What's next? General Motors' Grand Canyon?An article in...

LETTERS

May 24, 1998

What's next? General Motors' Grand Canyon?

An article in The Sun May 3 bore the headline, "Howard may sell name rights for parks," gave me the shivers. Yet when I raised the subject with acquaintances I was even more shocked: Most told me they didn't really care nor understand my question. What has our society come to? What does naming a park for a company say about our culture and values?

We are collectively referred to as "the American consumer," rather than as "the American citizenry" (or other appropriate term). Consumption and corporations making money (in this case, communities selling their identities to corporations) seem to be the primary motivators of an entire nation. Many of our sports stadium names carry corporate sponsorships, bringing us one step closer to the world of the 1975 film "Rollerball."

Set in the 21st century, it had huge transnational corporations ruling all aspects of life and sports.

Will we soon have our children asking to go see the General Motors Grand Canyon?

Michael Greenman

Ellicott City

Head-wrap article was off the mark

The May 10 article in The Sun in Howard by the Rev. Robert A. F. Turner about the history of African-American clothing was interesting, but otherwise irrelevant to the recent controversy surrounding Shermia Isaacs. The major flaw in Mr. Turner's analysis is that, unlike the law of 18th century South Carolina, no suggestion has been made that the Howard County dress code provide one set of rules for African-American students and a different set for everybody else.

I'm incensed that Howard County taxpayers have had to spend a small fortune to defend a race-neutral school dress code just because some people are more interested in making some kind of misdirected statement than they are in education.

I'm further incensed that the school board provided an in-home teacher for Ms. Isaacs, who chose not to go to school, when much more pressing needs face our schools.

James D. Walsh

Columbia

Wave of students justifies new school

The May 11 editorial, "Why Ecker resists new school," notes that the recent lower-than-predicted rate of home construction in Howard might help to explain County Executive Charles I. Ecker's opposition to building another high school.

While home construction, primarily in southern Howard with three mixed-use districts planned, is certainly a key factor fueling the need for a new high school, an even stronger indicator is the tidal wave of students rolling through Howard elementary and middle schools.

This is because of the building boom of the 1980s and early '90s and the continued attraction of Howard County to families with school-age children.

School officials want to build a high school before the current high schools are drowned in waves of students that even more portable classrooms and additions can't contain.

Anne M. Darr

Clarksville

Archiving Columbia's brushes with royalty

A royal welcome will await the Queen of Soul and her appearance at the Columbia Festival of the Arts, but avid royal watchers and longtime Columbians will remember that this is not the first time Columbia "had the honor of playing host to royalty," as noted in "Aretha Franklin to star at festival" (April 17).

On April 6, 1976, Columbia hosted Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf. According to the Baltimore Evening Sun the next day, the monarch was interested in touring Columbia because Sweden had a history of involvement with planned towns.

The king was escorted through the young city by Columbia's founder James Rouse, Gov. Marvin Mandel, Columbia Association President Padraic Kennedy and others during his visit.

Columbia's history is rich and is being carefully preserved and exhibited by The Columbia Archives, a service of the Columbia Association.

Barbara Kellner

Columbia

The writer is director of the Columbia Archives. School board budget deliberations, normally a dreary affair for me, were enlivened two weeks ago by an outpouring of bona fide concern on the part of parents, teachers and Howard County businesses. A long list of earnest speakers shared their views.

From the precocious grade-schoolers to the impassioned pleas of Del. Frank Turner until the morning hours when the sound reasoning of county hospital President Victor Broccolino could finally be heard, one knowing voice after another joined in the effort to maintain the excellence of our schools.

Superintendent Michael Hickey was right to raise the alarm.

I am quiet pleased that The Sun reports a rethinking of the budget in favor of the children.

I am proud of all the citizens who let their council persons know their feelings.

It illustrates for the students especially that people are the real force in government and that this participatory form of democracy we often take for granted needs a little exercise now and then to keep in shape.

John J. Snyder

Columbia

Task force takes high road on proposal

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