POSITION ON 'LAYOFFS' GIVEN BY CANDIDATE
From: Charles Ecker
In the Wednesday, Oct.17, edition of The Howard County Sun there was an article about the Fire Fighters Union endorsement for county executive.
The Fire Fighters endorsed my opponent and stated that I "actively sought" the endorsement. To set the record straight, I did call Mr. Kelly, the Fire Fighters' president, and indicated that I would like to meet with him, the officers, and/or the general membership, if they so desired. He indicated he would be in touch with me.
Mr. Kelly has not contacted me. They made their endorsement without discussing anything with me.
The article on the 17th also indicated the reason they did not endorse me was because I was talking "layoffs." I have never said I was going to "lay off" any merit system employees.
What I said was that I believed the budget had grown too much both in dollars (an 88% increase in four years of this administration) and in people (40% increase in county government, approximately 550, at a cost of about $22,000,000, $.44 of the $2.45 property tax rate).
The only areas that I have indicated a definite reduction in personnel was in the county executive's and county administrator's budgets.
I have also repeated a number of times, any reduction will be handled through attrition.
I am a great believer in involving people. Therefore, county employees will be involved in reviewing areas and making recommendations to me concerning if a department has the right amount of people, too few, or too many.
Editor's note: The writer is the Republican candidate for Howard County executive in the November general election.
HOWARD SUN SHOULD BE INFORMING READERS
From: Nina Mathews
"Voter interest appears to be nowhere" (from photo, "Voters contentment troubles candidates"). It appears that the newspapers are trying to keep the status quo. The public is satisfied? That's not what I hear. No issues?
Where's The Howard County Sun?
The Oct. 7 Sunday Sun reports that, according to the Columbia-based Mason-Dixon firm, "the top five issues (in Howard County) are growth, taxes, growth, taxes and growth."
Tell us about these issues. That's what newspapers are for.
SAVE THE SEVENTH FOR OUR STUDENTS
From: Jeanette Kissel
The seventh-period lunch option at Centennial High School is a creative way to allow students to fulfill their needs for a seventh class. The administration, staff and students at Centennial High School should be commended for implementing this program.
One goal of any modern educational system should be to encourage this creative sort of problem solving.
The new state requirements for additional courses limits students' curriculum choices. An optional seventh-period class has allowed those students who chose to continue to accommodate a broad mixture of academic and fine arts subjects to better prepare them for their future. That the students and faculty are willing to use this time for additional classes at no additional cost to the taxpayer should be applauded.
We are showing our children a preference for mediocrity if we allow the administration to abolish this very successful 13-year program. Students wishing to sacrifice their lunch time to take more classes is a problem every school system should be happy to have.
The two arguments posed by Mrs. Karen Campbell (poor nutrition) and Dr.
Daniel Jett (large class sizes) are weak and easily refuted:
* Lunch may be eaten at school, ar as my daughter does, at 2:30 in the afternoon when she comes home from school. She has a late lunch that goes well with our late dinner.
* Large class sizes can be a real problem at an elementary school level, but high school students need to be prepared for the 400 or more classes they will face in the colleges and universities. An increase of approximately 2.2 students per class is hardly significant in this light.
Instead of taking away the options that Wilde Lake and Centennial have given their students, other schools should be encouraged to set up creative programs to meet their student needs.
I hope you will reconsider your seventh period decision as this is a step backward for education not a step forward toward a better Howard County school system in the year 2000.
FARMLAND SUBSIDIES ARE WASTED MONEY
From: Thomas H. Hartman
Even as the county budget goes down the porcelain facility, the County Council is preparing to spend $5.7 million on the development rights to 951 acres of farmland. While the council calls this amount "total purchase price over 30 years," the total price including interest will be closer to $20 million.
(The council no longer publishes the true total cost since I pointed out that the then-goal of 20,000 acres would cost nearly a half billion dollars. The goal is now 30,000 acres.)