Ex-police chief right to answer Owens' chargesI...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Ex-police chief right to answer Owens' charges

I was happy to see that the former Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry Tolliver has decided to speak out in regard to accusations made by the Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens. For those of us who know and respect Mr. Tolliver as an effective and efficient police professional, it is impossible to believe that he misused his office for political purposes.

As a resident of Anne Arundel County and having known Mr. Tolliver for several years and trusting his ability to lead the county police, it was distressing to see his professional and personal integrity questioned by our new executive.

Unless Ms. Owens has the evidence to back up her statements that Mr. Tolliver subverted the law and misused his office, Mr. Tolliver has every right to expect an apology.

Ms. Owens needs to set the record straight. I recognize and support her right to select her own chief, but not to make accusations that she cannot or refuses to back up. The comments in your recent article by John Kurpjuweit, a member of the board of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, that "this all boils down to sour grapes," and "I'm sure that Tolliver would not have been doing any protesting had his friend John Gary won the election," adds insult to injury. Mr. Tolliver is "protesting" the unsubstantiated reason given by Ms. Owens for his termination, not the fact that he was terminated or that Mr. Gary lost.

It is time for Ms. Owens to offer evidence to support her accusations or apologize.

James E. Harvey

Gambrills

Funding is not behind county school woes

On Dec. 9, 1998, under the headline, "Schools post MSPAP gains," The Sun presented cost and student performance comparisons for schools in Anne Arundel and nearby counties.

Anne Arundel County's per-student expenditure essentially equaled Howard County's and was $450 (or 7 percent) more than Harford County's. Nonetheless, student performances were not comparable: Nearly 12 percent more Howard County students and 10 percent more Harford County students than Anne Arundel students achieved satisfactory MSPAP scores.

Based on The Sun's report, the performance contrasts cannot be attributed to funding differences. Nevertheless, Anne Arundel's superintendent of schools was quoted saying, "I'm disheartened because of the limited resources that have been imposed on us."

The failure, I would suggest, is attributable almost entirely to a disheartening lack of firm academic/teaching leadership and a focus on academic/teaching standards or quality by the superintendent and school board. Until those deficiencies are remedied, there can be no significant improvement in student performance. Until those deficiencies are corrected, providing the system additional funds will be ill-advised and wasteful of taxpayer dollars.

Frederick C. Guill

Crownsville

Mids savoring steak at taxpayers' expense?

I find it appalling that the U.S. Naval Academy has delegated the chefs such autonomy to serve a meal of steak/lobster at a cost of $100,000, according to an article in The Sun. With defense spending tight and many programs in the Navy on closely watched budgets, how can the academy spend so much?

I would like the opportunity to send my college student to have a steak/lobster dinner for only $5.25 (midshipman's daily meal allowance). Maybe my wife and I could come by. We'd gladly pay $5.25 per person. How can anyone justify this at taxpayer expense?

Warden Bailey

Severna Park

Parents can fix their kids' lunch

The free-for-all "meal plan" for schools is about the most stupid proposal I've heard.

It is unbelievable that a 6- to 18-year-old student hasn't got the knowledge or talent to prepare a couple of bagels with cream cheese, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a couple sticky buns, Pop Tarts, fruit along with a container of fresh orange, apple or grapefruit juice. It takes all of three ot four minutes and can even be prepared the previous night.

Low-income household students are the ones who need help, not two-income, $200,000 homeowners with two new cars and not enough time to prepare their child a take-to-school snack.

Wake up, people. Start being parents. Let the teachers get back to teaching.

Norman L. Atkinson

Glen Burnie

Like neighborhood before you buy there

I read Michael Olesker's column about the family who built their home on Oella Avenue and are now complaining about the smell of goats coming from their neighbor's yard.

I find it hard to believe that the Holdens, while buying their property and then building a home on it, never noticed their neighbor's property or goats.

These people seem to be in the same group as those who buy homes in Western Maryland and then want to get rid of the bears. Or the people around Frederick who want destroyed all the vultures that have been there for at least 100 years. Or people who build houses in areas populated with deer, and then want them destroyed because the deer are eating their shrubbery. The list goes on.

