Teens should get to frequent Ellicott CityWe would like to...


August 18, 1996

Teens should get to frequent Ellicott City

We would like to respond to the article of July 22 in The Sun for Howard County, titled "Historic area shopkeepers decry teens." We are two young adults from the Ellicott City area who often spend time in our town's historic district: many times in the theater, coffee shops and vintage stores.

On many occasions this summer, we have been outside in that area until about 11: 30 at night. Upon reading this article, we were very surprised to hear of the district's loitering concerns. We have never experienced any type of negative confrontation from merchants, residents or other adults in the area. As a matter of fact, many of these people recognize and welcome us into their conversations and stores.

Yes, some young people do cause problems for the people of Ellicott City's historic district, but these situations are usually noise-related problems caused by a small minority Another reason for our concern is that we and our friends will have virtually no safe area to get together that has the district's type of artistic-intellectual environment.

We love and respect this town and its people and will do anything to preserve its peaceful and safe atmosphere. Hopefully, this letter can be one step toward that goal.

enn Westervelt

Kristen R. Califano

Ellicott City

The writers are students at Mount Hebron High School and Chapelgate Christian Academy, respectively.

Father doesn't know traffic court

As an attorney who has appeared before Judge Lenore Gelfman from her initial days on the bench until the present, I am compelled to counter John Howes' letter to the editor (July 21) complaining about his Korean daughter's experience in Howard County District Court. Mr. Howes expressed concern that his daughter's "day in court" did not prove the learning experience he hoped it would be for her. Mr. Howes apparently misread the sign on the way into the building: It was a courtroom his daughter was entering, not a school room.

Mr. Howes apparently expected that his daughter would be indoctrinated to the court system by standing trial on a speeding ticket while he stood by her side and the judge offered extensive coaching on legal procedure. However, if this was a typical traffic ticket docket, 60 to 100 other people were also impatiently awaiting trial to tell their speeding alibis. To complete the docket in time to prevent defendants from staying in court past 5 p.m. on an afternoon session, a judge has four hours to hear an average of 70 cases.

The traffic docket is the judicial equivalent of the "express line" in the supermarket. Don't show up with a cart full of Huggies and pot pies and expect the clerk to check you out. What the grocery clerk will do is send you to the appropriate aisle, which is exactly what Judge Gelfman determined was in the best interest of Mr. Howes' daughter. Upon realizing Mr. Howes' daughter would be best served by having a translator at her side, Judge Gelfman postponed the case. Mr. Howes' remark that he could have served as a translator is contrary to the Maryland Rules (unless he has been certified to do so).

Mr. Howes makes additional comment that this episode is "an example of a judge destroying a young woman's dreams of coming to America." Maybe young women all around the world do dream of coming to America to have their fathers represent themselves in traffic court. More likely, this remark echoes the over-emotional overkill of a parent whose fatherly advice didn't work out the way he had planned. The irony of Mr. Howes' complaint is that his daughter is getting an education after all. Judge Gelfman did not conduct a hasty trial of a young woman who did not appear to have a complete grasp of the English language. Judge Gelfman arranged for Mr. Howes' daughter to have a second day in court where a translator will be provided. When that day arrives, Mr. Howes' daughter will, hopefully, be better prepared to stand at the trial table alone.

She might also realize that, old TV shows aside, father might know best, but he doesn't know traffic court.

Preston A. Pairo III

Ellicott City

Gray's NACO bid not so important

The Sun's recent coverage of C. Vernon Gray and his latest political woes seems a bit overdone, culminating with the July 22 editorial.

The Sun seems to make the NACo (or is it NACO?) into some

kind of world-wide lobby. But in all the paper's coverage, I was unable to determine just what the National Association of County Officials does. It was mentioned in one article that "It lobbies nationally on issues important to local government." Well, how about a few examples of these issues?

We are told that out of "more than 2,000" members, there are only two running for second vice president -- Mr. Gray and Mr. Cecil? Then it turns out that more than 4,000 people voted. What is the size of this organization?

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