Howard Delegates Battled SmokeThe Health Improvement...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 16, 1995

Howard Delegates Battled Smoke

The Health Improvement Leadership Team of Howard County salutes delegates Elizabeth Bobo, Robert Flanagan, Robert Kittleman and Shane Pendergrass for supporting the comprehensive smoking ban for the workplace. Their commitment to improving the health of all citizens of Maryland is commendable, as well as in keeping with the will of the majority of voters. Kudos also to Ms. Bobo and Ms. Pendergrass for

working to ensure Howard County's existing ban could not be adversely affected by any weakened state action.

We will be watching the next session closely to see how our legislators respond to those bills that affect everyone's most precious commodity, their good health.

David Halpern

Columbia

Term Limits

I had always felt that the push for term limits that surfaced several years ago came from the Republican National Committee. It was wiling to take the chance of losing some Republican senators and representatives in order to dispose of the majority Democratic members in either or both branches of Congress.

It's certainly interesting to watch now as Henry Hyde and Bob Dole try to put the stop on term limits that threaten their own jobs. Is this a case of "Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it," or are they trying to put the genie back in the bottle? Term limits are a lazy way to achieve good representation. We have an obligation to find the best people and vote for them.

Carole Fisher

Ellicott City

Columbia's Combatants can Form a 'Win-Win'

On March 28, the Columbia Council held a very impressive seminar on governance. The council needs to be commended for selecting highly qualified and, yes, unbiased speakers. As I sat through the seminar, my concepts about incorporation became more specific and it became obvious to me that there is no reason to have two sides, i.e. pro-incorporation and anti-incorporation. There is a very simple "win-win" concept which can unite and benefit all of us. The concept is based on a simple lesson in life, i.e. "Don't fix it if it ain't broke."

The Columbia Association is doing a nice job of providing popular services to all of us. I attended the last CA board meeting and was impressed by CA President Padraic Kennedy's report of increasing attendance at most CA activities. Howard County government is doing a fine job of providing us with many services, with which most of us are happy. We should minimize impact on both. . . .

It is an exciting and beautiful concept to think of Columbia as a city. "New Town" should grow up to become "New City." Including the "outparcels," it will be a city of almost 100,000 people, second largest in Maryland. It will be a city with the highest percentage of educated professionals in the country, no, the world. Possibly, it will be the city with the highest per capita income in the country, no, the world. With such credentials, our "city" can be the model for the world.

In my concept, CA will become the new city government. Mr. Kennedy would be the first city manager. Functions of "New Town" planning, zoning, building permits and inspection now done by Howard County will be transferred to CA under a "community services" department. This will be the only function transferred from Howard County, along with applicable funding. The concept would expand CA somewhat and would have minimal impact on Howard County. Present duplication of planning for Columbia will be eliminated. The new planning department will review the mishmash of "architectural guidelines" for different villages and come up with one set of guidelines for the whole city.

The current system of applying for approval of the architectural committee for any construction and separately applying for building permits to Howard County will be combined into one simple application.

The present Columbia Council will become the new Columbia City Council. Villages will not be reapportioned or broken up to provide a "one person, one vote" concept. Larger villages will simply be given two council seats instead of one. Up to this point, the concept is a "Greenbelt"-type City Council and city manager government. My preference is to have a "mayor" lead and represent all of us. This will be a part-time honorary position.

Let us look at the financial picture. Assessment dollar amounts will be cut 5 percent based on an estimated 5 percent increase in assessment base due to the inclusion of outparcels in the city. I sincerely believe that outparcel owners would accept the concept of CA dues because they are enjoying some of the CA benefits now and will receive all the benefits as residents of the new city.

This will eliminate the present "Swiss cheese" situation and allow for better planning. At the seminar, I understood that Columbia City may receive direct benefits from Annapolis so that the total received by Columbia City and Howard County will be more funding than Howard receives now. This is what I call a "win-win."

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