At Smith Farm, our oft-maligned system workedCarping at...

Letters

August 23, 1998

At Smith Farm, our oft-maligned system worked

Carping at our elected officials is always good sport. Sometimes, it may even become a podium-thumping exercise where the rules of engagement are foggy and private agendas veer wildly off the topic, but mostly it is hung on the sincere complaint of a single gored ox or the perceived slight.

The seasoned administrator deftly handles this stuff in a manner that seeks to calm and placate the speaker showing respect for the opinion and discomfort of the aggrieved and moving the laborious proceedings along after taking notes for further study.

Sometimes, the worst of the hurts will come when after years of a condition boiling away below the surface, it suddenly is evidenced as it pops into view, like forgetting to check the county's general plan when buying a house next to open space and finding out a high school has long been proposed for the site when bulldozers are seen being off-loaded from flatbeds.

Standard procedure, of course, is to alert the press, call the politicals and bat about conspiracy theories at PTA meetings and soccer games, fomenting dissent and revealing a desire to raise up the drawbridge to forestall the inevitable. However, every now and then something comes along to put a little sheen on the dull system we like to blame and prove that working together will benefit most of the people most of the time.

This happened two weeks ago, when a small universe of locals witnessed Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Republican County Executive Charles I. Ecker ushering Blandaire (nee the Smith Farm) into the public trust and away from the portfolios of development companies.

The heirs of Nancy Smith apparently always wanted what the majority of countians dreamed of. It's a fine lesson for the kids, that the judicious application of reasonable sentiment to the hearts and minds of public officials often enough produces a desirable result. In other words, register and vote and don't keep your opinions to yourself, be fair in your assessments of the legislative record but expect a high level of quality from those who choose the honorable path of public service.

John J. Snyder

Columbia

Cave has experience to be sheriff

I wanted to take this opportunity to inform the public about the misinformation bring put before the public for a candidate for sheriff in Howard County.

I noticed a bumper sticker for someone who claimed to be the most experienced candidate?

The only candidate for sheriff with experience in the Howard County Sheriff's Office is Chuck Cave.

He has served as chief deputy for the past eight years and before that as a Maryland state trooper for 28, retiring as a detective sergeant.

I had the privilege of working for Mr. Cave for nearly four years as director of the Howard County Sheriff's community service program.

Mr. Cave and Sheriff Michael Chiuchiolo restructured the office to meet the growing needs of the citizens of Howard County.

Experience does count. Only Chuck Cave has it.

Neil E. Dorsey

Columbia

Ethics requirements must get stronger

I found The Sun's editorial on ethics on Aug. 7 interesting ("Drawing clear lines on legislative ethics").

The state ethics commission chairman, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, is wrong to insist that a legislator is entitled to accept one meeting/entertainment offer from any lobbyist.

Mr. Cardin also insists that any legislator may attend any affair offered to all the legislators by a lobbyist.

So if a tobacco company or a power company invites all the members, it is OK? However, if these parties are really looked upon as a means to gather with the local teachers, for example, or for interfacing with other state groups, then the state should sponsor them.

Every elected and appointed official should attend 25 hours of ethics classes every term. And perhaps some classes in the law and the Constitution.

The present council members in Howard County do not meet any set of standards. We need state standards for all elected and appointed officials. Local officials are protected by the persons they appoint to their ethics boards.

I wrote one Midwestern corporate CEO and asked him why he provided baseball box seats to the Howard County Council members. He had just received national recognition for business ethics in his company.

He never answered. I raised the issue of a mayor serving as chairman of the board of a local bank.

The answer came back: We do not expect elected officials to sever all local ties.

James M. Holway

Ellicott City

Correction

A box Wednesday incorrectly included Guilford in Howard County Councilmanic District 3. It is in District 2.

The Sun regrets the error.

Pub Date: 8/23/98

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