Teaching methods need attention
Harold Jackson's Feb. 14 column, "Smaller class size won't guarantee success," points out strong reasons for class size reduction, such as finding time for individual instruction, improving performance of ninth-graders on the high school assessment examination, and creating learning environments where students and teachers interact closely.
Each of these reasons is good enough for parents to want smaller classes, but if the student in a small class is to be denied success, as Mr. Jackson is suggesting could happen, we should not abolish the idea of small classes. We should correct the existing problem. If, as Mr. Jackson states, teachers remain shackled to old methods, it won't be the first time we have broken shackles.
James C. Adams
The writer is an adjunct faulty member of the Community College of Baltimore County.
Robey appropriately recognized Ecker
Re: "Executive makes bond-rating trip bipartisan affair by inviting Ecker" (Feb. 8).
Congratulations to Howard County Executive James Robey for recognizing the accomplishments of former County Executive Charles I. Ecker in making Howard County the envy of every jurisdiction in Maryland.
Under the leadership of Mr. Ecker and former councilmen Charles Feaga, Darrel Drown and Dennis R. Schrader, Howard County has become home to the best school system in the state, the region's leader in job growth, while simultaneously maintaining the region's lowest taxes rates and a AAA bond rating.
In asking Mr. Ecker to accompany him to meetings with New York investment houses, Mr. Robey recognized Mr. Ecker's accomplishments. I hope that Mr. Robey will continue Mr. Ecker's legacy of fiscal discipline and thoughtful governance. He and the new County Council have big shoes to fill.
Boyd K. Rutherford
Law change request was poor choice
What an amazing time to be alive. Bill Clinton gets off scot free and the Democrats keep on hammering. Now, we are being lead to believe that just because a lawyer didn't know the law, we are to change it to allow her to keep her duly elected seat.
It seems that attorney Sherae M. McNeal chose to run for Judge of the Orphans Court to replace my dear friend, Rosemary Ford. However, Ms. McNeal did not bother to find out if she was qualified to hold the seat under current state law.
She asked our elected leaders in Annapolis to pass a law allowing her to keep her seat.
Democrats seem to have a habit of changing the law to fit their needs. Del. James E. Malone, a career fire fighter, was not legally allowed to serve in the legislature four years ago, so the Democrats winked and turned the other way to pass a law allowing him to keep his seat. Now, Sherae M. McNeal has the same problem and wants a law passed to keep her seat.
Just look at what Mr. Malone did; he introduced a bill to provide better benefits at taxpayer expense for him and his fellow public service employees.
Democrats stand for lying, obstruction of justice and two systems of government -- one to handle us taxpayers, the other to allow people of power and influence to get there way.
David P. Maier
Council, expenses have rocky history
As far as ethics and personal expenses go, the previous Howard County Council was about as bad as they come. I checked its records several times after hearing stories raising serious concern. I asked the ethics board to review the situation. However, it refused to fulfill its responsibility. I would say that expenses should not be approved outside Maryland, unless the trip was requested by council members and related directly to Howard County government business.
The Howard County charter originally required that citizens approve any salary change. This language was changed when citizens were not reading their ballot questions carefully enough. The charter language reads that the council "salary shall be in full compensation for all services" (same in Baltimore and in Anne Arundel counties).
Allowance is made for expenses for government business to other Maryland counties.
During the Howard County Charter review in 1996, Charles Feaga asked the ethics committee chairman to recommend a change that would allow the council more freedom with county expense money. The recommendation was to add the word "nominal." Mr. Feaga and C. Vernon Gray placed this change on the ballot and citizens passed this clarification. Unfortunately, the legal meaning of "nominal expenses" is essentially zero.
Therefore, legally Mr. Gray has not been entitled to any big expenses. The current in-house dispute was in the range of personal expenses over 25 percent of his salary.
I believe that all the citizens would vote "no" to the present council action. For the previous council, including Mr. Gray, a substantial amount of their expense dollars had nothing to do with government business in other counties on behalf of Howard. You need to always elect at least one person whom you recognize will make the rest behave legally, in all their business on behalf of the citizens. Not a simple duty, I know.
James M. Holway
To GOP senators who turned vote
To U.S. senators John H. Chaffee, Susan Collins, James M. Jeffords, Olympia J. Snowe and Arlen Specter, this is from a lifelong, active Republican Party member concerning the recent impeachment hearings of William Jefferson Clinton in the Senate.
Informed and interested citizens all know that the above-named are the five Republican senators who voted to find Mr. Clinton not guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice, along with the totally partisan and shameless 45 Democratic senators who voted as a block to find Mr. Clinton not guilty.
These senators should be aware that by virtue of their vote of not guilty, they have now self-appointed themselves as probation agents for Mr. Clinton, and therefore should carefully monitor his conduct for the balance of his term.
Second, the Republican senators who voted to find Mr. Clinton not guilty got duped by the polls that show that about 70 percent of the eligible voting population approve of the president's job performance. About 65 percent of the eligible voting public doesn't vote and are uninformed or do not care to participate in the Democratic process.
Senators, you have abandoned your Republican base. I predict you will lose your next election, probably to the Democrats with whom you aligned yourself in this scandalous partisan impeachment vote.
Donald B. W. Messenger
Police chief responds to articles on patrols
There have been several articles in the newspapers recently regarding Howard County Executive James Robey and I disagreeing on how the police should patrol property owned by the Columbia Association.
Some of this property has been designated as "Title 19" under the Howard County Code. The "alleged" disagreement inaccurate.
The articles reported that Mr. Robey wanted limited police patrols of Columbia Association property, and I wanted unrestricted patrols. Mr. Robey and I have never disagreed on how to patrol Columbia Association property.
The Howard County police already have access to all parts of Howard County to investigate criminal activity. Title 19 does not prevent our investigation of crime or apprehension of criminal suspects. It simply establishes regulations for the use of parkland in the county. Mr. Robey and I agree completely that the priority for our police resources should be in communities to solve problems affecting our citizens instead of routinely enforcing park rules in designated open spaces.
The recent articles have caused unwarranted concern for citizens. I want to assure everyone that the police department and the county executive are working together to provide the best law enforcement services to our citizens.
G. Wayne Livesay
The writer is Howard County police chief.
I was concerned to read in The Sun that the Columbia Council may change its mind about asking Howard County police to patrol Columbia Association open space. I was very surprised that blanket approval had not been in place years ago.
Twenty years ago, while a member of the County Council, I sponsored the Title 19 legislation at CA's request. My clear and stated intent, as well as that of the Columbia Association, was to allow county police to be able to move in on any civil disturbance taking place on CA property without having to roust an appropriate CA official to personally enter a complaint.
It is important that we not exaggerate the increase in crime in Columbia, but it is clear that some has occurred. Given that, it puzzles me that the Columbia Council would seriously consider reversing its policy.
The "unfulfilled expectations" argument seems weak. I can't believe anyone would expect to find a heavy concentration of police on the many miles of CA pathways. But an occasional bike patrol would be some deterrence, just as an occasional police car making a loop in a remote Columbia cul-de-sac helps. If we need more police, let the Columbia Council push the county hard for its appropriate share of the budget.
The Sun editorial of Feb. 5 ("Policing Columbia") is right on: "If more officers are needed to fight crime anywhere in the county, they should be requested in the budget.
The qualify of life in Columbia continues to have great impact on the county's ability to attract business and residents."
If the Columbia Council determines to refuse town-wide coverage, it could at least allow individual village boards to make a "local" decision on that issue.
Pub Date: 2/21/99