Cell phones on school buses are a wasteA cell phone on a...

Letters

November 16, 1997

Cell phones on school buses are a waste

A cell phone on a school bus is not a safety issue, it is frivolous. Although your editorial ("Cell phones on school buses," Nov. 7) was quick to suggest possible emergencies in which cell phones on school buses would help, I believe they are an unnecessary expenditure of Carroll countians' tax monies.

Also, I'm not sure your $50,000 figure is accurate. Even if it is, does that in and of itself make cell phones on buses a good idea?

All a school bus really needs is a radio connected to the contractor. If the need arises, the driver can contact the contractor, who in turn contacts the school with news about the children. When a bus is late or does not arrive with a student, you already contact the school first and that will not change whether the bus has a radio or a cell phone.

Contractors can and should have the radios on the buses. Everything should not be paid for by Carroll countians already overburdened by taxes.

I have three children who ride buses in the county. Two of my children have graduated from Carroll County schools and did so without cell phones on buses.

One of my younger children has been "lost" on buses several times. Amazingly enough, he was found without a cell phone.

Even with my experiences, I still think it is a frivolous luxury to put cell phones on buses at taxpayer expense.

If we have an extra $50,000 floating around, buy some school books and send them home with my children. Don't we have any real needs to address?

Laura E. Albers

Sykesville

Sheriff must share blame for jail woes

Carroll County Sheriff John Brown must share blame for jail expansion delay and overcrowded inmate population.

Recent comments by Sheriff Brown to a Carroll County Times reporter about inmate overcrowding at the county jail suggest that he never had the opportunity to address the problem before it reached a "crisis" situation.

Contrary to his 11th-hour plea for help, the sheriff rejected approved plans to build an 86-bed expansion in 1991.

The project would have eliminated overcrowding at a cost of $2.2 million to the county and state. Six years of procrastination and indecision have ballooned the price tag for the revised 100-bed proposal to $6.2 million.

How can the sheriff, who campaigned on a platform of less taxes and holding down his budget, justify to the taxpayer an additional $4 million for essentially the same proposal?

In addition, he has the audacity to suggest that the public make donations for a project that, upon completion, will cost three times more than originally planned.

During his first term, the sheriff said the jail was "a powder keg waiting to explode." He compounded the problem by not appointing a warden at the jail for approximately two years.

Clearly, Sheriff Brown should have immediately filled this important managerial position to help address overcrowding.

While in office, his reluctance to consider and implement alternative measures, such as home detention and modular housing, has aggravated the problem.

Suddenly, Sheriff Brown says conditions are so bad that he is worried about the safety of correction officers and prisoners. He declares that nobody cares about his plight and, as a last resort, he is ready to open a "tent city" to confine prisoners.

Of course, he would have to find twice the staff to guard them, which he says he does not have to adequately staff the jail.

Sheriff Brown has always advocated "brick and mortar" as the most secure way to confine inmates. Why the sudden change in his philosophy? It seems the sheriff feels he must resort to "scare tactics" to cover his lack of timely attention to this issue.

The jail expansion is very important and so is the safety of everyone who works there or is confined within. Sheriff Brown must acknowledge that his responsibility to relieve the jail problem began when he took office.

His 1991 rejection of final plans designed to solve jail overcrowding into the next century contributed significantly to existing overcrowding.

As an elected official, he cannot transfer his responsibilities and obligations to ensure public safety by blaming other parties or circumstances.

Kim Tregoning

Union Bridge

Tricks or treats from our government

With Halloween behind us, it may be a good time to review our county government's agenda for the past three years, as to whether they can be perceived as tricks or treats.

The following are tricks by our elected county commissioners since their election three years ago:

The appointments to the planning commission; tax increases; the Interim Development Control Ordinance; the Bob Lennon fiasco; the "Gang of Seven;" destruction of the business community; adequacy ordinance; concurrency management ordinance; new master plan; the huge amount of funding that the county has lost from the above; fiascos which will result in future tax increases; the homeless shelter; the "Sacred Places" issue, and Henryton.

After reviewing the above, I guess the only treat we are going to get will be at election time when we have the opportunity to throw the current officials out and replace them with candidates responsive to the majority of the citizens.

James E. Harris Sr.

Westminster

Pub Date: 11/16/97

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