Redistricting won't cure school crowdingI would like to...

LETTERS

January 11, 1998

Redistricting won't cure school crowding

I would like to provide additional information for your editorial from Jan. 1, "The year ahead in Maryland."

Comprehensive redistricting will not solve the problem of overcrowding in Anne Arundel County. The high schools in Anne Arundel County and the state in general are feeling the effects of the "baby boom echo."

Your newspaper reported on this Aug. 2: , "Md. public high schools expected to enroll 263,000 students in 2007; Student boom strains schools in Md., nation." The misconception that redistricting will solve our problems delays us in planning long-term solutions to overcrowding and its effect on our students' education and current school facilities.

Local redistricting is just one component to address overcrowding. The other is providing school facilities in areas where they are needed because of rapidly rising enrollments. For example, West County is one of the main growth areas for Anne Arundel. Its feeder system is the most overcrowded in the county. There will not be enough seats in the three nearest high schools or the county to accommodate the 1,570 students by which Arundel High School will be overcapacity in 2006.

It is not a matter of redistricting.

It is a matter of not having enough seats to accommodate our students.

Cynthia Johnston

Crofton

State lottery suffering from over-long odds

The state lottery has been in trouble because its goals have been continually revised by politicians and wealthy appointees who don't even understand why people play it. With that kind of help it will ultimately fail.

Buddy Roogow, the new director of the Maryland Lottery, is dreaming if he thinks people will play it for "show biz." The people who play the lottery are playing it to win the "Big One." They are average family members trying to boost their standard of living, compulsive gamblers who will play anything and the desperate poor who toss in their last buck with hopes of becoming rich.

After World War II, when jobs were scarce, I was employed by a company that sold and repaired gambling machines. Such devices were still legal in some Maryland counties and in the service clubs at all of the military bases. The machines that were set as tight as possible by greedy machine operators were lightly played by visitors to the location, who didn't know the odds. Machines that were set loosely to give a person a break were played constantly. Everybody who played them thought they were winning, even the people who worked on them. Of course, the operators were still making a very good percentage. That is where the Maryland Lottery's strategy has gone wrong. The odds have consistently been tightened to try to meet political promises. Chintzy pay-outs have caused many regular players to quit playing. Anybody who thinks that the state's income will increase by calling the lottery "show biz" might as well say, "Let the peasants eat cake."

Take a chance yourselves, Maryland Lottery! Loosen the odds! You will be surprised at the outcome.

!Charles W. Brasse Jr.

Pasadena

Sickened by violence? Help neighborhoods

I am writing because the nightly parade of violence on the news detailing how someone else has been murdered or hurt has finally reached its limit with me. I feel terribly bad for everyone who has been touched by the violence of late. You have indeed suffered greatly, and we are all touched by your grief and loss.

What I would like to suggest is that although those who see the flowers and the stuffed animals surely find some comfort in those symbols of empathy and support, in the long run they solve nothing.

How many times have we heard someone exclaim they "can't believe it happened here." I would like to suggest that if each of these neighbors really want to help, than these neighborhoods should start looking out for each other. Neighborhood Watch programs have significantly helped to reduce crime in Annapolis over the last two years. The reported crimes in 1997 are less

than half of those reported in 1995.

Everyone in the community is responsible for the living &r conditions that people have to deal with. If your community refuses to have drugs in it, you won't have them. If you refuse to have conditions exist where crime can find its opportunity more readily, you will decrease crime.

I am not saying that this is an easy accomplishment. A lot of hard work and effort is required. In the end though, you'll have a community you feel proud of and safe in. If you really want to honor the memories of those innocent and decent people, start working together to decrease the crime in your area. Contact your district police department and ask to speak with someone about a Neighborhood Watch program. Then, when you think of these people, their memory can be honored by having made the impact that brought everyone together to make life better where you live.

Susan Bailey

Annapolis

The writer is a block coordinator and instructor for Operation N.O. C.R.I.M.E.

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