If an area has something that is going to make my life miserable, I would certainly not move there. Consideration for others and animals seems to be lacking.

When people move to a new area, they are basically "intruders." If they can't adjust to the environment or the people, they should not move there.

Janet Paul

Pasadena

GOP on impeachment: Send in the clowns

While reading the Opinion * Commentary page on Jan. 7, I found myself agreeing with the sentiment of Sandy Grady that the sex trial of a president may be a long, brutish, bickering porn show.

The Clinton haters have driven impeachment to the point of no return, the rest of the country be damned.

The 13 persecutors from the House Judiciary Committee have already spread their poison and rancor into the chambers of the U.S. Senate. The House has turned the impeachment into a farce and a sham.

Henry Hyde is, of course, a hypocrite and liar.

I distinctly remember his saying that there cannot be an impeachment without bipartisanship. I don't remember more than five very conservative Democrats voting "yes."

I just hope the senators do not become shills, pawns and lackeys of the crazy right.

The sensible segment of the country will carefully scrutinize the actions of the Senate Republicans. If there is even one whiff of unfairness to the president, the Republicans will have awakened a sleeping giant and will feel the wrath in 2000.

Instead of sending the country statesmen, the Republicans sent in the clowns.

Marlene Berg

Glen Burnie

On racetrack: moorhens, rude fans are concerns

There has been a lot of talk about how an auto racetrack would have a negative impact on the people of Pasadena. I agree, but here's one more thing to factor: the impact on wildlife.

If the Maryland Port Administration puts a racetrack on its waterfront Pasadena site, the loud noise and bright lights would adversely affect the wildlife at the neighboring Swan Creek wetlands, which the port pledged to protect in 1993.

In its wildlife database, the state has a breeding record at Swan Creek for the "common moorhen," designated a "species in need of protection" in Maryland. But I doubt moorhens will be breeding there much longer once racing engines rev up and those stadium spotlights switch on.

I also recently spotted a pair of red-shouldered hawks in the woods near the proposed track site. These are "forest interior dwelling species" that the state requires private landowners to protect in Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas, and encourages them to protect elsewhere.

Is the state's port agency exempt from these rules?

When the people of northeastern Anne Arundel County agreed to let the Pasadena site be used for dredge disposal, the state signed a commitment to protect Swan Creek and its wildlife.

I don't think placing a massive source of noise, light, traffic and crowds next to Swan Creek fulfills that commitment.

If the state is not going to live up to its promises, why should we? If the Maryland Port Administration gives in to "racetrack fever," we will lose our wildlife.

Michael L. Stanley

Pasadena

I have lived in Riviera Beach for 22 years. We are probably the oldest and largest community affected by the racetrack. I attended the meeting of the Land Use Advisory Committee on Jan. 5. It is a shame that the most of the race fans -- I am not referring to all of the fans -- who attended had to act in such a rude, disruptive manner.

They did not wish to listen to anyone who did not "back the track," as the stickers they wore stated. I wonder why the residents of the communities closest to the track did not "boo" their speakers? I can tell you why: Because we were there to state our opinion on this matter. We were not there to start trouble. We have lived in our communities very quietly until the racetrack came along and we have as much right to state our opinions as they.

I want to thank state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno; Dels. Joan Cadden, John R. Leopold and Mary Rosso and Anne Arundel County Councilwoman A. Shirley Murphy for organizing this public hearing and also for putting up with the rudeness and abuse.

The Anne Arundel County police also deserve a pat on the back for keeping order. I also salute County Executive Janet S. Owens, because she has the backbone to stand up for what she believes is right for all concerned. Last but not least, I would like to thank Marcia Drenzyk, a private citizen, for caring enough to take on the job of chairing Citizens Against the Racing Stadium Site. She has worked tirelessly for the communities involved and has nothing to gain but our sincere thanks.

Cass Gorski

Pasadena

Pub Date: 1/24/99

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