Don't keep score when it comes to people of colorI read...

LETTERS

January 18, 1998

Don't keep score when it comes to people of color

I read David H. Barrett's Jan. 4 letter, "Howard's new leaders will need to act to make the county more inclusive."

The effect "from the other America" is stated in Mr. Barrett's second paragraph. It continues with his concern for people of color.

For anyone to be taken seriously about how a minority is treated, I submit that the use of "the other America" is not the way to achieve that which he is looking for.

I'm a twice-married male who has helped raise seven children. The seventh child, currently 16, is our first child of color. Her coming to us was a Reader's Digest-type story, but believe me, we have walked in the shoes of those who are of a different color. I state this only to qualify myself as a white male who feels qualified to discuss Mr. Barrett's letter through personal experiences.

When my 16-year-old daughter has a birthday and we invite 15 of her closest friends, it's like a mini-United Nations. The minority at her party is the white race. We have no Mr. Barrett's keeping score, so we have no issue other than the party and having a good time.

Frankly, I'm more concerned about people who keep score and the effect those people will have on my daughter's future than I am about the issues Mr. Barrett raised.

I get more stares to this day from people of color when they see my daughter and me having a good time while in the public than I do from white folks.

Do I believe there is racism in our society, along with drugs, permissiveness and a breakdown in the family structure? You bet I do.

Having spent her entire life in Howard County, my daughter hasn't suffered her first encounter about the color of her skin.

Unfortunately, with people constantly calling our attention to those whom some of us see as different, she will.

John C. Derr

Laurel

Ecker loses my vote after sacking Bourne

Is it ever the practice of The Sun to print a retraction of a letter to the editor?

You were kind enough to print my thoughts on Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker after Michael Olesker wrote about him raking his leaves and contemplating the governor's race ("Ecker looks for issues among the leaves," Nov. 16).

I was quite complimentary of Dr. Ecker. But then he went and sacked parks and recreation chief Jeffrey A. Bourne for bringing a little levity into the Smith farm debate with a less-than-serious proposal of an Olympic village rising in the fields along Route 175.

It would appear that the county executive is himself without a sense of humor, as he once accused Cecilia Januszkiewicz, former chairwoman of the Long Reach Village Board, during discussion on his unkept promise of a divided grade interchange at Snowden River Parkway and 175.

That's when it became obvious that the interchange had been quietly tabled in favor of a ridiculous proposal for a dispersed-movement intersection that Dr. Ecker was attempting to foist upon us.

Jeff Bourne is well-regarded by all accounts. He has a long history of service to this county. He is smart and likable, not your image of a typical bureaucrat. He clearly had the best interests of all parties in mind, keeping the debate lively and inviting us to think in larger terms about common problems.

Dr. Ecker made a genuine mistake in forcing his resignation. I withdraw my support for his run at the State House because I cannot imagine the dull and bloodless Cabinet he might assemble.

Forget all that other stuff I said before.

John J. Snyder

Columbia

HCC's Phil Chenier a star off the court, too

A Columbia resident played a starring role in the recent closing of the USAirways Arena. All Howard County can take pride in one of our own.

During halftime Nov. 29 of the final National Basketball Association game played at the facility, 12 of the greatest players in Washington Bullets franchise history were honored.

Among them was Phil Chenier, a three-time NBA all-star who ranks sixth in all-time scoring, fifth in free-throw percentage and third in steals.

That month, Phil Chenier reached another milestone: 10 years as director of student life and athletics at Howard Community College. For a decade, Phil has contributed immensely to the community by helping young people get a solid start on their own illustrious careers.

On behalf of HCC faculty, staff and students, I congratulate Phil Chenier -- a truly great county resident.

Dr. Linda C. Jolly

Columbia

The writer is interim president of Howard Community College.

Editorial was wrong on school budget plan

Your Jan. 12 editorial "Surplus, schools and sanitation" incorrectly stated that "[c]ounty Superintendent Michael E. Hickey is seeking the largest dollar increase in the school system's history."

During 1989 to 1992, the school budget increases were about $20 million,and the percentage increases ranged from 11.8 percent to 16 percent, compared with this year's 7.3 percent increase.

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