Unsubstantiated Opinions About PendergrassRegarding Kevin...


January 03, 1993

Unsubstantiated Opinions About Pendergrass

Regarding Kevin Thomas' column about the election of council member Shane Pendergrass to council chairperson (Dec. it seems that some men around the county government have fed him unsubstantiated opinions about how council chairperson Pendergrass would operate as chair.

Some men still do not like to share power with women, do they Kevin? By the way, Shane Pendergrass has served as chair before -- twice -- did you know that? Did you know, for example, that as chair, she shared her authority and responsibility by delegating assignments to other council members in areas where she thought they might be particularly interested? . . . As far as County Executive Charles Ecker's response, which Kevin Thomas described as not "effusive," why would Thomas expect more than what Ecker said? . . .

As far as the "infamous Coke caper," as Thomas describes it, I refrained from writing at that time when Thomas criticized Pendergrass for questioning why she was not informed of the possible location of a major manufacturer in her district and for criticizing the "closed" process to waive $5 million for water and sewer hook-up to benefit Coke.

I believe she was absolutely correct in both instances and not only represented her district constituents, but also Howard County citizens as a whole when she attempted to "open" the "closed" actions of the governor and the county executive.

This newspaper was part of an effort to force public bodies to hold all of their meetings in public, but when the first instance occurs where the public should have been involved, your overzealous criticism of Shane Pendergrass put blinders on your eyes. . . .

Kevin, "you just don't get it."

Angela M. Beltram

Ellicott City

The writer is a former Howard County councilwoman.

Gray's Phone Bills

When it comes to turning an issue on its head, no one tops the opinion writers at The Baltimore Sun. Your Dec. 7 editorial, "Gray's Phone Bill a Phony Issue," seeks to divert attention from Councilman Gray's excessive expense billings by suggesting that Ellicott City Councilman Darrel Drown may not be working hard enough, since he doesn't seem to charge the taxpayers enough. Stunning.

Those of us who pay our own telephone bills, restaurant tabs and parking chits appreciate the restraint of Republican Councilman Charles Feaga, who told The Sun that, like Drown, he didn't think it was appropriate to bill the taxpayers for meals. "You have to eat anyway," he said, "and I don't think that it's fair for the county to pay for that."

What a radical idea. Drown and Feaga work every bit as hard as their Democrat colleagues, they just don't bill the taxpayers for every morsel they consume. . . . A cellular phone bill of $4,606.94 over a 10-month period is extraordinarily high. This amounts to an average charge of $460.69 a month. As the owner of a car phone (without an expense account), I find it hard to believe that it would be possible to accumulate charges of that multitude. And the council Democrats' home phone charges are a bit of a mystery as well.

They can't be calling their constituents long distance? What do these charges represent? A lot can be learned by examining the chart accompanying the article that inspired the Sun's editorial. It illustrates a difference in attitude that carries over to each councilman's philosophy of government. The term limits opposed by council Democrats were endorsed by a whopping 78 percent majority of Howard County's citizens. That is a message no elected official can ignore.

Carol A. Arscott

Ellicott City

The writer is a former chairwoman of the Howard County Republican Central Committee.

Bike Helmet Law Ignored

I am writing in regard to the bicycle helmet law in Howard County. The law basically states that anyone under 16 years old has to wear a helmet while riding a bike. The idea behind this law is a good one, but the law itself doesn't work.

The main problem with this law is that it is not enforced. A spokesman for the Howard County Police Department said that only one or two of the 300 police officers pay attention to this law. In the first 16 months of this law, only 30 citations have been distributed.

This is a county of 200,000. I have seen more than 30 people riding their bikes without helmets and I used to not wear one much either. I do now, since I got more into biking. Another example of the law not being enforced is that I rode my bike in front of a police car at an intersection. I wasn't wearing a helmet and nothing happened. I had just turned 15, and I look my age.

Not only do people need to wear their helmets, but people need to learn how to bike safely. Simply forcing or trying to force helmets on kids isn't good enough. By learning safe bicycling, many accidents can be avoided.

Josh Raisler Cohn

Ellicott City

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