NAACP: Praise for Owens, but not McMillanOn...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NAACP: Praise for Owens, but not McMillan

On behalf of the Anne Arundel County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, I would like to thank County Executive Janet S. Owens for vetoing the police hiring bill.

We would also like to thank her for her strong support of Carl O. Snowden, her intergovernmental relations specialist. Ms. Owens was correct in defending Mr. Snowden from partisan Republican attacks.

The NAACP, along with the United Black Clergy, Operation Respect and literally every major African American organization in the county, has expressed our opposition to another bill that was introduced before the Annapolis City Council by Alderman Herbert McMillan.

The NAACP will be joining with other citizens, black and white, in encouraging the Annapolis City Council to reject the so-called "loitering while black" bill.

The NAACP will continue to monitor our elected officials. We will develop score cards. When elected officials demonstrate a commitment to racial equality and employment opportunities, we will commend them. However, if in our opinion an elected official is attempting to polarize a community on race, we will condemn them.

As we enter the 21st century, we want to see all Americans enjoy their rights. Again, we thank Ms. Owens for what she has done and look forward to working with other elected officials.

Gerald G. Stansbury

Annapolis

The writer is president of the Anne Arundel County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Saving environment not a zoning goal?

Here we go again. Last time, it was "sewer creep." This time, it's "polluters welcome." Next time, it will be "zoning meltdown." And after that, it will be "permit speed-up."

The Anne Arundel County Council is being asked to quickly -- why quickly? -- revise the zoning code. The revisions were shelved during 1998 to avoid inflaming voters for good reason.

Here's one: Title 4, Subtitle 2-Performance Standards would be largely gutted. This has in the past required the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement to make sure proposed users of W-1, the industrial park zone, do not violate limits on vibration and noise, odors and fumes, bad air and dust, glare and heat, liquid and solid waste.

PACE says state and federal regulators can come in after the fact. This means the wimpy state Department of Environment. And it means citizens must initiate the effort.

PACE says its people don't have the expertise to handle this. That's correctable. PACE people are well-educated (if often wrong). They can be retrained to make the studies.

PACE says these environmental performance standards are "not a zoning issue." This was actually said and repeated by a couple of PACE staffers at a public briefing on Aug. 19.

Rather than abolish the limits, let's extend them to W-2 and W-3, the heavier industrial zones. Industries that don't like the limits can go elsewhere.

We have enough rubble dumps and ash heaps; Del. Mary Rosso, a real heroine, just saved us from an asphalt plant.

Anne Arundel needs clean, high-tech research and development firms paying high salaries. If Maryland becomes Silicon Valley East, we need to be part of it. This, too, should be a "zoning issue."

James A. Hoage

Severna Park

Don't treat U.S. flag with disrespect

The letter to the editor in The Sun in Anne Arundel on Aug. 29, "Flag-burning amendment would turn back clock," by an Anne Arundel County councilman was a cute lesson in history but fell far short of understanding what this old nation needs: respect, honor and patriotism, which made our nation what it is today.

From one ex-Marine and a father with two sons (both officers) in the military, when the "Stars and Stripes" play and "Old Glory" flies, I get to my feet and salute in deep reverent respect for the finest symbol of our great democracy.

This country provides ways and means for disputing and voicing opposition to many topics. What we should never do is condone desecration of the greatest symbol, not just a symbol, of our country, as the council member wrote.

The flag has and is a history lesson unto itself. Remembering all of the numerous events that built the flag through the years should demand that we never forget how it got to be the great symbol that it is. We should not treat it with disrespect.

John Glister

Severna Park

County employees responded in storm

The storm (tornado) that devastated our waterfront communities in Pasadena and Glen Burnie left many communities with flooded basements, severe property damage and debris strewn everywhere.

The county government's response was truly remarkable. It should be recognized for the endless hours put in to help clean-up our communities.

Many county employees were on the job, monitoring the pumping stations to limit sewage spillage into our creeks, and cutting and mulching for removal the numerous trees left in the rights of way. They did their utmost to remove what they could within the restrictions of county law.

