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School board agrees to modify its rules for Listening Post

Howard County Board of Education members have agreed to modify the Listening Post portions of their twice-monthly meetings and to continue discussing ways to improve them.

Beginning with the meeting Thursday, the board will broaden topics that community members can bring up at Listening Post, which is a time set aside before each open board meeting for residents to speak.

People will be able to speak about any item of concern, even if it is on the meeting agenda. For as many years as some board members can remember, speakers have been restricted from broaching topics slated to be discussed at a meeting.

Bartlett's stated positions at forum spur debate

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett is no liberal, but a debate developed Monday over how his stand against the death penalty and his views on abortion at a candidates forum should be understood in light of his rock-solid conservative voting record.

Spectators at a forum Sept. 10 at a Columbia synagogue heard the conservative Republican congressman from Western Maryland's Sixth District say he is opposed to the death penalty, which puts him to the left of Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a liberal Democrat who supports it.

Bartlett, 74, a four-term incumbent, also appeared to say he is against outlawing abortion and added that he thought the Democrats' version of estate tax reform should have been allowed to come up for a vote in the House.

"I would have been very happy to vote on [the Democratic] bill," he said to Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who was seated next to Bartlett at Beth Shalom Congregation. Cardin, a Third District Democrat, had accused Republicans of pushing their version of the bill, which was vetoed by President Clinton, because they wanted a campaign issue more than they wanted reform. Bartlett voted against a Democratic attempt June 9 to amend the GOP bill.

Lisa Wright, Bartlett's media spokeswoman, said Monday that he is "a compassionate conservative" who opposes abortion, but he meant only that a constitutional amendment outlawing the procedure isn't practical.

Rouse won't play 'chicken' with CA, says Scavo

The day after he dangled $2 million in interest-free financing in front of the Columbia Association, Rouse Co. executive Alton J. Scavo said he doesn't think the association will take him up on what might or might not be his final offer on the Key property.

But if Columbia officials are trying to play a game of "chicken" - hoping Rouse will offer to pay for all of the recreational amenities in the future North Laurel development - they're going to lose, Scavo said.

"No way in heck that that will ever go anywhere," Scavo, senior vice president of Rouse, said Wednesday when asked about a scenario that several Columbia Council members have mentioned: Rouse would pay outright for the development's pool, tennis courts and parks, then allow the association to annex it.

"Why would you pay for all the improvements, and why would CA get the lien?" he said. "If we're going to put up all the money ... then we'll receive the reward. It doesn't make any sense.

"If we want to play 'chicken,' so to speak, ... I only suggest people look at the projects we've done all over the country ... then clearly come to the conclusion that, believe it or not, we've got some experience and pretty successful experience at that."

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