County Council slow to clean up pension messesIt was...

Letters

July 14, 1996

County Council slow to clean up pension messes

It was gratifying to read that the Anne Arundel County Council has struck a blow for the economy by unanimously, except for James E. DeGrange Sr., rejecting Mr. DeGrange's bill to eliminate pensions for part-time elected officials.

The excuse given by the members was that the bill would only affect five members as the other two would presumably be "grandfathered in." This argument fails to factor in the truth that the two "grandfathered" members will not be there forever and that over the long term we are talking about a lot of money. The $7,500 will not begin to cover the annual outlays when these members and their successors start drawing their pensions.

Upon the council's re-election in 1998, at least one member of the council will be drawing a lucrative federal pension at the moment of vesting of his new county pension. Is it any wonder that we have a $5 trillion federal public debt and are unable to provide reasonable state and county funding to educate our children?

Bill D. Burlison

Odenton

Taxes are why we're 'working fools'

I had to laugh when I read your story, "Clinton offers Americans control over schedules," (June 25). Middle-class Americans pay a minimum of 50 percent of their salary in taxes. This includes FICA, federal, state, real estate and sales taxes. This is the reason Americans have become, as he says, "working fools."

It takes two people to bring 100 percent of one salary home. This is where families sacrifice. So now he suggests they can take three days off a year without pay and businesses can make do without the employee. Who can afford this? The problem lies with the government.

Jacqueline Laskey

Pasadena

Growing up Godless, fatherless, fearless

I just love reading the columns in The Sun by Susan Reimer. Her piece on June 23, "Why stop with shame? Bring back fear, etc." was outstanding. Here's hoping for more pieces like it.

Our kids are growing up Godless, fatherless and fearless. Susan tells it like it is.

Marge Griffith

Summer activities article unrealistic

It was interesting to see you run two front-page articles on children's summer activities on July 1, each notable for its narrow view of a population of children.

Of most concern was Howard Libit's article, "It may be summer, but learning goes on" for its failure to recognize that the children about whom it was written are the exception rather than the rule: They have affluent parents, one of whom is at home to do home summer schooling or to drive them to programs like the free month-long morning academy run by the Anne Arundel County school system. Mr. Libit wrote this article as if what he describes is the norm when it is not. What he described is a luxury in today's world of single parents, working couples with children and declining personal incomes.

He ignores the fact that the children who need the additional help the most are the kids that the police department recreation program (described by Peter Hermann on the same page) is trying to reach. They can't participate in programs like the free half-day Anne Arundel summer academy because there is no one to transport them, although society would probably benefit more by ensuring that they receive a good education than by ensuring that more affluent children don't lose their "competitive edge."

With respect to the year-round schooling mentioned in Mr. Libit's article, the article fails to note that, unlike summer programs, none of the year-round schooling proposals would provide an increase in educational time. They are solely directed at avoiding school construction.

Also unmentioned is that most opposition comes from school staff who have a personal self-interest in the current schedule; from summer camp and day care programs that would lose income, and from affluent parents whose vacation habits may be adversely affected. Ask lower- and middle-income working parents to whom a two-month break from school is an expensive nightmare, if they would like to have their child in school year-round and I bet you would hear a different story.

They would have a much better chance of piecing together free day care from family and friends for a few weeks at a time than of doing so for 2 1/2 months.

Their situation is worsened because when a child reaches the magic age of 12, full-time child care virtually ceases. The programs for young teens are part-time and there is usually no transportation. There are virtually no affordable options for the working parent seeking supervision of a young teen-ager, who is too young to get a job but who can find a thousand ways to get into trouble -- just the kind of kid Mr. Hermann's article talks about being helped by the city's police recreation program.

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