Legislators Should Share Culpability with...


June 12, 1994

Legislators Should Share Culpability with Bereano

Approximately one month ago, at the end of the 1994 Maryland General Assembly session, tobacco lobbyist Bruce Bereano was quoted in the press as saying he was very pleased with the Assembly's treatment of proposed tobacco control legislation. There were 36 bills introduced but only one passed and it was greatly watered down. The media quoted Bereano as saying, "I very much wanted that bill in that version." It was obvious that whatever Bereano wanted from the General Assembly, Bereano got.

On May 26, a federal grand jury charged Bereano, the highest paid lobbyist in the state on several counts. The media reported that Bereano was charged with falsely billing clients and then using the money to make hidden campaign contributions to Maryland candidates through his employees. He also had his employees cash law firm checks and return the money to him, the indictment alleges. He then used the money to reimburse relatives who contributed to Bereano PAC, his own personal political action committee. The maximum penalty on each count is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. . . .

The influence-buying by Bereano and others in the Maryland General Assembly is a disgrace. It was interesting to read comments in the press by current General Assembly members, such as Senate President Mike Miller, that appeared to defend Bereano. It's unfortunate that some of the General Assembly members who have benefited from Bereano's largess for years and gave him anything he wanted in return were not indicted also. Let's hope the voters get rid of them in the fall elections.

John O'Hara


St. John's Lane School

I would like to express my gratitude to the Howard County school board for its decision not to redistrict St. John's Lane Elementary School. . . .

We realize that some opposition exists to the board's decision, but we would appeal to the board to remain resolute. . . . We read with horror a story in the May 8 edition of The Sun of efforts by a PTA which purports to represent us, but is acting in an underhanded way to deprive us of the benefits they intend to continue receiving.

We moved to Howard County from Baltimore County with our three elementary-school children in 1991, and have been extremely impressed with the principal and her staff. Even before we moved, we had been aware of the school's history of overcrowding, brought on by rapid growth in the area. Yvonne Harrison has done a remarkable job of managing an over-capacity school, and our children have benefited immensely from her leadership and the school's wonderful work.

That is why we were very happy to learn of the board's decision not to redistrict 112 children in the Town and Country area. We are certain that Waverly is an excellent school as well and that its principal and staff are quite competent. Our two boys will enter middle school in September, and our daughter will be without them next year. It was comforting to know that in a year in which she will not have her brothers to hang onto, she will have students and teachers with whom she has built friendships and good student-teacher relationships. . . .

If someone is to be redistricted, why not the families who are closest to Waverly?

Walinda P. West

Ellicott City

Potty Humor?

Your columnist, Kevin Thomas, apparently believes the converted outhouse in Oella is some sort of scatological joke that demeans the greater Ellicott City area.

Nothing could be further from its intent. May was Maryland Preservation month, a time to focus on the preservation of our heritage. It also marked the 10th anniversary of the introduction of public water and sewer and the beginning of the restoration of historic Oella. Here past and present meet, and new uses are found for old buildings. A building does not have to have a long pedigree to merit being saved. An outhouse is an important part of Americana, and suitable examples should be preserved.

This particular model is one of our luxury lines, a 4 foot-by-4 foot, one-holer only 50 years old. Mabel Moore and her family used this commodious facility for several decades and was pleased to learn that there was still life in the old privy as the Oella company turned it into the world's smallest real estate office. She cut the ribbon to usher her old convenience into a new life.

Your columnist must recognize that recycling and preservation are very politically correct, and we are really with it. You see, nothing goes to waste in Oella. Maybe if Mr. Thomas would come to Oella and see our new outhouse office, he would scent at least the aura of whimsy. If nothing more, he could at least get all the latest poop on the rehabilitation of this historic and beautiful community on the Patapsco.

Charles L. Wagandt


8, The writer is president of the Oella Co.

Teen-age Drinking

No more! So clearly the legislature and our citizens have said no more to alcohol-related accidents, suicides, rape and acts of family violence.

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