From: Deborah Schultz
Your recent story on the Burleigh Manor open space intrusion case ("Children's treehouse to be axed," March 17) implied the county is being unreasonable because it won't accept any of the alternatives proposed by the home owners.
A picture of the tree house built in public open space holdings and the little boy who may lose his tree house because of the county regulation accompanied your story.
While it is hard to take a treasured possession away from a child, permitting such abuse of public open space takesa much more valuable and irreplaceable treasure away from all of us.The county open space requirements were passed in an effort to provide greenways, protect fragile areas, and preserve a portion of the county's rapidly disappearing wildlife habitat.
If everyone who owned a lot backing on county open space made use of that land by mowing and clearing vegetation, building a tree house, erecting a storage shed or putting a swing set on it, the real function of the open space would be lost.
Open space land is not there for the abutting individual property owner's personal use. The county's efforts to protect our open space should be applauded, not attacked.
TEENS DRIVE BY EXAMPLE
From: Jeff Lindon
There are two reasons teen-agers are not "safe" drivers.
First, most do not realize the seriousness of driving and, therefore, do not take as much care
whendriving as they should.
Second, the driver education program doesnot adequately prepare them for everyday situations. That must be learned from experience and teen-agers don't have much.
Until teen-agers get that experience, concerned adults can do the most by settinga good example. Parents cannot lay all the blame on the children fordriving poorly.
Editor's note: The writer is a sophomore at Centennial Lane High School.
A 'LESSON' FOR BELTRAM
From: Scott Miller
There she goes again, true to form, distorting what has been printed in the press ("Recession spelled," by Angela Beltram, April 7).
Ms. Beltram, you're in need of a history lesson, soI'll go slowly so you'll understand. The Democrats have controlled the House and Senate for a majority of the past 30 years. The president cannot spend one dollar without congressional approval. Unlike you,I am not dogmatic in my views! The president has been anything but aleader on domestic issues. He has foolishly made promises he could not keep. Unfortunately, most politicians do this.
For your information, I don't need any "tax and spend" Democrat to explain to me whata recession is. You see, I was once employed by local government andinsulated from the vicissitudes of the economy. I had my salary frozen in the mid-1970s due to a budget squeeze.
I left government service in 1978 and have been a Realtor since that time. The real estateindustry is usually hit first and, many times, the hardest in a recession, and many suffer unjustly due to our politicians' (Republican and Democrat alike) mismanagement of fiscal affairs, for which you bear some responsibility!
The recession here in Howard County was exacerbated due to the way Bill 43 was implemented -- which you voted for. Instead of approaching growth management logically, unemotionally and in a spirit of compromise, you and your friends chose to ignore reality and plodded full steam ahead with: "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up."
Thus, we in the housing industry, and many homeowners, suffered and paid a price far greater than that which I am asking of government employees. For the record, Ms. Beltram, I asked County Executive (Charles I.) Ecker to freeze salaries, not cut them! You've suggested that I should take a cut in my income. Where is your logic? Four more years of you in office would have accomplished your wish. If my income drops, shouldn't my taxes? If my property value drops, shouldn't my taxes? Who do you think pays government employees' salaries?
We are in a recession together, privateand public sector alike. We should share the burden together. You see, Ms. Beltram, there is nothing wrong or dishonorable about compromise. You just never learned that and this is why you no longer represent the Ellicott City area. And we are most grateful!
KEEP PRAYER OUT OF SCHOOL
From: Kenneth Stevens
While having no illusions about being among the majority on the matter of whether our county public schools should continue to include prayer at commencement ceremonies (April 7, "Readers write"), I am quite willing to stick my neck out again and say that I believe that such prayers shouldnot be continued.
These public school commencement ceremonies have agendas that are determined by public officials and/or employees and include many attendees (those graduating and their relatives) who don't miss a captive audience by much.