Care-Givers Not Eyeing HandoutsIn Dick Buczek's letter...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 19, 1994

Care-Givers Not Eyeing Handouts

In Dick Buczek's letter ("Child Care Subsidy," May 29), it is obvious that once again, the major point of financially supporting early childhood education has been missed.

I suspect that you visualize child care as a "change diapers, feed and play a little" type of involvement. It is much more than that. A large number of early-care providers are well-educated, with college degrees, and could be making considerably larger salaries (not to mention benefits) in other professions.

We have chosen to care for the children in our communities, because we know that this will make a difference in the world. We are not asking for a subsidy because we have chosen a low-paying job we enjoy, and wish the government to give us a "handout.". . . Parents cannot possibly cover the full cost of early childhood education, as you suggest, nor can we continue to subsidize it.

With the exception of Head Start, which targets only lower-income families, there is no government funding of early childhood education. This funding exists for every level of education from elementary to post-graduate. . . .

The most important years in a child's education are clearly foundation years, prior to age 3. Why is this not considered important for funding? Since we have been providing the subsidy from time immemorial, there has been no need for government funding. . . . Family child care makes a difference. We raise children who feel needed, who are nurturing toward one another, who know how to work well together in the most important group -- the family.

Wafa Sturdivant

Columbia

CDC Elections

Last year, I joined the Columbia Democratic Club in an effort to give support to candidates running for office in Howard County, and also to help promote the beliefs of the Democratic Party.

I am from the Eastern Shore and was actively involved in several campaigns in the 1992 presidential election. Despite my short time as a member in the CDC, I was nominated for the office of vice president in the recent CDC elections.

My opponent, Pearl Atkinson-Stewart, is a woman with 17 years of membership in the CDC, and therefore a longer history of political involvement than my own. Certainly, anyone would agree that Ms. Stewart would be the most qualified candidate based on her long membership in the CDC. Unfortunately, Ms. Stewart did not share with the audience her political experience that would qualify her for the position. Instead, Ms. Stewart chose to use her race, which is African-American, to justify . . . why she should be elected to the office of vice president.

Ms. Stewart, who is also a candidate for the House of Delegates in District 13A, used the color of her skin as her platform. I am a single mother of a young child, and have taught her to love and respect all people for their character and integrity. . . . What a shame that Ms. Stewart did not learn that lesson as well.

I lost the CDC election by only a few votes, and despite Ms. Stewart's obvious prejudice for the color of my skin, I believe that she was the most experienced choice and wish her well. Fortunately for me, I was able to discover something about Ms. Stewart's character and integrity before it was time to cast my vote in the September primary election.

Melody Higgins

Baltimore

The Defeat of the Ethics Bill

An ethics bill was introduced into the state legislative agenda again this season covering the campaign funds for the Howard County Council members. This has been a problem out of control in recent years.

The bill was not well drafted, but it was a start and it passed the legislature. Its intent was to place some control over the amounts of cash for campaign funds that members of the Howard County Council have been accepting from persons and businesses involved in petitioning the council (sitting as a zoning board) to change the zoning classification of their lands. . . .

What your editorial writer in Howard County should do is report on the problem, the list of campaign contributors. Putting a spin on the story that Council Chairman Vernon Gray was acting in the public interest in trying to kill the bill reflects some pretty poor journalistic ethics. . . .

What finally killed the bill was an overwhelming number of messages from the developers and Realtors in Howard County to the governor. An "emergency alert" message went out, signed by Nellie Arrington, on behalf of the Realtors' association, requesting everyone to send a flood of veto requests to the governor.

James M. Holway

Ellicott City

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Score another one for the special interests. The governor's veto of the Howard County ethics bill was an unfortunate defeat for those seeking to enact much-needed reforms in the zoning process in Howard County.

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