Teen mom's mother defends herI would like to respond to...

LETTERS

February 23, 1997

Teen mom's mother defends her

I would like to respond to the woman who wrote the letter to the editor about the story of Jan. 17 ("All-Met mom in transition") that she missed the point of the article.

I certainly agree with her that children should not be having children and I am sure most mothers who have teen-age daughters do their best to convey that message. The article was not intended to encourage other teen-age girls to get pregnant, but to celebrate the strength of the Hines family and the way it has responded to an unexpected change.

Those who have met Rene and her family know how fortunate she is. Her fortune comes from the tremendous love and support she receives from her friends and family. Unfortunately, a newspaper article cannot completely capture the entire story. The article did not adequately portray the love and support Andre receives from his entire family unit.

Rene recognizes she made a serious error in judgment and only now understands fully the responsibilities of motherhood.

However, with her family's support she has the chance to become a success story, because her dreams of getting an education through her basketball abilities can be fulfilled.

When she finishes college she will be more emotionally mature and better prepared to handle motherhood. She will also be in a better position to find a job that will allow her to support Andre and herself. Once again, she is fortunate for her family's support. That was the point of the article.

So do not use Rene as a role model. Use her family. Because as we all know, too many teens with children out of wedlock and lacking family support end up on welfare.

Would you punish unwed teen-age mothers (and their children) by denying them love and support, and force them into the welfare system?

haron E. Hines

Columbia

The writer is Rene's mother.

Conclusions from affordability committee

While Craig Timberg's Feb. 11 article on the Spending Affordability Report was a fair representation, I would like to clarify several points.

First, I would not characterize the special tax to pay for the $35 million landfill remediation as raising taxes. The county will be spending this money over the next three years. The question is what is the most appropriate way to pay for the expenditure. We believe our recommendation is cost-effective and the right thing to do.

Second, I want citizens to understand the fee for ambulance transport. This cost is recoverable from the individual's health insurer. There would be no denial of service or collection harassment of citizens who are financially unable to reimburse the county.

Finally, Mr. Timberg's article quoted County Executive Charles I. Ecker as saying, "It's easy to say something when you don't have the responsibility."

I have great respect and admiration for the executive. If he had a few seconds to reflect on that answer, I believe that he might have stated that the committee has different responsibilities than he or the County Council. Citizens representing business, institutions and community groups served on the committee. Its primary concern was for the quality of life and financial health of Howard County.

Appropriately, and to Mr. Ecker's credit, the committee was not burdened by political concerns. We would encourage all citizens of Howard County to comprehensively review and debate the report.

Steven Sachs

Columbia

The writer is chairman of the Howard County Spending Affordability Advisory Committee.

Justice takes a sick day

An interesting phenomenon occurred on Jan. 29 at the District Court of Maryland for Howard County. In a traffic courtroom that was far more crowded than the posted allowable number, it was made clear that one of the arresting officers had called in sick.

With this simple fact out in the open, the first case before the judge pleaded "not guilty." The judge's response was that since Officer Burnham could not produce evidence to the contrary, the offender was free to go.

So it went with the second case, third case, fourth case, etc. This included the gentleman who rear-ended me and caused $5,000 worth of damage to my vehicle (yes, he was going that fast).

As a victim, I was subpoenaed to appear. Even after calling to confirm this fact, I was not asked to speak nor to refute his plea of not guilty.

Subsequently he walked out with no ticket, no fine, no record, no points and no remorse. One might ask could not have Officer Burnham (the investigating officer) given her caseload to a substitute or perhaps re-schedule her appearances? One might also ask why was I subpoenaed? All valid queries.

Isn't this scenario analogous to giving the students all As because the teacher was absent? If this is the manner in which the state of Maryland handles equality, I am disgusted. Truth, justice and the American way? Where's Superman when we need him?

Jamie Haider

Ellicott City

Does Columbia really need new athletic club?

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