Columbians need to attend a council meetingOn March 14, I...


April 07, 1996

Columbians need to attend a council meeting

On March 14, I attended a Columbia Council meeting. It was the first meeting that I had ever attended and I was surprised and dismayed by the lack of interest in obtaining information -- indeed the intent to prevent council members from obtaining information -- that I witnessed. . . . Norma Rose seemed to be the only council member who was seeking relevant information for making decisions.

Perhaps more of us who live in Columbia should attend council meetings and ask our village representatives to take a more open approach. If they can't act in a congenial and democratic fashion perhaps we need new representation.

Nicki Stenzler


Double standard on publishing names

As a regular reader of The Sun, I'm very weary of reading the following, "who is not being identified by The Sun because she is alleging a sexual offense." When are the powers that be at The Sun going to wake up and realize that they have created a perfect forum for any female or male who wants to ruin someone's life?

No one is disputing that many of these cases are valid, but one has to wonder how many are just a great way to destroy not just one person, but a whole family, while the accuser can remain anonymous. . . . By withholding the accuser's name and being more than willing to publish the defendant's name, The Sun has helped to try the accused in print, whether or not the case goes to trial. . . .

The family of the accused (who are not charged with any crime) are forced to go through public exposure, while the accuser goes on with his or her life. . . . Either let it be handled in a court of law without printing charges or names until a verdict is in, or publish the charges with both the names of the accused and accuser. . . .

Patricia Saxon

Ellicott City

Glenelg jazz band deserved day in sun

I am a little upset . . . with The Sun for Howard County. On March 28, I found a wonderful piece on the Glenelg High Jazz Ensemble. I was pleased to see a story about our West County high school. We see so few. Glenelg's jazz band has worked hard . . under the dedicated leadership of Barry Enzman.

What upset me was the story The Sun saw fit to put beside it . . . of a suspected marijuana find at Glenelg High School. Why did the editors find it necessary to take away the jazz ensemble's day in the sun (no pun intended) and cloud it with such a negative story? I realize it is the responsibility of the newspaper to keep the public informed. I just think it could have informed the public on another page.

Maureen Hatfield


Question of C. Vernon Gray's expenses: Is this just a tempest in a coffee pot?

Thank you for your article, "Drown vs. Gray: A Squabble to Behold," on March 24.

This was a fine article but it missed a couple of key points. First, this is not only about $1,300. It is about integrity and management. Jesus said, "You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things." There is an old adage that if we take care of the nickels, the dollars will take care of themselves.

Second, it is about ego and attitude. It is ego that says, "The law does not apply to me; I am too important." It is an attitude that says that I choose to use indulgently equipment that has been entrusted to me. Political campaigning and strategizing should be at the expense of the politician and those who choose to assist them financially.

Howard J. Collins II


In the March 24 article by Dan Morse concerning the issue of Howard County Councilman C. Vernon Gray's $1,300 in expenses for annual cellular telephone use and travel expenses, the position taken by Darrel Drown, council chairman, brought to my mind a chapter in C. Northcote Parkinson's book, "Parkinson's Law," that I purchased in 1960.

Parkinson discusses his "Law Of Triviality," which is that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.

Parkinson illustrates his point by the dramatic device of an 11-member board of directors meeting that spends two and a half minutes to discuss and give approval to the spending of $10 million for an atomic reactor (only two members have the least idea of what a reactor should cost), 45 minutes discussing before approving the expenditure of $2,350 for a bicycle shed for employees, with the possible result of saving $300, and finally, discussion of an annual charge of $50 for coffee refreshment supplied at meetings of the Joint Welfare Committee.

Since everybody understands coffee, even if they don't understand atomic reactors, after an hour and a quarter in acrimonious debate, they ask the board secretary for more information on the coffee issue and leave the matter for decision at the next meeting.

Mr. Drown and his supporters are like those who know a lot about coffee but don't have much knowledge, as Mr. Gray indicated in the article, concerning what government is all about in order to intelligently reform it.

Ken Jennings


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