Carpool lane on U.S. 50 makes no senseThe emerging plan by...

Letters

November 30, 1997

Carpool lane on U.S. 50 makes no sense

The emerging plan by the Maryland Department of Transportation to create a high-occupancy vehicle lane on U.S. 50 between Bowie and the Capitol Beltway (Nov. 12) to encourage "carpooling" shows a complete lack of understanding of the business dynamics of the world's most important city.

Private business people and, yes, even most federal employees work more than an eight-hour day and often at irregular hours, making carpooling impossible. The demands of a world marketplace have changed the work habits of Americans significantly.

Forty-five-hour work weeks (or longer), multiple offices, business travel, flex time and work-at-home options are not conducive to car pools. For the Departure of Transportation to further aggravate the already congested roadways by the elimination of one-third (three lanes to two) of the driving area is not only ludicrous, it denies taxpayers the right to use the roads they paid for.

If the department wants to make a real difference in the Bowie-Beltway corridor, it should extend the Metro to Bowie or even Annapolis. Please, no HOV on Route 50.

W. J. Andahazy

Annapolis

Does the punishment fit the 'crime'?

The serious nature of bomb threats in the school environment and the cost to the community cannot be denied. But as a taxpayer, I plead with our legislators and school Superintendent Carol S. Parham to take a serious look at the long-term effects of their proposals.

The school discipline set forth by Dr. Parham is permanent expulsion from our school system. Does this punishment fit the "crime"? If a student is expelled, he is not allowed on school grounds, does not receive make-up work, cannot attend night school. Permanent expulsion would mean children could not attend school, regardless of their age, in Anne Arundel and more than likely in other counties in Maryland.

This dilemma seemingly contradicts the legislative intent of the compulsory education law for children between the ages of 5 and 16, and certainly federal law. Is this in consonance with the intent of our legislators who have enacted the compulsory xTC education law? Or should our legislators simultaneously modify the compulsory education act to reflect an exception for those students in Anne Arundel County who call in a bomb threat? What are the long-term economic impacts to our community in increased welfare and maintenance of persons?

Does the harsh punishment being taken by the school system and the justice system violate juveniles' (17 and under) constitutional rights? The juvenile is being held more accountable than the adult charged with the same crime, receiving cruel and unusual punishment from not one, but two sources: the superintendent of schools and either the juvenile or adult justice system.

Will our legislators ensure that due process is accorded these juveniles? Will the legislators set up an attorney fund to provide these juveniles their constitutional right to counsel, in both the school system and the justice system? If the parents have to pay restitution and send their children to private school ($5,000 or more per year), it is unlikely they will have enough funds to pay attorney costs for their child. If parents have the funds, will they be able to find a private school for their child? Will they be able to find an attorney willing to work through the lengthy administrative process of the school system?

I recommend that Dr. Parham and our legislators hold themselves accountable and take a look at the following aspects before rushing to enact legislation. Why are bomb threats seemingly concentrated at two school complexes, Old Mill and Southern? Are students in these two complexes more frustrated than at other schools? Why? What surveys has Dr. Parham taken, if any, regarding the morale of students at our schools? What impact is this having on the rise in bomb threats? Are children trying to give adults a message?

Our children deserve nothing less.

June A. Salanik

Crownsville

Deck owner fights for property rights

My letter is about the battle over the deck near the Magothy River ("More court fights on deck," Nov. 14).

Frank Citrano has spent a lot of money and gotten nowhere. I hate to say it, but he won't win that fight. Maybe by taking a different approach he can fight, not just for himself, but for the hundreds of people in similar situations.

A lot of people, including myself, feel it's not right that the state, county, community association and your neighbors can dictate what you can do with property on which you pay taxes.

I applaud Mr. Citrano's determination. I hope he, with the help of others, will ban together to change the laws that take away our rights.

Eileen Guthmann

Pasadena

Uplifting the poor through trade is wise

The Jack Germond and Jules Witcover column in The Sun of Nov. 17 quotes Dick Morris, deposed guru of the 1995-96 election cycle, as saying that President Clinton should promote the "fast-track" trade agreement on the basis of uplifting people in poverty.

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