Resident of Heartlands praises staffThe Sun in Howard on...

LETTERS

September 07, 1997

Resident of Heartlands praises staff

The Sun in Howard on Aug. 25 carried the account of a power failure during the construction of a multi-million dollar improvement program at Heartlands Retirement Community.

Unfortunately, your reporter failed to give a complete story of what transpired during the outage.

There was no panic, no untoward incident. The morale of our senior residents was exemplary. This was due mainly to excellent support given by the Heartlands staff, dining room personnel, staff and students, during the 24-hour period.

Instead of the negative impression in the story, had the staff reporter checked with our executive director, and our resident council, he would have discovered some of the same spirit prevailed here that we experienced during the trying days of the blackouts of World War II.

G. Kenneth Horvath

Ellicott City

The writer is a resident of Heartlands.

Cheers for father in retention suit

Kudos to Robert Merriman for suing the Howard County school board for not retaining his son, who has not absorbed enough knowledge and skill for his age in order to be preparing for college. Too bad it had to be against Howard County education, believed by most to be the best in Maryland.

For many years the price of public education has been rising rapidly. It is now, for most counties, in the $6,000 per pupil range per year.

Educational systems cannot afford to retain pupils. In order to make most parents happy, few failing grades are given. Hence, children are pushed through the system.

This makes for happy taxpayers. Note the popularity of "success" bumper stickers, and puzzling, misleading, so-called report cards that mask failures.

Lack of retaining also pleases adults, who put social acceptance (short-term) ahead of a good education and its long-term success.

So, we are cutting taxes for each railroading. Congratulations, taxpayers. Save your money. You may need it in the future to support those who have been rammed through school, but don't know it yet.

Charles Johnston

Pasadena

Councilmen's terms should be limited

We have seen a number of trial balloons in the press about a council member who may not run for county executive but may run for re-election for the Howard County Council.

Everyone keeps forgetting about the three-term limit. As a result of pressure from the voting public, the County Council placed a question on the ballot. Yes or no, do you want term limits? And if yes, will you accept three terms as acceptable?

The answer was a very definite "yes" from the stockholders of Howard County charter government.

Councilman Charles Feaga will have three terms by the time the election arrives. Councilman C. Vernon Gray will have four terms the time the next election arrives.

It would seem as though the public answered these trial balloons some time ago, and they did so in writing, and existing officeholders seem to ignore the message and messengers.

James Holway

Ellicott City

Where was The Sun in Howard jail suit?

Reporters and editors tend to treat the American justice system like they treat the weather: Everyone talks about it, but no one shows the slightest interest in doing anything about it.

As a former journalist in the long-ago days of early TV, I think the reason for this is two-fold. For one thing, the courts provide a never-ending source of stories. No matter how slow the news day, crime generates readable filler day in and day out.

Second, and more taboo, American corporate journalism has a tacit sweetheart contract with the courts. It will not subject them to the same rigorous standards to which it holds the other two branches of government, in return for being protected by the courts from possibly bankrupting libel awards by juries.

It is not too hard to see this at work in high-profile cases such as the O.J. murder trial. But it may be more difficult to discern in cases closer to home.

In that supposed sink of inequity, New York City, a horrendous case of police criminal use of force has, after a few days of attempted cover-up, caused the justice system there to arrest several police officers allegedly involved.

In the supposed suburban oasis of order, Howard County, several charges of criminal excessive force against prisoners by a jail officer were dismissed by three judges of the Circuit Court, after tap-dancing testimony from witnessing officers. As I read the trial account in The Sun, one officer testified he did not witness excessive force, although it may have been excessive, etc., etc.

Most dismaying was the position of The Sun, in marked contrast to the tabloid rags of New York, particularly the Daily News, which smashed through the initial stonewalling.

The Sun found no fault in the finding of a judge who barred the major complainant from his day in court. Its only criticism was of our state's attorney, who had evidence of criminal actions. New York has a plunging crime rate while Howard's is rising. Is there a moral here?

Jack Gonzales

Columbia

Pub Date: 9/07/97

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