Charter panel did a fine job of dodging obstaclesThe...

LETTERS

March 08, 1998

Charter panel did a fine job of dodging obstacles

The citizens of Carroll County owe the members of the charter committee a large debt of gratitude. The committee overcame determined opposition from the county commissioners and many other obstacles to deliver a practical and equitable charter in only nine months.

The panel recognized the major flaws in the first charter and eliminated them. To many people, the idea of not being able to cast a direct vote for the county executive reminded them of closed-door, political deal-making where the executive would be beholden to the council members who supported his or her nomination.

In addition, attempts to require a referendum or super-majority vote on any tax increase would have seriously undermined the ability of our elected officials to govern effectively. Anyone who has lived in Carroll County for more than a couple of years has seen the problems that arise from our inability to write our own laws. They should have seen the problems of being governed by three commissioners with sometimes differing agendas.

Expanding to five commissioners would only make a bad situation worse. It's time for Carroll County to have one government with elected representatives from each district and one elected executive who is directly accountable for his or her decisions.

As with any proposal, no guarantees exist that the change to a charter form of government will be the remedy for everything that has gone wrong the past 10 years. Even so, I believe it will mean a better, more responsive government for all Carroll countians.

John Napp

Eldersburg

Assembly should pass sexual-predator bills

Do Maryland's children need another law to protect them from the more dangerous, paroled child molesters, rapists and murderers? Maryland is one of 25 states that have or are considering legislation modeled on the Kansas statute deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. Each of the bills filed this year (House Bill 26 and Senate bills 186 and 171) requires mental hospitalization "until the person is safe to be at large."

We need such a law. Our judicial system may deter some of the less serious sex offenders. However, the more disturbed paroled predator is likely to pounce again.

Maryland's Warren C. "Ice" Berry befriended boys on a Baltimore basketball court before he raped and killed an 11-year-old.

Neither prisons nor parole boards have the machinery to determine which prisoner is likely to strike again. The sexual-predator bills under consideration would provide extensive diagnostic and treatment services.

Currently, discharged prisoners are followed by often-overloaded probation officers who can return the parolee to prison after he violates parole, threatens, hurts or kills another child.

Does Maryland need some form of sexual-predator act? Yes.

M. Alexander Jones

Hampstead

Comments in survey are unbelievable

Upon reading the article "Low-cost housing plans OK'd in 2 Carroll towns after 4 years of delay" (Feb. 15), I found myself scratching my head in disbelief over the residents of Carroll County who showed Interfaith Housing of Western Maryland indifference or hostility.

The 510 countians surveyed also said lower housing prices "would attract people from Baltimore and a variety of people who do not share their values and moral standards." This statement is unbelieveable to me, not only as a resident of the county, but as a member of the human race.

We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers during our short stay on this earth, rewarded for whatever we do for the least of us. Fear is a terrible emotion. It takes away so much of our energy.

So often we hear about injustices in other areas of the world and ask, "How can this happen?" We need to embrace those in need here in our neighborhoods. If we are able to help others, the benefits available to ourselves, our families, our community and our county will be beyond mere mortal measure.

Instead of looking at affordable housing with fear, let's use the good four-letter word of "love" for one another. Let's not just speak about our values and moral standards. Let's put positive, loving actions behind these words.

Words come easily, but actions done in love speak much more and are heard even better.

Joyce Forney

Union Bridge

Sheriff Brown erred in handling of inmate

On Feb. 19, the Carroll County Times reported that a teen-age inmate assaulted a Carroll County correctional officer in a dispute over watching television.

The officer was attacked when he entered a cell to remove a mop inmates use to reach through the cell bars to work the television, the paper said. The inmate jumped on the officer and struck him at least four times, causing a fractured nose and a cut above the eye that took nine stitches to close.

County Sheriff John H. Brown was quoted as saying that the "viciousness of the attack was unbelievable." Another official said several officers had to pull the inmate off the officer.

The inmate was serving a two-year sentence for a string of burglaries and is charged with assaulting another correctional officer in September, the paper reported. That case is pending.

Considering the inmate's record:

Why would Sheriff Brown permit a correctional officer to enter his jail cell alone?

Why does the sheriff allow inmates to keep mops in their cells that can be used as weapons?

Why would he permit a hazardous, unnecessary practice with the potential of liability to the state and county?

The citizens of Carroll County deserve a leader who can adapt, improvise and implement the resources allocated to accomplish his duties.

Kenneth L. Tregoning

Union Bridge

The writer is a Republican candidate for Carroll County sheriff.

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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