Columbia Association's numbers gamesThe Columbia...


November 26, 1995

Columbia Association's numbers games

The Columbia Association published an annual report this year rather than the auditor's report. There is a difference. As in many annual reports, this one uses various figures that deceive the reader into believing something far different from the facts. A good example of this is found in the fifth paragraph on Page 2 of this document titled, "Message from the board of directors."

The paragraph reads, "Perhaps the most noteworthy change in expenses, however, was the $250,000 or 2.8 percent reduction in interest expense. This reduction was primarily the result of savings from the bond repurchase program coupled with CA's decreasing need for additional debt because of the success of the deficit reduction program and lower borrowing rates."

The $250,000 was a one-time saving in cost of debt service for that one year, but it was not a saving for the property owner. The paying of interest on debt is an operating expense that is entered into the operating budget.

When CA decided to recall and refinance certain long-term bonds, they were not required to pay interest on the year running. CA took that as a savings, but

Due to the fact that CA signed an agreement in 1987 with the trustee that restricted CA from recalling any bonds, before maturity, for the purpose of refinancing, CA was required to pay a penalty. They recalled $5,429,000 in bonds and were assessed a penalty of $370,000 plus a write-off of $88,000 of unamortized bond issuance cost for a net loss of $458,000.

This refinancing account is located in the auditor's report under cash flow.

Also, the new bond issue is found in the new bond schedule. Of course, CA doesn't want to bother anyone with such minor details. The refinanced bonds were scheduled to mature in year 2009. The new maturity date is 2013. Spreading this debt out further into the future does not save anything for anyone. It may make CA look professional but it is another noose around the neck of the property owner.

Charles W. Ahalt


Parents, friends of gays pro-family, too

Mike Littwin's column of Nov. 1, "If a gay gene causes homosexuality " is right on target. He says that if being gay is genetic, then bias against homosexuality would be nothing more than simple prejudice.

Well, whether it is ever proven conclusively that it is genetic or not, discrimination against one segment of American society is wrong.

Personal bias against a group of people is bad enough, but must legislative prohibitions be enacted? The religious right and other extreme conservatives are doing everything they can to make the lives of lesbians, gays and bisexual people unbearable.

The real issue is not biblical quotes or genetics, but whether American citizens can live without fear. Those of us who are parents and friends of lesbians and gay persons are pro-family in every way. We value our children and are committed to helping them secure their well-deserved full human and civil rights. Bigotry is un-American, and I salute Mike Littwin for acknowledging this.

olette Roberts


The writer is coordinator for PFLAG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, in Howard County.

Massage parlor probe defended

This letter is in response to Preston A. Pairo III's letter to the editor of Oct. 29 in The Sun for Howard County. He wrote in reference to the Howard County Police Department's massage parlor investigation.

Mr. Pairo's letter-writing style is the same as his courtroom style. He only uses half the facts. With his close ties to the law enforcement community, it is disappointing that Mr. Pairo has no clue as to the intricacies of an in-depth police investigation. He did not include in his "careful" calculations that 90 man (and woman) hours include numerous hours of surveillance, report-writing and meetings with the state attorney's office.

While I don't support the decisions made by the commanders of the police department in their investigation, I will defend the department itself. Mr. Pairo failed to mention that the Howard County Police Department is superior in many of its endeavors NTC within the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area, if not the state. It is nationally recognized in its traffic en

forcement and driver safety programs and aggressively pursues its Community Oriented Policing policy and D.A.R.E. program.

It is funny to think what the "priority" of the department will be when Mr. Pairo calls to report that a massage parlor has moved into his business complex and there is a severe problem with prostitution and drug dealing. He must remember that the department was responding to concerned wives, concerned citizens and area businesses when they undertook the investigation. Maybe Mr. Pairo should use his dictionary and look up "community service."

Brook E. Donovan

Mount Airy

Solution to road problems: Slow down

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