Sting targets had convictions for drunken drivingI...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Sting targets had convictions for drunken driving

I read your editorial on Jan. 13 on the Howard County sting operation ("Driving without a license"). I appreciated your article on Jan. 8 and the subsequent editorial, but all of the people ordered in were previously convicted of a drunken driving offense that caused the suspension of their driver's licenses.

They were ordered to see their monitor of the Drinking Driver Monitor Program, part of the state Division of Parole and Probation. The public should know that a good percentage of the probationers caught for driving while suspended -- and therefore breaking the law and violating their probation -- may be drinking and driving again.

This is a definite public safety threat. This is why these stings are necessary.

Frank Turban

Ellicott City

The writer is Monitor II for the Drinking Driver Monitor Program of the state Division of Parole and Probation.

Some thoughts on CA, village boards

As the Columbia Council debates the relationships between the Columbia Association and the village associations, here is some food for thought:

Should CA control the village associations? CA cannot. The village associations are independent, separately incorporated entities.

Should CA control the management of the facilities housing the village associations? CA owns the facilities and can, therefore, replace the village associations as the active managers of the facilities. But why would CA want to? For 30-some years, the village associations have successfully managed, by any measure, these facilities.

Should CA require a common chart of accounts for the village associations? CA cannot because of the village associations' legal independence. However, it is not unreasonable that there actually be a common chart of accounts, which the village associations agreed to more than a year ago. Read the fiscal year '99 CA proposed budget for this and other agreements reached, for example.

Should CA require specific internal controls? Once again, CA cannot. However, the boards of the village associations should adopt as stringent internal controls to protect against theft and loss as are reasonably feasible (and which most village associations have already done).

Should CA control village association budgets? Once again, CA cannot. In theory, CA could dictate how community association "grants" may be used. However, I am familiar with legal opinions asserting the rights of village associations as having the first claim on assessments.

Should CA control village association financial services? Ditto, ten times over.

Should CA require annual audits of the village associations? CA could, to the extent independence assessment issues are resolved. However, the boards of the village associations, in their fiduciary roles, should have been requiring audits anyway.

So where are the compelling interests to change? Is it a need to feed the Columbia Council's collective ego and thirst for power and control? Is the council somehow jealous of the village associations' independent successes?

The Columbia Council needs to recognize both the legal and historic precedents established in its relationships with the village associations, flush the "slush fund" and other sound-bite mentality, and begin behaving in a reasoned and mature manner to back up its rhetoric of desiring greater community involvement. Strong-arming engenders neither goodwill nor support.

Lanny J. Morrison

Columbia

The writer is former chairman of the Columbia Council.

A strong economy at families' expense

The good economy the president is taking credit for needs to be looked at from another viewpoint. We are told that the economy is better than ever. Every citizen of our country (especially the average and poor) should examine the total consequence of the value of more money in our pockets.

It takes at least two working in the family just to make ends meet. If this is true -- and it is -- we must then examine the process to see the end result. Two working in the family results in unsupervised children, crime, high drug use, sexual disease out of control, more divorce and so on.

We have a credit-card economy, keeping users in constant debt. Bankruptcy and foreclosures are up. Cardboard houses are for sale at $100,000-plus. Good jobs are going to foreign countries and replaced with part-time service jobs. Homelessness is up. Most disgusting is that some of our military personnel are on food stamps.

Since 1970, the cost of homes is up 700 percent; cars, 800 percent; rentals, 650 percent; food, 500 percent; clothing, 400 percent, and, yes, salaries are up 80 percent. But the dollar value has decreased by about 600 percent.

We took one step forward and six backward. Are you willing to sacrifice your children for the so-called "good" economy? It's the dollar value, stupid.

David A. Dilegge

Ellicott City

Let's make King's day a day for Lee, too

No one can deny that Martin Luther King Jr. was a great American. He fought and died to bring people together with equal justice for all. There is a national holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrating his birthday.

Some people resent the fact that the holiday is named Martin Luther King Jr. Day when no other holiday except Columbus Day is named after a person, including Presidents' Day, which was a consolidation of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays.

Wouldn't it be a great idea to bring people together rather than divide them to rename Dr. King's birthday celebration National Reconciliation Day and celebrate it as a joint remembrance of Robert E. Lee and Dr. King, whose birthdays are four days apart?

I am sure Dr. King would be proud knowing he contributed in one more way to bringing all the people together to promote equal justice for all.

Donald B. W. Messenger

Laurel

Leadership is needed on crime

The reaction by Columbia officials to the recent incidents of violent crime in that city, particularly the holdup of the Giant supermarket in Wilde Lake, was pathetic.

The published remarks of Columbia Association President Deborah O. McCarty ("Columbia is not an island") and by Wilde Lake CA representative Norma Rose ("I think we're already aware that we live in an urbanized area, and that we're not immune") shows no compassion and no plan of action.

We understand the facts of life in Columbia. We also understand that the statements attributed to these two people were surely taken out of context, but it would be more helpful to reach out to the victims on the one hand and announce a plan of attack on the other.

In other words, lead.

Elliott M. Simons

Columbia

As a Columbia resident for 26 years, I can state with a degree of accuracy that Columbians pride themselves as a concerned, gentile and law-abiding group.

Our strength lies in the fact that through diversity we have grown into one of the nation's premier communities. Our schools are the best in the state, a credit to parents who stay involved. Our neighborhoods are spotless. The lakes, parks and open space are immaculate. The level of concern is very high.

But in recent months, word got out that Columbia is an easy mark. The trusting, polite nature of the community is being exploited. We can only hope that our new Howard County executive will assign priority to eradicating this vermin with the same vigor that Columbia showed in electing James Robey.

Robert M. McDonough

Columbia

Pub Date: 1/24/99

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