Discontinuing historic planner position is right
I have received several requests to reinstate the historic planner position. It is my opinion that there is justification to discontinue the position.
During my first year in office, we adjusted our county budget nine times because of serious cuts in state funding. A plea was made to accept the grant for the historic planner position because a project was started that would require the planner for one more year. This request was granted even though funds for infrastructure were severely limited. The following year, and every year since, the request has been granted. Last year, I stated that would be the last time that I would agree to fund the position.
Some citizens are saying that because most of the cost was funded by a grant, we should reinstate the position. It appears to me that people do not understand that grant funds are tax dollars, just from a different source.
I regret that this has caused someone to be unemployed. My first priority is to spend tax dollars on basic government needs. It is not my intention to ignore our past.
We have the Carroll County Historic Commission, Carroll County Historical Society, Carroll County Farm Museum, Carroll County Steam Engine and Antique Tractor Society, Union Mills Homestead Commission and many individuals who are preserving our historical heritage in many ways.
We have projected a very serious shortfall ($35 million) over the next five years. It is financially irresponsible for the county to ignore this situation. The time is now to begin to correct the problem. Government must focus on those services that are necessary for our education, health and safety.
Donald I. Dell
The writer is a Carroll County commissioner.
Time to rebuild crumbling government
The people have spoken. Their voices have been heard and counted. The time has come to put all of our differences aside and unite for the good of Carroll County.
We need to collectively pool our energy into rebuilding the crumbling foundation of our current government. The strength of our future relies on the strength of those we chose as leaders.
As the votes were tallied in the recent charter referendum, it became apparent that significant numbers of taxpayers in this county are disenchanted with the performance of our current leadership. It has become quite obvious that there are certain fundamentals in government that are missing.
First is the very evident lack of ability to make logical and rational decisions. We cannot hope as a people to overcome any of the problems we are now facing without having some form of problem-solving mechanism in place. Whatever the problem may be, crowding of our communities, schools, highways, rising crime or an unstable tax base, we cannot afford a government that relies on personal opinion and personal gain to be the sole mechanisms in deciding the future of our personal well-being.
For many years, our government has been stumbling along with "tunnel vision." The basis on which decisions need to be made needs to reflect a consideration for how that decision will affect our county, not only for the moment, but for five to 10 years from now.
Second, we need to have leaders who are willing to listen to their constituents. People want to be heard, not merely spoken to.
The idea of "servitude" has gotten lost in the shuffle of politics. The fact is, we pay the salaries of our political leaders and, as such, deserve something to show for our tax dollars. In all the speeches that I have heard, I very rarely hear anyone stop talking long enough to ask, "Is there something I can do for you?" I think that it's time that politicians look up from the page long enough to look into the eyes of the people they represent.
Finally, we need to have a government that we can trust. When people cannot trust their leaders, they become disillusioned with or suspicious of their motives. They need to know that there is honesty, integrity and accountability in every aspect of county government.
Betty L. Smith
The writer is a candidate for Carroll County commissioner.
Don't dismiss link in animal, child abuse
I am a social worker who has worked with abused children and a devoted pet owner.
The response of the unnamed state official to the Baltimore City Police Department's grant proposal to recognize and treat animal abuse as an indicator of other abuses within a home both infuriated and saddened me.
The insensitivity and ignorance with which he spoke made it no surprise to me that he wished to remain anonymous. If he had done any kind of research before speaking, he would have known that some cities have already implemented programs to connect reports of animal abuse to child protective services because there is evidence that supports the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence.
If an animal within a home is being abused or neglected, there is an increased chance that the children within the home are experiencing the same, not to mention the damaging lessons about what is acceptable to do to another living being.
Several programs in the country already provide shelter for the animals of battered women and children so that leaving the abuser does not have to mean leaving a loved pet behind to suffer continued beatings.
If providing this service means increasing the chance that abused women and children will leave an abusive situation or if it means reducing the trauma of leaving even just a little, then it seems valuable and worth consideration.
It does not deserve the harsh words of the quoted source in your article. It is this kind of progressive program that shows a city's dedication to eradicating domestic violence of any kind, whether it be spousal abuse, child abuse or pet abuse.
I commend the Baltimore City Police Department for taking such a forward-thinking stand. Sgt. Margaret Patten has obviously done her research.
Treating the people behind social ills
May 14 was the anniversary of multiple deaths of victims in a bus, auto crash and fire in Kentucky caused by a driver driving while drunk. The driver received a 10-year sentence.
The new president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, on the "Today" show, noted that annually there are 17,000 deaths and more than 1 million injuries from highway crashes caused by drunken drivers.
This, despite substantial regulations on alcohol products and drivers. Compare this with national efforts to control firearms. The death and injury statistics are substantially lower (though the losses are individually just as traumatic to families). But are "instant checks" required to buy a vehicle or alcohol? Is the manufacture of either banned? (This was tried once with alcohol and all it did was cause crime and a black market).
No, because these solutions don't get to the cause of the problem: The human, not the inanimate object. How many gun control organization staff members and legislators drink and drive? Are they hypocrites or just social liberals?
Let's get a focus and an intelligent perspective on problems, causes (not symptoms) and solutions to society's problems.
Talk to your child before Senior Week
Congratulations! Your child has arrived at one of those milestones that you may remember from your own life -- high school graduation. What has changed a great deal is the amount of risk involved for our young people.
Carroll County public school students have been taught the best choice regarding drinking and premarital sex is abstinence. This message is conveyed through programs in health, family life and human development, and AIDS education.
Students have also been subject to strong disciplinary policies and administrative procedures regarding the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. We know from past experiences, however, that without thought of consequences, alcohol and other drugs are used as a major part of the celebration that takes place during "Senior Week."
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, impairs judgment and harms coordination skills. Regardless of the encouragement by advertising and other media to the contrary, use of alcohol and other drugs heightens the chance of car crashes, other physical damage, high-risk sexual behaviors and legal problems.
As the parent of a graduating senior this year, please be aware that your child may be exposed to potentially risky situations.
Talk with your child about how he or she might appropriately handle these occasions without compromising themselves or others.
If your son or daughter will be celebrating in Ocean City, check out the place where she or he will be staying by contacting the owner or landlord.
Develop a plan with your child to stay in touch with you during the week. Remind him or her of the responsibility to care for the rental property. Be clear about your expectations.
Many resources are available to your family if your child is in Ocean City. The "Play It Safe" booklet that will be distributed in the senior packets contains important emergency information as well as coupons and ideas for many fun things to do.
Note that the Ocean City Police have formed a partnership with motel and hotel operators to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors.
The Parent Network is a program of community volunteers in Ocean City who are interested in the safety of youth while visiting the resort. You may call this network 24 hours a day at 410-723-3700.
Again, congratulations. You, too, have achieved a milestone with this graduation. We hope this information helps you and your graduate make it a healthy and safe one for all of us.
Joanne M. Hayes
The writer is substance abuse prevention/school community coordinator for Carroll County public schools.
Pub Date: 5/31/98