Wouldn't a Plymouth have done as well
Taxpayers should not be quick to condemn the new Baltimore city comptroller, Jacqueline McLean, for the purchase of a "lousy, little $19,000 car," as she so aptly described it. She did nothing illegal. It certainly is no more extravagant than the Ford Crown Victoria used by her predecessor, Hyman Pressman. Ms. McLean reminds us that the mayor, City Council president and city solicitor all have cars as part of the privilege of their positions.
Nonetheless, I am disappointed that an elected official who brings an air of positive change to her position as comptroller has failed to offer an example of frugality. In these times of fiscal austerity, a $9,000 Plymouth Sundance instead of a $19,000 Lincoln Mercury would send a message that the watchdog of the city's pocketbook is willing to sacrifice a little personal comfort to lead city agencies in practical budget cuts.
Perhaps Ms. McLean sees this "lousy $19,000" as a "drop in the bucket" in the grand scheme of the city budget. Technically, she's correct. However, some city employee who lost her $19,000 job just before Christmas might not see it that way.
When I read the statistics for Western High School's recent "report card," published by the Maryland School Performance Program, I was stunned to discover that the school was reported to have prepared only 69.8 percent of our 1991 graduates for college. I knew this was an incorrect profile of our students' achievement.
I inquired of the agency responsible for submitting this statistic and, after an investigation was conducted, was told that indeed an error had been made. The correct percentage of Western's 1991 seniors who were "college ready" is 97.3 percent, or 293 graduates. In addition, of those 293 graduates, 57 of them, or 18.9 percent, should have been classified as both "college ready" and "work ready."
I was also informed that since this is the first time the Maryland State Department of Education has published such data, a mechanism for publicly correcting faulty information has not yet been developed.
While I am keenly aware that corrections to the printed word rarely attract much attention, allowing the inaccurate data to remain unchallenged would do a grave disservice to Western's students and staff, all of whom worked diligently to achieve this exemplary 97.3 percent statistic.
Sandra L. Wighton
The writer is principal of Western High School.
Critical areas park
The decline of the Chesapeake Bay has not been the result of one catastrophic calamity. Rather it is being nibbled to death.
There was much hope that the Critical Area Law would reverse that syndrome. But the Dec. 4 decision by the Critical Area Commission endorsing the Department of Natural Resources' plan to develop a waterfront park at North Point State Park (formerly Black Marsh State Park) is a prime example of such nibbling.
The Critical Area Commission, in endorsing boat slips, dredging, amphitheaters, picnic pavilions, parking lots and a road through the very heart of the area, has set a bad precedent. It is doubtful that there will ever be a public natural park in the upper bay area close to large population centers. That is a pity.
Instead of restoring fountains and developing new facilities on the "footprint" of the ruins of the old Bay Shore Amusement Park, DNR should restore the wetlands and woodlands that were displaced. What a marvelous educational demonstration project that would be!
Milton Bates' Dec. 16 Other Voices column, "One point of light," was an accurate recounting of how the Indecco project in Southeast Baltimore, which houses 45 working, low-income elderly residents, came into being. The title was appropriate, suggesting that other worthwhile goals can be achieved when motivated people care enough to act. However, I have two quarrels.
First, the column overstated the extent of my participation in this effort. Second, deserving people who helped it reach fruition were unmentioned. Al Schindler, Donna Keck and Stan Campbell of the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, and Joel Lee, then with that agency, were critical to the venture's success. More than 150 such apartments are in place or planned under Baltimore city's current plan for the Partnership Rental Program. Trudy McFall, Nancy Rase and Barry Brown of the state agency all played vital roles. And Bob Tucker, Kyle Bressant, Debra Hettleman and Ian Barnes on the builder's team worked with devotion and dedication.
The writer is a builder.