Sting targets had convictions for drunken drivingI read...

Letters

January 24, 1999

Sting targets had convictions for drunken driving

I read your editorial on Jan. 13 on the Howard County sting operation ("Driving without a license"). I appreciated your article on Jan. 8 and the subsequent editorial, but all of the people ordered in were previously convicted of a drunken driving offense that caused the suspension of their driver's licenses.

They were ordered to see their monitor of the Drinking Driver Monitor Program, part of the state Division of Parole and Probation. The public should know that a good percentage of the probationers caught for driving while suspended -- and therefore breaking the law and violating their probation -- may be drinking and driving again.

This is a definite public safety threat. This is why these stings are necessary.

Frank Turban

Ellicott City

The writer is Monitor II for the Drinking Driver Monitor Program of the state Division of Parole and Probation.

Some thoughts on CA, village boards

As the Columbia Council debates the relationships between the Columbia Association and the village associations, here is some food for thought:

Should CA control the village associations? CA cannot. The village associations are independent, separately incorporated entities.

Should CA control the management of the facilities housing the village associations? CA owns the facilities and can, therefore, replace the village associations as the active managers of the facilities. But why would CA want to? For 30-some years, the village associations have successfully managed, by any measure, these facilities.

Should CA require a common chart of accounts for the village associations? CA cannot because of the village associations' legal independence. However, it is not unreasonable that there actually be a common chart of accounts, which the village associations agreed to more than a year ago. Read the fiscal year '99 CA proposed budget for this and other agreements reached, for example.

Should CA require specific internal controls? Once again, CA cannot. However, the boards of the village associations should adopt as stringent internal controls to protect against theft and loss as are reasonably feasible (and which most village associations have already done).

Should CA control village association budgets? Once again, CA cannot. In theory, CA could dictate how community association "grants" may be used. However, I am familiar with legal opinions asserting the rights of village associations as having the first claim on assessments.

Should CA control village association financial services? Ditto, ten times over.

Should CA require annual audits of the village associations? CA could, to the extent independence assessment issues are resolved. However, the boards of the village associations, in their fiduciary roles, should have been requiring audits anyway.

So where are the compelling interests to change? Is it a need to feed the Columbia Council's collective ego and thirst for power and control? Is the council somehow jealous of the village associations' independent successes?

The Columbia Council needs to recognize both the legal and historic precedents established in its relationships with the village associations, flush the "slush fund" and other sound-bite mentality, and begin behaving in a reasoned and mature manner to back up its rhetoric of desiring greater community involvement. Strong-arming engenders neither goodwill nor support.

Lanny J. Morrison

Columbia

The writer is former chairman of the Columbia Council.

A strong economy at families' expense

The good economy the president is taking credit for needs to be looked at from another viewpoint. We are told that the economy is better than ever. Every citizen of our country (especially the average and poor) should examine the total consequence of the value of more money in our pockets.

It takes at least two working in the family just to make ends meet. If this is true -- and it is -- we must then examine the process to see the end result. Two working in the family results in unsupervised children, crime, high drug use, sexual disease out of control, more divorce and so on.

We have a credit-card economy, keeping users in constant debt. Bankruptcy and foreclosures are up. Cardboard houses are for sale at $100,000-plus. Good jobs are going to foreign countries and replaced with part-time service jobs. Homelessness is up. Most disgusting is that some of our military personnel are on food stamps.

Since 1970, the cost of homes is up 700 percent; cars, 800 percent; rentals, 650 percent; food, 500 percent; clothing, 400 percent, and, yes, salaries are up 80 percent. But the dollar value has decreased by about 600 percent.

We took one step forward and six backward. Are you willing to sacrifice your children for the so-called "good" economy? It's the dollar value, stupid.

David A. Dilegge

Ellicott City

Let's make King's day a day for Lee, too

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