An apology on initial school calendar voteOn...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

An apology on initial school calendar vote

On Feb. 10, as a member of the Board of Education of Carroll County, I voted in support of the 1999-2000 student calendar that directed Carroll students to attend school on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day.

I believed such a decision was in the best interest of Carroll County students.

I fully understood that my decision would not be unanimously received, but I firmly believed, based on numerous conversations with minority and nonminority members of our community, that Carroll students would be better served by attending school, by participating in appropriate exercises and observances, than by not attending school.

Unfortunately, I did not understand the pain and suffering such a decision would inflict on many students of our community.

Recent discussions have revealed to me that the board's decision insulted and alienated our citizenry.

It is my opinion that government should never knowingly hurt its citizens. If it does, immediate corrective action is required.

I have, therefore, changed my position and fully support Carroll students not attending classes on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day.

I am sorry for the damage my decision inflicted upon members of our community. I offer my sincerest apologies to all Carroll citizens.

C. Scott Stone, Hampstead

The writer is a member of the Carroll County Board of Education.

Bog turtle not getting its due

With the Feb. 7 article about the search for water in Hampstead, I can't help but wonder why the Carroll County commissioners and townspeople aren't counting each bog turtle as a blessing from heaven.

I am sure that in the past there were bog turtle sites that have since been developed in Hampstead.

Had the Endangered Species Act stopped development years ago due to those turtles (or for any other reason), traffic and water problems would not exist.

The article stated that the town "has had water problems for decades because of development." New highways bring more cars, more shopping centers, more housing developments, the need for more schools, all the while draining an overtaxed water supply.

Yet, the commissioners want the very source of what will create even more of these serious long-term problems in exchange for short-term relief in highway congestion.

If a bypass was viewed as necessary 30 years ago, why did those in charge allow development to occur at the rate that it did? Envision 30 years into the future what Hampstead will be like with a bypass.

My guess is that these will be seen as the "good old days." I doubt that the Westminster area would have developed into its crowded condition without a Route 140 around Main Street.

With too much traffic, people would have avoided the area. A bypass is not a solution, only a temporary bandage on a larger problem.

In a related article concerning the border between Carroll and Baltimore counties, it stated that Carroll is experiencing growth similar to what occurred in Baltimore County 40 years ago. Now Baltimore County is preserving its land.

Why must Carroll prove that "history repeats itself?"

James Clark, Finksburg

Springfield residents not apprised of rights

Although I am a member of the Patients Grievance Committee at Springfield Hospital Center, my thoughts expressed here have nothing to do with any specific business before that committee.

I am very much concerned about the process leading to the closing of Freedom House. It is more than obvious to me that the residents were not made fully aware of certain and significant patient rights.

These would include: knowing who is responsible for authorizing and performing procedures or treatments; what support services are available; participating in the decision-making process related to the plan of care; participating in the discussion of ethical issues if they arise; knowing the identity and professional status of a care giver; receiving prompt and reasonable response to questions; and expressing concerns regarding any of these rights in accordance with the grievance process.

These rights insure the integrity of a sound mental health system.

Without them, there can be no worthwhile therapy, and everyone loses, especially the most vulnerable mental health patients.

I would urge that the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have an open and candid review of the process that led to the decision to close Freedom House.

Michael Melsheimer, Westminster

Is it Smart Growth, or revenge?

For Carroll County residents, Smart Growth might as well be retitled "Glendening's revenge."

In the last election, my fellow Carroll countians elected no Democrats to local or state offices. Gov. Parris N. Glendening is angered. He is pulling every state project out of the county.

For example, the Police Training Center long planned for Sykesville is to be moved to an unnamed "urban location." The reasons given are questionable.

Somehow the center will cause air pollution in Carroll County but not in the urban location.

Somehow the center will cause traffic problems on Route 32 but not at the unnamed urban location.

Somehow the presence of police officers will be beneficial in the urban location but invisible in Carroll County.

Somehow officers riding to class will deter crime on the mean streets of the urban location.

Somehow the officers will not eat in Carroll County restaurants and fast-food places.

Somehow splitting the police training facility into two widely separated locations will not cause any extra cost or inconvenience.

Somehow the governor offers all this ridiculous rationale with a straight face.

But wait, there is more -- and worse. Three locations in Carroll need bypasses of state highways to skirt populated areas. Mr. Glendening wants to disapprove these based on Smart Growth.

Pardon me? How is it smarter to have commuters tied up every day in Manchester, Hampstead and Westminster? What noble purpose does it serve to take funding intended for a bypass and use it to increase traffic flow through the heart of a community? And since the growth served by these roads has already occurred (in Pennsylvania), how are any of the goals of Smart Growth met by maintaining these bottlenecks?

The good governor is angry with Carroll County. He is taking revenge. As a member of the minority in Carroll County who actually voted for him in the last election, I feel betrayed. After 45 years of voting Democratic, perhaps it is time for me to change.

One thing is sure: Any politician who pushes an agenda of "Smart Growth" will get the horse-laugh in the future. It has become a synonym for old-fashioned political patronage and worse. Mr. Glendening is governor of all the people, not just the ones who voted for him in the last election.

It is not proper for him to use Smart Growth as a cudgel to beat Carroll County into the Democratic column. These antics will, in fact, have the opposite effect.

John R. Culleton Jr., Sykesville

Pub Date: 2/21/99

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