More humane solutions than killing deerAs a taxpayer of...


September 27, 1998

More humane solutions than killing deer

As a taxpayer of Howard County for nine years, I feel very strongly that I should now add my voice to that of Animal Advocates of Howard County in vehemently protesting any proposed deer hunts for the fall/winter of 1998-99.

I read in the Washington Post on Aug. 13 about a survey that revealed a big herd of deer in Howard County and the county considering another fall hunt. This action is reprehensible. Animals deserve a chance to live among us. There are many other ways to control them.

Look at the creative things Gaithersburg in Montgomery County did last year to control deer after a developer built townhouses on a large parcel. The city built a tunnel under Frederick Road (Route 355) and directed the deer, by the use of fencing, through the tunnel to fields on either side of the busy highway. It also installed along parts of the road a series of Strieter road reflectors, proven to be effective in keeping deer out of highways at night.

Research has shown other successful methods implemented by creative counties and states, such as contraception and more street lights, especially on narrow, winding roads where drivers can't see far ahead. Deer whistles attached to bumpers of cars is an experimental, cheap way of protecting the driver and the animals.

Have home owners use nearly invisible netting on shrubs. There is no reason to kill deer simply because home owners are annoyed that deer are eating their plants. That is absurd and ridiculous. It is reasonable to assume that homeowners would realize that buying a lot in a wooded area exposes them to wildlife.

Deer hunts are not the answer to preventing road accidents, Lyme disease, shrub damage, deer starvation, etc. Deer hunts are expensive to organize and implement (using taxpayer money). They are dangerous to deer and humans, as humans have been killed accidently by overzealous and/or inexperienced hunters. It is tragic to kill an adult deer who has fawns (left orphaned) and it can be destructive to the environment.

Debra Christner


History lesson in order on racism

This is in response to Harold Jackson's column Sept. 13 in The Sun in Howard regarding the county's efforts to hire more black teachers. While his comments are generally positive in regard to the NAACP's efforts to focus the attention on the hiring practices of the school administration, his comments on timeworn tactics used by the organization seem offbase.

If you are new to the county and to Maryland, a history lesson on the practices of hiring and education of blacks here is in order.

Howard County has had a long history of discrimination as it relates to blacks. This has carried over into all the areas of government. The 1996 defeat of Donna Hill Staton for a judgeship is one indication. The hiring by the school administration of a police officer with a questionable past is another. The platform against affirmative action by county councilman Charles C. Feaga is still another. The list goes on.

Let me remind you of a statement that I heard sometime ago and that is appropriate today: "People do not do what is expected. People do when inspected." If not for the NAACP keeping a watchful eye on the activities in this country in regards to potential discrimination, we would not be where we are today.

Nat Alston


Investigation of school hires overdue

Both Harold Jackson's column of Sept. 13 and a Sun editorial Sept. 14 ("Bias in Howard school hiring?") take the NAACP to task more for the way it made its argument than for the facts. Admittedly, the use of statistics relating hiring and staffing of African American teachers to the percentages of African-American students may not be the most appropriate statistic.

The danger in tying African-American jobs to any number is that the number becomes a ceiling rather than a floor. African-American teachers who apply should be hired even if there were no African American students. However, any statistic can be refuted with another statistic. What is more important is that where there is smoke, there is fire.

An investigation of the board's hiring, promotion and utilization practices is long overdue. Many qualified African-American countians are hired by neighboring jurisdiction after being denied employment, not even being interviewed, or told that their application was lost.

Also, there is the issue of lack of career mobility opportunities: jobs are filled that are not announced. Some non-African Americans have been hired for jobs even when they did not apply; interviewees are failed for spurious reasons; assignments are made to the so-called "black schools" because of the comfort level. The only door out of the classroom is to become a school-based administrator, regardless of one's education and certification. Finally, many African-American non-teaching personnel have been demoted or had their roles reduced through reassignment, reorganization or reclassification.

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