From: John Baxter
County Executive Bob Neall is faced with many tough decisions in his effort to finalize the next county budget. He has pledged a zero-growth budget, and he wants to keep the county out of debt. To that end, he has asked all county department heads to be frugal when they submit their budgets to him.
One department head, Sheriff Robert Pepersack, seems to have the best idea yet. The sheriff wants to take over the transportation of prisoners, a job that was taken away from the former sheriff, with no increase in cost to the taxpayers. He is also going to increase the manpower of the Sheriff's Department, againwith no increased cost to the taxpayers.
To accomplish all this he is asking for the amount of last year's allocation to Wackenhut Security Services, the rent-a-cops who now drive the prisoners around. Seems to me that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We get more services for the same money and get rid of a profit-making company that is an unnecessary drain on the county budget.
I support Sheriff Pepersack's idea and hope that the county executive and the County Council will as well.
MORE FOR THE MONEY
From: Karin Miller
During last year's elections, most of the politicians talked about controlling spending and waste (especially the incumbents who were doing the wasting) and "if re-elected . . . blah, blah, blah." Thank goodness we saw through all the bull and got rid of the worst of them and gave some new faces a chance.
Now it's time that they do what they said they were going to do. But most have already saidthat they can't fulfill the promises because of budget constraints -- the old "It's not my fault" line again.
But one newly elected department head is chomping at the bit to do exactly what he said he was going to do and for not one extra penny of the taxpayer's money.
Sheriff Pepersack is proposing a no-growth budget that will give thetaxpayers more services for the same tax dollars by eliminating Wackenhut security guards, who do nothing but transport prisoners for a profit, absorbing their contract dollars and providing us with more law enforcement. Now isn't that what we elected him to do? How refreshing.
I support Sheriff Pepersack and his budget proposals and I askthe county executive and the County Council to do so as well.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK
From: Marilyn D. Scott
I want to commend The Anne Arundel County Sun for its excellent coverage of issues impacting on the African-American community. I have read news stories in your paper that simply have been excellent.
Not only is your coverage balanced, but it is in-depth. Your reporters do not just report what government officials are saying; they present all sides toan issue. When issues involving the police occur, both law-enforcement officials and citizens views are represented.
I read your papereveryday. I am delighted that you exist. Every community should be as fortunate as we are to have a paper of your caliber. Your reportingon government, education and your editorial columns are second to none. Keep up the good work and your circulation will continue to grow.
From: James F. Fretterd
Maryland Army National Guard
As members of the Guard and Reserve begin returning home from Operation Desert Storm, I feel very thankful for the tremendous support that employers, both public and private sector, and civic groups have given our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
The outpouring of public support was astounding -- a key factor, I believe, in the coalition's great victory in the Persian Gulf. Also, I thank the media for its fair coverage of the war and its support of our troops and their families.
Once the members of the Maryland National Guard, along with all the others in the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Naval and Coast Guard Reserve, return to their communities throughout the state, I hope that their adjustment to civilian life is easy and comfortable. Our employers will play a large rolein this transition.
Although veterans' re-employment rights are part of federal law, I hope that our employers will feel a moral obligation to treat our returning troops in a fair and equitable manner.
Many Maryland corporations and local governments like Baltimore City and Prince George's County, as well as our own state government, voluntarily extended health benefits and/or paid the difference betweena person's civilian end military pay during Operation Desert Storm. Consequently, I feel very confident that the men and women who servedso bravely in the Persian Gulf will be well received by their formeremployers.