Cartoon apology overlooked key partiesIn response to the...

LETTERS

September 20, 1998

Cartoon apology overlooked key parties

In response to the letter from Cecil Bray ("In defense of Stephen Drummond," Sept. 6), the Howard County chapter of the NAACP is pleased to learn that an expression of regret had been voiced by the former police officer regarding the slave cartoon.

Unfortunately, the apology was offered to the wrong person. Mr. Bray was not the recipient of the unprofessional behavior at the police department.

According to our complainants, Mr. Drummond has never expressed remorse or regret to the police officer involved in the case nor the Centurions for Justice, the African-American police organization which lodged the protest. Mr. Bray cannot serve as a surrogate apologist for Mr. Drummond.

The NAACP has a tradition of believing in the redemptive possibilities of all human beings. We are quick to grant forgiveness.

However, there can be no redemption without remorse. The e-mail to Mr. Bray should have been sent to the aggrieved parties at the police department.

The NAACP is right on target on this issue. Our primary concern is the welfare of students.

The police mentality of ascribing criminal behavior to all infractions involving African Americans is well-documented. This mentality has no place in the school environment.

It has been reported to the NAACP that the position of investigator was originally slated to be filled by an African-American school employee who had a background in law enforcement.

The salary compensation was drastically reduced, making the position unattractive to anyone other than a retiree with an independent income. The playing field continues to tilt when the players include African Americans.

Jenkins Odoms Jr.

Natalie W. Woodson

Columbia

The writers are, respectively, president and education committee chair of the Howard County chapter of the NAACP.

Leadership lower on fund-raising scale

As campaign finance reports are filed with the State Election Board and made public, voters should pay attention to who raises how much and from whom.

In spite of concern and even disgust over campaign financing and fund-raising on a national level, many candidates for local and statewide office operate on the assumption that amassing the largest war chest will demonstrate to an undiscerning public that this bandwagon is on a roll.

The race for Howard County executive is a case in point. Dennis R. Schrader leads the pack, far out-raising and outspending his primary Republican opponent and James N. Robey, the Democrat. Mr. Schrader, like many other candidates, has worn this achievement as a badge of pride and signal of his popularity.

That is, until it became clear where much of the money came from -- contractors he is in a position to look with favor on in his capacity as an official with the University of Maryland Medical System. While he insisted that nothing was wrong with this, he promised to pay most of it back to avoid a "wrong appearance."

Many candidates operate on the assumption that amassing the largest war chest will demonstrate that this bandwagon is on a roll.

Could it be that the better place to find public servants more likely to provide good judgment and even-handed, fair and responsible leadership is somewhere lower on the fund-raising scale?

Joyce Starnes

Columbia

'Developer' is not a dirty word

A number of candidates in Howard County have declared they will not accept donations from builders and developers. The media and segments of the public applaud this independent gesture as a way to control growth.

This is an insult to builders and developers. It is not a crime to develop land or build a home in Howard County. Growth is not a four-letter word.

Builders and developers such as Gary Clark, Chip Lundy, Dale Thompson, Richard Awalt and many others have not only built beautiful neighborhoods, but provided jobs for hundreds of Howard County residents. They have also contributed to charitable functions and donated parcels of land for church and recreational use.

Certainly, there are developers who have acted in questionable and unethical ways. In any profession, you will have good and bad.

A story in The Sun last summer had comments from a resident in Fulton who complained of growth. She had told of how she moved to Howard County and loved it so much that she had talked all of her relatives and friends into moving here from Prince George's County. Now, she wants the growth to stop. It is this contagious, twisted logic that the media endorse.

Howard County is one of the best places to live in the Baltimore-Washington area. People want to move here for the same reasons we did. To achieve true "managed growth," we must include those honest businessmen who have provided jobs and built our homes in the past.

Timothy McCoy

Ellicott City

The writer, a real estate agent, was a Republican candidate for the Howard County Council in District 1.

Show of force inside didn't deter crime outside pavilion

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