Selling out parks is no 'win-win' dealIt was with...

LETTERS

May 17, 1998

Selling out parks is no 'win-win' deal

It was with revulsion that I read your article about the selling of park names to corporations ("Howard may sell name rights for parks," May 3).

How can Gary J. Arthur, director of the Department of Recreation and Parks, call it a "win-win" situation? How do our children win when everything in their world is seen as a product up for sale?

It's a shame but has become a fact of life, that large stadiums, like the Ravens, are associated with corporate logos. But our local parks, where children throw Frisbees, fish and play?

Business has one goal: to make money. Many nice people are in business, but not for long if they don't make money.

Richard Brady of David M. Griffith & Associates Ltd. believes that this will get businesses "to think that they have a stake in the jurisdiction," but what happens if the stake they hold is not what the community wants?

Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker, what are you thinking? Don't let them do it.

Marijane Monck

Columbia

Will revised policies for association matter?

To the Columbia Council: Congratulations. After 12 months (yes, it was April 27, 1997, that The Sun ran its article and Dec. 9, 1997, that Raffa & Associates P.C. released its report), you have finally approved a revised set of purchasing policies and procedures for the Columbia Association.

You could, of course, have shortened the time frame in adopting the revised policies and procedures by having CA staff members, who are paid by CA out of residents' assessments and user fees, prepare a proposed recommended set and then acted on those rather trying to devise your own from scratch.

But that would have required you to trust the staff to recognize the need for improvements and to proceed accordingly.

It would also have required that you view CA as a collaborative enterprise among Columbia's residents and employers, the Columbia Council and CA staff.

So now you have your purchasing manifesto and will have CA audited quarterly for compliance. Will you also assess its impact on CA's operating and capital expenses? Will it raise costs? (Remember what the consultants said at the Dec. 12 news conference, but not reported by the press nor included in the consultant's report: CA staff did not always follow CA's policies and procedures in order to obtain the best prices for CA).

You may not care, but your constituents just might.

Lanny J. Morrison

Columbia

The writer is a former chairman of the Columbia Council.

Keep token tax cut and use it to improve our schools

I was chagrined to read in The Sun that the Howard County school board's request for funding was being cut while a token tax cut is being proposed.

I would much prefer that the tax rate remain the same and the funding be restored to the school system. While I always appreciate a few more dollars in my pocket, the money would be spent in one night out; an investment in the education of our

county's children would have a lasting impact.

My daughter's school, Clemens Crossing Elementary, is trying hard to meet the Year 2000 goals for test scores and to meet the needs of all the children in the school.

This year, we started an experimental reading program where extra resources were given to the second-grade teachers to ensure that every child meets or exceeds grade level in reading by the end of the year. This program has been extremely successful, but it is labor-intensive. We would like to see the program expanded to other grades, but that will require funding for more aides.

Frankly, I am also concerned about the quality of the education at the middle-school level in Columbia. I hate to feel that I may need to leave Howard County out of fear that my child will not receive a superior education in a safe, disciplined environment.

I attended public school through law school, and I firmly believe in public education, but I cannot compromise my child's safety or education.

At Clemens Crossing, we know that we must "put our money where our mouths are." Our school tries hard to raise funds.

For example, we recently held a silent auction that was very successful, and the school community supports the Giant Food program, "Apples for the Students." The funds that we can raise are merely a drop in the bucket compared with the impact that the County Council's budget has on the schools.

The county is fortunate to have retained commited, caring teachers and administrators through the lean fiscal times. It is time for Howard County to recognize that although our school system is good, it could be much better with the resources available here. This is no time for a tax cut. There is work to be done in our schools.

Susan Getz Kerbel

Columbia

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Running and maintaining an excellent school system requires a lot of money. As taxpayers in Howard County, however, we expect to pay for and receive a high-quality education.

I appreciate the thought of a $51 tax refund, but not at the expense of my (or anyone else's) child's education.

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