A Feeble Attempt To End School Patronage

Readers write

February 10, 1991

From: Bill D. Burlison


Recent news accounts of the bill of (District 32) Delegates Elizabeth Smith and John Gary Jr. to require the publication of names of recipients of education patronage is good for a smile. It would be helpful if they would explain how their bill would change the current law, which presumably requires that this information be accessible to the public.

For those who have forgotten, "education patronage" is the popular term for the process by which state legislators buy votesfor the next election by passing out scholarship money to constituents. Unlike state scholarship funds, there are no scholastic or need requirements. This anachronistic practice was once a political plum inall states. Since 1978, however, it has continued only in Maryland.

On the positive side, the new proposal would indicate that the delegates may still be feeling some heat from the last election. However, their colleagues need not fear. The public continues oblivious to this boondoggle and Delegates Smith and Gary as well as the entire Anne Arundel Delegation and most of the rest of the General Assembly will continue to support the practice. Indeed, the funding will probablybe increased. After all, what is seven million dollars to our state?


From: James P. Edmiston

Past President

Elmhurst Improvement Association

I would like to comment on a letter by Mr. John Kovarik recently printed inyour column. His observation that the knowledge of the new BWI 15R departure procedure would not affect communities other than Elmhurst (most particularly his own Parke West) was certainly short-sighted.

While he correctly recapped the sordid procedural approval process of the right-hand turn procedure, he was incorrect in the fact that the right-hand turn of departing BWI jets would only affect Elmhurst (as he and other local residents have discovered).

As the past Elmhurst Improvement Association president, I have for several years tried to rally support from other communities to protest against the right-hand turn procedure. We organized several letter-writing campaigns to inform local, state and national representatives of our oppositionto this change of departure routes.

In July 1990, after being informed by Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) officials that it wasmaking the 15R procedure permanent, I organized a "town meeting" that was attended by several hundred people, including local home owners, politicians (remember, it was an election year) and representativesfrom 10 other affected communities, such as Parke West, the Provinces, Peach Orchard, Harmons Woods, etc. This and other meetings we heldwere widely reported in the press, to include The Anne Arundel County Sun, but no amount of public protest swayed the MAA from implementing the right-hand turn.

The result of MAA actions now inflicts upward of 95 decibels of painful noise pollution over Elmhurst and surrounding communities. We need to keep the pressure on the MAA to somehow mitigate and eventually reduce/eliminate this intrusion on our lives.

We must continue to pressure legislators such as Delegate Marsha G. Perry, who met with community representative last summer, and who promised to consider and introduce anti-noise legislation on our behalf (once the elections were over). We must also continue to attendand speak out at the public BWI Neighbors Committee and BWI Environment Committee meetings.

These state-sanctioned committees seem, atthis time, to be the only forum for us to make our views public. Youcan also support and contribute to the efforts of the Airport Coordinating Team (ACT), who have waged war (and lawsuits) with airport planning and the MAA. We must also realize that BWI, while a noise blight on our North County communities, represents a huge tax and revenue magnet for the rest of Maryland. With the slow-down in fees generatedby the Port of Baltimore, guess what other cargo "port" is now beingpushed in Maryland? BWI.

With the current fiscal situation facingthe state, do you think the legislators from outlying counties care about our noise problem when compared to the income coming in from BWI?

We can only keep up the public pressure and hope the airlines phase out their noisy Stage II aircraft for fuel- and noise-efficient Stage III airplanes. There is no easy answer to our problem, and we must all get involved if we want to see a change.


From: Douglas Arnold


Lastfall, we as a nation went through one of the most difficult processes known to modern democracy: the budget battle. As a result of the budget "reduction" plan, we have endured numerous tax increases (including a gas tax which has hit the average citizen and propelled the airline industry into further financial hardship), but the promise of the $42 billion in spending cuts left us feeling as if at least some ground was gained.

Then I read a recent article by Fred Barnes in the Reader's Digest that made me aware of this re-election scam set up to benefit Congress. Consider the following findings by Mr. Barnes:

* Congress claimed over $42 billion in savings. Reality: actual spending will increase by $111 billion, or a $480 increase for every citizen of this country.

* Welfare spending was increased by $22.6 billion.

* Congress claimed a $2 billion savings by dropping the Postal Service subsidy from the official budget. The subsidy was still paid, only off the budget. Real savings: $0. In fact, total obligations for off budget programs total over $6 trillion, or $67,000 for every household!

This deception is intolerable! How can we sit back and sanction the actions of the U.S. Congress in its reckless handling of our federal budget? As a resident of the 4th congressional district, I assert that Rep. Tom McMillen has not worked to be an influence to stop this charade. We deserve better.

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