County Executive Janet S. Owens, as well as county Councilwoman A. Shirley Murphy, state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno and delegates Joan Cadden and John R. Leopold joined me in a tour of some of the communities that were hit. My community of Silver Sands had never experienced such a terrible storm. We were very grateful for the concern and help.

Ms. Owens promised to look into possible grant funds for those who suffered damages and severe hardships of removal that could not be handled by clean-up crews. BGE responded to some of the concerns about limbs in the wires, and will work with the community to ensure better communication.

Again, thank you public works, utilities and all agencies who worked to help us in our time of need.

Mary Rosso

Annapolis

The writer represents the 31st Legislative District in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Glenwood seniors got their due

Just like a tree grows in Brooklyn, the senior citizens' spirit grows in Annapolis. Our senior citizens at Glenwood wanted a crab feast, and thanks to the people who remembered those who paved the way for them, they had a wonderful feast and a wonderful day.

Thank God for Sen. John C. Astle and delegates Michael E. Busch, Richard "Dick" D'Amato, Virginia P. Clagett and Annapolis Mayor Dean L. Johnson. They saw to it that our senior citizens had a day to remember.

The spirit continues to grow because of people and businesses such as Edward Legum, Lowe's Hotel, Coca-Cola, Graul's, Sam's Club, Cantler's Riverside Inn, Bay Ridge Spirits, Katcef Brothers, Inc., Lonnie Brown, The Reese Brothers and Red Hot and Blue. Also, Connie Turner contacted the many volunteers who helped make the day a success. Their contributions told the seniors that they are valued for their past contributions.

Thanks also to the Glenwood tenants who contributed and volunteered, such as Nick Farraro, Mr. Parnell "the music man" and the Glenwood Tenants Association, which will continue to hold events like this under the leadership of Eunice Best.

Of course, this crab feast had the blessing of Annapolis Housing Authority Director Patricia Croslan and senior director Renee Kneppar. I would be remiss if I did not thank our cooks, Harry Tyler and Sherman Offer.

Joseph "Zastro" Simms

Pasadena

SAT scores not as good as some say

It would appear that the Anne Arundel County Board of Education spin doctors were busy again. This time they were putting a positive spin on the average countywide SAT scores of this year's graduating class even though the scores were, at best, pitiful and have remained virtually unchanged in five years. It would also appear that The Sun uncritically accepted the data offered by Superintendent Carol S. Parham.

Both the average verbal and average math SAT scores moved within just a four-point spread between their minimum and maximum during that five year-period (verbal, 506-510; math, 504-508) with no trend developed in either.

Even the cited 26-point gain from the average combined score for 1993-94 only moved from 63.06 percent of the possible 1600 points to 65.69 percent.

Nonetheless, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education and superintendent of schools are crow as though something has been accomplished. Mediocrity is proudly spoken of by the school system's administration. Never mind the cost to taxpayers. Never mind the expectations of parents.

It could be valuable for The Sun to examine the effect policies of the State Board of Education on various school boards.One potential contributing factor for low SAT scores might be counterproductive policies and regulations at the state level.

Another might be the appallingly low academic standards and expectations of the state and county. One extraordinary example is the Anne Arundel County Board of Education policy 608.01 Section III, recently cited to me by county Board of Education President Carlesa R. Finney.

Under this policy, a student with high homework and quiz grades might pass a course even if he failed the final examination. The policy apparently states that the final examination shall constitute 20 percent of the student's grade. Homework, class participation and quizzes total 80 percent of the grade.

Should not a failing final examination grade earn a failing course grade? Should not the policy be modified to state that an "E" in a final examination will result in the student being awarded an "E" for the course and to receive no credit for the course? Might not such a change in policy drive some students to undertake the effort of actually learning the material and, as a result, perform better in examinations such as the SAT?

As long as the state and county maintainself-defeating policies, raising SAT scores will be a long uphill battle.

Frederick C. Guill

Crownsville

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