No PicnicAs a 25-year employee of Prince George's County...


March 04, 1995

No Picnic

As a 25-year employee of Prince George's County government, I feel compelled to tell how it really is to work for P.G. County.

Yes, we have nice perks such as the supplemental pension plan Gov. Parris Glendening and his staff put together and the leave payouts available upon leaving the county government.

However, I don't believe concern for the work force was his primary objective when he added the new language regarding 15-year employees in 1993. And don't let him fool you: he knew what he was doing. His signature appears on the last page of the published pension plan.

Shame on him, if he signed something into law without reading it. And now that this has come under close scrutiny, I probably won't benefit from it.

However, the actual work day is no picnic.

Forced to pick up the slack after many of our co-workers were laid off in 1990 and 1991, we do not have state-of-the-art equipment and technology to make our jobs more efficient.

Work loads did not diminish as was anticipated. Some divisions have 25-year-old equipment that has been patched to continue its slow, manual operation.

As other pieces of equipment have failed, there has been no money to replace them. Money for routine supplies is scarce, and participation in professional organizations is discouraged unless the individual pays his own membership dues. Morale is low.

Our careers are at stake as Wayne Curry struggles to fix the mess that Mr. Glendening left. Doesn't anyone wonder why Prince George's County's financial despair was kept so quiet until after the election?

Lee Hunter

West River

Diversity Cherished

I read Michael K. Burns' Feb. 1 commentary, "The Not-So-Uniqueness of Public Television," with interest but with little agreement beyond his Yanni bashing. If Mr. Burns is looking for "fresh faces," I suggest he look at Teen magazine or check out MTV.

If he really wants to know why personalities from commercial radio and television stations also work for public broadcasting, the answer is obvious.

They are willing to work for less pay and be seen by smaller viewing audiences because public broadcasting productions generally afford them the opportunity to dig below the surface and to do higher level work than would be possible on commercial television or radio productions.

Profit is the motive for commercial television and radio; to educate, enlighten, inform and/or entertain is the goal of public broadcasting.

What makes public broadcasting unique? It's the "public" part . . . it's in the name . . . it's an integral aspect of its existence. It && exists for the public good and is responsible to public reaction.

It is different in every community, because it reflects the community it serves. It is a necessary component of a democratic, free society.

Public broadcasting currently receives $1.09 per person annually from the federal government. I challenge you to name another service that offers as much for a buck.

It's not elitist. Public broadcasting belongs to you and to me and even to Michael K. Burns.

I cherish its diversity, Yanni and all.

usan Baukhages


Movies Nightmare

What Ed Brandt's article, "$33 million face lift set for Towson Marketplace" and the accompanying map (Feb. 11) failed to show was that James Schlesinger's proposed 20-screen, 4,000-seat movie stadium will be situated in the center of a large residential area -- a Baltimore County-designated Community Conservation Area, as a matter of fact.

To the north are Towson Estates, Towson Gardens, Goucher Woods, Campus Hills and Cromwell Valley; to the east are Loch Raven Village and Knettishall; to the south are Fellowship Forest and Friendship Forest, as well as Calvert Hall College and two county schools; to the west are Courthouse Square and Greenbrier.

Mr. Schlesinger and his backers would have us believe this is a "good deal for the area," when, in fact, this enormous theater will be a great deal for Mr. Schlesinger and nothing less then a nightmare for many local residents.

Based on information from law enforcement personnel, security professionals and people living near existing theater complexes (none as large or as centrally situated in a residential area as the proposed one), neighbors can expect not only "increased traffic and late-night noise" but also increased crime (vandalism, loitering, et. al.) and litter.

Quality of life in the surrounding community, as well as property values, will come tumbling down.

Finally, the article claims "there are no zoning barriers," when actually Mr. Schlesinger's plan requires a special exception to proceed. A public hearing must be held.

Hopefully our public servants will take a thorough, far-sighted look at this plan, consider its implications for the communities and then send it back to the drawing board for serious revisions.

Don Vovakes


Ironic Tragedy

On April 14, 1994, our son, Spc. Jeffrey C. Colbert, along with 14 other Americans, was shot down over Northern Iraq by the U.S. Air Force.

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