Comparing covenants to Nazis is odiousYour June...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Comparing covenants to Nazis is odious

Your June 3 article, "In Columbia, get spiffy or get sued," contains such an outrageous statement that it must be challenged.

You printed, "But some, like Stuart, compare the covenant enforcement to tactics used by the infamous Nazi police, the Gestapo."

Since you did not use quotation marks, I cannot determine if it came from Mr. Stuart or Caitlin Francke, the reporter.

I could note that the volunteers, employees and elected officials involved in covenant and architectural issues are not butchering 12 million people based on their religious or political beliefs, lifestyle, mental state or physical condition.

We are not waging a war against humanity, and we do not follow the likes of Hitler or any other megalomaniac. But a reasoned response to anyone who could make such an ignorant and crass comparison would be meaningless. The mere fact of such a statement makes it clear that the speaker would not understand the reply.

Shame on The Sun for printing it, without evidence of a challenging follow-up.

If your reporter drew the comparison, then you have dishonored the victims of the worst nightmare in human history and the people who fought and sacrificed everything to end that terror.

Robert Stackhouse

Ellicott City

The writer is a member of the resident architectural committee of the Village of Dorsey Search in Columbia.

Sauerbrey's visit to Howard justified

I am compelled to write in response to comments made by Geyer Wise, Chuck Ecker's campaign manager, regarding the reasoning for Ellen Sauerbrey's visit to Howard County to hold a press conference at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School ("Election visit ruffles feathers," June 8).

Throughout her campaign, Ms. Sauerbrey has made education the centerpiece of her platform. Unlike our current governor, she believes that schools are more important than building stadiums.

The fact that the Howard County school system is undoubtedly the best in the state is also the reason why our schools are rapidly filling up. Thus, our costs continue to rise. Families are moving to our county, not just from within the state, but from across the nation because of our schools. As a result of the exponential increase in students, funding to keep them the best is increasingly difficult, requiring creative ideas by educators, administrators, the school board, County Council and county executive. It makes their job harder when the governor provides only 35 percent of the county's funding request.

Most disturbing, however, is Ms. Wise's comment, "I can think of a lot more school districts in the state that need more money than Howard County needs money." As a spouse of a Howard County educator and a parent, I cannot afford to be so cavalier when it comes to spending on education.

I suggest Ms. Wise do her employer a favor and seriously research how little the state is doing to meet its obligation to Howard County. She'll learn that many educators, out of dedication and commitment, often spend parts of their meager salaries on supplies and equipment for their classrooms. This happens not just in Howard, but also Prince George's County, Baltimore and across the state.

Education -- and how Howard County has been slighted by the governor -- is a legitimate issue this election year. Should Ms. Sauerbrey ignore Howard County so as not to appear controversial? Not only would that have been imprudent, had she done so, she would have been severely criticized -- and rightly so. It's tantamount to criticizing your political rivals for distributing campaign literature at the Preakness.

Sean P. Keller

Clarksville

Hollofield is name, not Hollifield

Little care was given in naming the new housing development and elementary school in northern Howard County off Route 99 in Ellicott City.

The nearby area has long been known as Hollofield, as denoted on state maps, the utility substation sign on Old Frederick Road and the transformer box located at the railroad tracks.

However, the name Hollifield Station has been selected for the new area. Please note the difference in spelling.

Through the years, local residents have been heard pronouncing Hollofield as if it did contain an "i." Perhaps this is how the incorrectly spelled name came to fruition.

However, laziness in speech does not justify laziness on the part of real estate developers and government agencies in choosing a name for a new area of development -- especially when all you have to do is look at a map.

Lynn Michaels

Columbia

The writer is chairman of the board of the Howard County Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Recalling Miss Butler, commencements past

The other day I attended a high school graduation in Howard County. The same day , I read a letter to The Sun about bad behavior at graduation exercises in Howard County.

It proposed that security guards be hired to remove disruptive people who yell and scream during the proceedings.

I was shocked, to say the least.

To say that times have changed since I graduated from Forest Park High School would indeed be a gross understatement.

The graduation exercise I attended was at Merriweather Post Pavilion, where four ceremonies were held in one day.

I saw no disruptive or unruly behavior.

At Forest Park, I remember that attendance at graduation was limited. A remarkable thing that I remember about Forest Park was our singing quality, created and nurtured by our music teacher, Miss Genevieve Butler.

Our entire class, not just a chorus, sang the Hallelujah Chorus, the Lord's Prayer by Malot, and of course, our school song, "To you, Forest Park, we are loyal, to you we will always be true."

Miss Butler was the entire music department: band, chorus, orchestra, drum corps, and she stayed there for many, many years. I believe she retired in the late '50s. Wendel Dunn was also the principal at Forest Park for many years.

Of course, the world has changed. But today's educational process could possibly take some thoughts from the past. Security guards, indeed.

Hugh M. Roper

Columbia

Council weakened county charter

It is not possible to restore the integrity of the Howard County charter and to restore citizens' rights without removing all the members of the Howard County Council and identifying candidates who promise to restore the citizens' rights to the charter and correct the changes executed by Charles C. Feaga, C. Vernon Gray and the late Ruth Keeton, along with a score of followers and local lawyers.

During the 1996 charter review, Mr. Feaga appointed members and asked them to remove all referendum rights in regard to zoning actions.

Mr. Gray asked his appointees to destroy or cripple the citizens' right to amend the charter by referendum and to remove the language that restricted financial actions.

Council Chairman Dennis Schrader asked his appointees to remove any language that expressed any rights for county employees.

Mary Lorsung's silence is not acceptable. It is never easy being a minority member, but that cannot excuse her actions in an office of public trust.

I was a minority member of the County Council from 1970-1974, but I was not silent.

My first act was to force the removal of James Rouse's representative from his private office inside the Planning and Zoning Department.

Next, I told each lawyer as they came and requested a private meeting on zoning matters that "there will be no meetings outside the public hearing office, and there will be no private meetings during this term of office."

I recently had Mr. Schrader tell me that he could not act on my request to clarify the language in the new mixed use zoning classification. He responded, "I cannot do that because I am a member of the zoning board."

During my term, I frequently told the council chairman that the zoning board would not convene until the council had completed its responsibilities.

You may have noted in the press that the current Rouse Co. chairman has been able to make the board members respond to his pleasure over the strong objections of the community leaders.

James M. Holway

Ellicott City

The writer is a former Howard County Council member who served on the charter writing board.

Process worked at Glenwood Middle

It is with great pleasure and appreciation that I write this on behalf of the Glenwood Middle School renovation committee.

With the adoption of the fiscal year 1999 capital budget, funds are in place for the long-sought renovation to our 30-year-old facility.

We are grateful to the Howard County Board of Education for hearing our concerns and acting on them, to the central office staff for working with us on planning a renovation, and to county and state officials who approved the funding.

Over the 27 months it took to plan and lobby for a renovation, we discovered the intricacies of the capital budget process.

Several factors may have contributed to the success of our project; working closely with the central office staff, strong community support and consistently supporting the education department's budget requests. Our community attended 11 public hearings, providing testimony to support our renovation.

For everyone who believes that a well-educated population serves the community at large, not just families with children, it's important to stay involved in the process of supporting education budget requests at every opportunity.

Terry Chaconas

Woodbine

The writer is chairman of the Glenwood Middle School renovation committee.

Pub Date: 6/14/98

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