy unfairly

I have patiently sat and read the numerous columns by Brian Sullam on the subject of zero-tolerance and car seizures in Anne Arundel County.

I thought I had convinced myself that I would stay out of the feud between Mr. Sullam and Police Chief Larry Tolliver, but someone must speak out.

Enough is enough. What about the program is so vile and repulsive to Mr. Sullam that it draws his ire so? He claims it to be a miscarriage of justice and a violation of constitutional rights.

How so? If I didn't know better, I would have to believe from his quips and comments against the enforcement of drug laws, that he might be a NORML person (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).

The zero-tolerance policy, for which he has so much disdain, does work. Scores of parents and spouses have acclaimed the policy because it was the first indication of a loved one's drug problem. For Mr. Sullam to disavow its usefulness is unfortunate. He could serve the public well if he took the time to really understand the policy.

Our seizure and forfeiture laws were established to aid the police in combating crime and in facilitating officers' ability to enforce law and order. For them not to use any and all given laws (tools) to this end would be the real miscarriage of justice.

Mr. Sullam's opinions on the matter, however, follow a close second.

Dennis P. Howell

Annapolis

The writer is an Anne Arundel County police officer.

Calendar glitch shorts the budget

What The Sun editorial of May 14, "Emotions still cloud school budget process," did not mention is that because of a glitch in the calendar, Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Garys budget underfunds the annual payroll by about $2.5 million. This is because although the first pay day of the 1999 budget year covers the last two weeks of fiscal 1998, it still falls in 1999, so these paychecks must be covered by 1999 funds. Mr. Gary's figures did not take this into account.

Further, to maintain their health benefits and pension plans, teachers take home pay will be cut this coming year.

Other funds are earmarked for construction projects the Board of Education did not request, projects that will do more to benefit developers than rank-and-file teachers -- teachers who work long unpaid hours at home and often spend their own money to supplement books and materials.

It is insulting and demeaning that educators are not accorded the dignity of earning enough to put their own children through college.

Lee Lears

Annapolis

Panel needs input from public on schools

The Citizens' Committee on the Renovation and Maintenance of Public Schools is a 36-member committee whose primary task is to make informed recommendations for the repair and maintenance of public schools in Anne Arundel County.

One of the most important considerations during the current extensive fact-finding period is for county citizens and leaders to remain open-minded and not make assumptions as to the many possible outcomes of any area of the findings.

For any citizen or leader to suggest that a decision or finding has already been reached is premature and uninformed.

Final recommendations will be presented to the county executive in December. All residents are encouraged to participate. Committee meetings are open to the public and scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Anne Arundel Community College in the Cade Center for Fine Arts, Room 219. Correspondence may be directed to the Citizens' Committee on the Renovation and Maintenance of Public Schools, P.O. Box 828, Arnold, MD, 21012.

Arthur D. Ebersberger

Walter J. Hall

Arnold

The writers are co-chairmen of the Citizens' Committee on the Renovation and Maintenance of Public Schools.

Pub Date: 5/31/98

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