How will public afford public recreation?It now costs $270...


April 28, 1996

How will public afford public recreation?

It now costs $270 to send a kid to the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks "summer recreation center" with no provision for family discounts. The only scholarship program appears to be for those on public assistance.

What about those of us in the middle class? And what about those of us who feel that recreation should be an essential function of government as is health, education, fire and police protection?

I know the administrators in the recreation department. I know that they understand the worth of recreation, that it is a basic human need and should be supported with tax dollars accordingly.

However, their hands are tied as a result of the "no new taxes" political climate. As a consequence, the astronomical fees and charges (new taxes) are excluding from the program some of the persons who need it most.

A philosophy toward high fees and charges also emphasizes programs which bring in the most revenue as opposed to programs which are of greater value and importance. Continued reliance on fees for financial support will make it all the more difficult to secure adequate tax support for the agency.

The Recreation Department used to be a viable alternative to the Columbia Association, which always has charged country club prices. Now it seems to be competing head-to-head with CA to attract Howard County's elite.

I am calling on the County Council, the county executive and all persons of goodwill to end the madness and return the cost of public recreation to an affordable level. If we all need to spend one more cent on the property tax rate, let's spend it for the benefit of all of the children of Howard County.

Clinton W. Jennifer


Fight over nurses is really about money

Let's set the record straight in this current debate between Dr. Steven Daviss and subsequent replies in the letters section of The Sun by nurses, most recently Elizabeth Arnold, regarding legislative efforts to allow nurse specialists prescribing privileges in this state.

This bill, which was defeated this legislative session, is not about serious clinical deficiencies that place patients at risk or harm without nurses gaining the ability to prescribe medications.

Psychiatric Nurse Specialists, like psychologists who lobbied on a federal level prior to this state effort, want access to another privilege that allows them more opportunity to be reimbursed by insurers. Perhaps this matter would not be so hotly contested if insurers, without any merit, had not forced nurse therapists and psychologists to the periphery as resources for psychotherapy. But, as managed care continues to wedge itself into the arena of mental health care, issues like nurse specialists gaining prescribing privileges is mainly a financial agenda, pure and simple.

As I have shared with nursing and psychology colleagues, with greater power comes greater responsibility. The majority of those I speak with in these disciplines seem to voice reservations in obtaining this access. I believe that implementing change in nursing psychology programs to gain acceptance from state licensing boards granting prescribing powers is the proper course of direction.

The critical point to this issue is that the ability to prescribe medications is a privilege, not a right. I hope that the representatives behind this lobbying effort in passing such legislation keep this in mind.

Joel H. Hassman, M.D.

Ellicott City

Thanks from outgoing member

I would like to take this time to thank Columbia residents for the opportunity that I have had of serving as a representative on the Columbia Council for the past two years.

While I was not successful in my attempt for re-election last weekend, I want to thank everyone who took the effort to participate in the process. I would like to express my special appreciation to those who supported me and worked on my behalf.

Unfortunately, a turnout of only 11.5 percent of the eligible voters with a separation of only 16 votes between the two candidates gives no clear indication of the sentiments of the entire community. In a representative government, effective representation depends on input received from the represented.

As I leave office at the end of this month, I ask that all of you give Alex Hekimian a chance to accurately represent your ideas and desires. Share your views with him concerning key Columbia Association issues and get his insight on the details and background of those issues. Unfortunately, the media cannot always be depended upon to provide the level of information on each issue that allows intelligent decision-making. You may have to request the information that you need from the village center or from CA. By keeping yourself informed of the issues, you will be able to positively contribute to the resident input that Alex receives to help guide his decisions on the council and you will be able to evaluate how effectively he represents you.

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