Hiring process for CA president betrays visionI...

Hiring process for CA president betrays vision

I am deeply saddened by the way the Columbia Council has sabotaged the hiring process of CA's next president. The process worked fairly well until five council members ignored the recommendations of staff, the citizens committee and the community forum ("Behind-scenes effort for naught," Jan. 19).


These five council members ignored their primary responsibility: to listen to the constituents they represent and act in accordance with their wishes.

I am still in a state of shock as to how five members of the council allowed their extraneous personal biases to subject Columbia's residents to additional negative publicity and to a lawsuit that could result in the association unnecessarily having to pay attorney's fees and perhaps an enormous award or settlement.


It is apparent that these five members of the council learned absolutely nothing from the Deborah O. McCarty debacle.

I hope that the five members of the Columbia Council who have been playing racial politics with this position realize that it is time to stop playing childish games and think only about the best interest of the entire Columbia community.

They have turned James Rouse's dream of inclusiveness for this city into a nightmare.

I, therefore, demand that the five council representatives who ignored the community's wishes -- Barbara Russell, Robert Conners, Vincent Marando, Adam Rich and Cecilia Januszkiewicz immediately resign from their posts on the Columbia Council.

Further, before those resignations become effective, I demand that the entire council write Michael D. Letcher a letter of apology and offer him the position of CA president.

Harry Dunbar


The writer is a former Columbia Council representative from Oakland Mills.


Horse center managers deserve an apology

My family was greatly pleased that the Columbia Association made the decision to continue the operation of the Columbia Horse Center as an equine facility under new management. We were involved with the center for many years and feel it is an asset to the Columbia community.

However, I was surprised at the terms of the horse center lease ("Horse center lease terms are revealed," Jan. 17).

The previous lessors and managers took the blame for CA's horse center losses, although they established the Columbia Horse Center equestrian program as one of the finest in the Baltimore-Washington area. We now learn that the association's losses had little to do with the lessors or the management.

We also see that CA virtually ignored capital improvements for the facility for 10 years, guaranteeing that the facility would not be in the same condition when the CA took the facility over again, despite the many thousands of dollars spent by the lessors on its maintenance.

We wish the Columbia Horse Center and the new management much success. But we feel that CA owes the previous lessors and managers an apology.


Neal T. Primm


In firing coach, board just followed the law

I would like to clarify my role in the recent school board decision concerning the boys varsity basketball coach at Howard High School.

On Dec. 11, along with two other board members, I voted to appoint Greg Smith coach, because we concluded that he had a legal entitlement to the position.

The basis for this decision was a provision of the Maryland code which states that we have to hire people who work in Howard County schools to coach if they are acceptable.


The board, by majority vote, determined that Mr. Smith was acceptable ("Howard situation near resolution," Dec. 13).

I realized that the students would be upset, but I felt compelled by law to make the decision I did, even though there would be unfortunate disruptions.

On Dec. 12, Mr. Smith decided to step down as coach, because that was in the best interests of the students.

The board members were polled to see if his decision was acceptable, and it was.

While I understand that parents and students were upset at losing a coach they liked, it is one of my responsibilities to uphold the law. The oath of office I took states that I am to uphold the constitution and the laws of Maryland.

I can't expect students and staff to follow the rules that I establish as a board member if I do not uphold the law because doing so is too difficult.


Laura Waters


Senior communities enhance the landscape

The proposal to build an active senior community in Howard County is being questioned by neighbors who are afraid their property values will decrease ("Neighbors balk at plan for houses," Jan. 7).

Their fear seems to be that an active senior community of $200,000 homes would reflect poorly on their $350,000 homes.

I have not reached the age at which I would live in a senior community. However I have toured quite a few. They are beautiful. Lawns are maintained and community associations handle covenants.


I have also visited many new communities of $350,000 homes. Basketball hoops, skateboards left in streets and toys left in the yards are commonplace. This does not help the community's appearance.

When I am ready to choose a new community, relocating near an active senior community will be a pleasure.

I think everyone needs to realize that each stage of a person's life is very different. One day, those living in the $350,000 homes will also be choosing another way of life.

Kathie Figallo


Higher education needs consistent investment


The headline and tone of The Sun's article on Gov. Parris N. Glendening's budget proposal makes higher education seem like a luxury tax instead of the foundation it should be -- and is in nearby states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina ("'Aggressive' state budget favors higher education," Jan. 17).

Describing the governor's 9 percent funding increase as an act that "plunges ahead" or "stubbornly stays the course" not only characterizes his budget as reckless, but negates The Sun's own calls for a long-term, regular investment in Maryland's higher education system.

I realize news reporters aren't beholden to editorial writers, but can we get a little balance during the legislative session? Does The Sun still stand by its advocacy?

It's taken a long time to recover from the deep cuts to higher education that occurred during the recession of the early 1990s.

Let's not undo that momentum, or perpetuate Maryland's historically short-sighted view of public higher education's real benefits and costs.

John Fritz



Sun buried recount results favoring Bush

On Jan. 15, The Sun ran a small article entitled "Costs for Fla. recounts, lawsuits exceed $3 million."

Paragraph three of that abbreviated item mentioned that, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post, the 10,600 previously uncounted ballots in Miami-Dade County had been reviewed and President George W. Bush gained six votes over Al Gore.

Nothing in the article's headline or lead gave any indication of this fact.

If the vote count's outcome had been reversed, I wonder if The Sun would have handled this the same way. Somehow, I think not.


Michael Ries


Chavez mistreated nominees, refugees

Tony Snow's column on the Linda Chavez debacle ("Deserting Chavez showed weakness," Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 16) was so full of ad hominem attacks, faulty logic and innuendo, that there is hardly a sentence that does not raise serious questions about Mr. Snow's ability to present and sustain an intelligent argument.

Mr. Snow makes reference to a "snitchy Chavez neighbor" who "assailed" Ms. Chavez for helping a Guatemalan refugee.


The neighbor was approached by FBI agents who questioned her about Ms. Chavez as part of the standard background check for those who seek a high government post or a security clearance.

The neighbor simply told the truth: that she had employed a woman who lived with Ms. Chavez.

To have failed to reveal this information would have undoubtedly been a lie of omission and might have landed that neighbor in serious legal difficulties.

Mr. Snow fails to mention that in the early 1990s, Ms. Chavez used her columns to attack a nominee of President Clinton's for attorney general for having failed to pay the social security taxes of a live-in nanny.

Ms. Chavez took great delight in making things very difficult for some of Mr. Clinton's Cabinet nominees and helped establish a precedent that Cabinet nominees have to be squeaky-clean.

Having held others to this high standard, Ms. Chavez should have been prepared to meet it her herself. Or, to amend a cliche, those who throw stones shouldn't subsequently move into glass houses.


In the 1980s the Reagan administration, in which Ms. Chavez served, prosecuted and jailed members of the sanctuary movement and provided aid and training to Central American military forces responsible for brutal massacres and scorched-earth tactics in El Salvador and Guatemala.

Thousands of members of the sanctuary movement bravely risked jail and government harassment for providing shelter to Central American refugees and for advocating that other Americans do the same thing.

What I find reprehensible about Ms. Chavez is that she proudly served in an administration that advocated policies that created so many Central American refugees and to my knowledge, never spoke out against that administration's prosecution of members of the sanctuary movement.

Subsequently she was willing to provide shelter to a refugee; yet the administration she served in jailed Americans for doing much the same thing.

Hypocrisy, indeed,

Marco Antonio Ribeiro