Editorial cast doubt on abilities of police officerAfter...

Letters

January 31, 1999

Editorial cast doubt on abilities of police officer

After reading the Jan. 25 editorial, "Using deadly force," I was haunted by the sentence, "Sgt. Bellido de Luna is a traffic officer who responded to the call because he was nearby."

This suggests that Sgt. A. J. Bellido de Luna's training is restricted to traffic issues and that he irresponsibly responded to a call he was unprepared to handle. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Sgt. Bellido de Luna is a Howard County police officer who also heads the traffic division. The additional training officers receive when they take on a "specialty" position only increases their skills and knowledge. The men and women of the Howard County Police Department give 110 percent of themselves to the community. As a highly regarded source of local news, I believe you have a responsibility to not provide the public with information that may weaken their confidence in our police officers.

Darcy J. Bellido de Luna

Columbia

The writer is the wife of Howard County Police Sgt. A. J. Bellido de Luna.

`Greenwash verbiage' on Patapsco plans

The resignation of Charles Wagandt as chairman of the Patapsco Valley Greenway Committee may relieve him of the discomforts of a bad public perception of conflict of interest, but his handing over leadership to a landscape consultant does little to address the concerns of taxpayers about the environment and good government.

Until we can get some really straight talk about just why the Patapsco plans (all versions) must be predicated on otherwise indefensible construction projects within the state park, we will continue to raise questions.

Why have we yet to see any serious environmental review? Why has there yet to be any opportunity for public participation in the decision-making process (not to be confused with invitations to public relations presentations)?

Why are so many county and state staff working on the (closed) steering committee for the Greenway Committee if the committee is a private group, sometimes even referred to as a "grass-roots group," and recipient of public grants? Where are the public records on expenditures of the public funds? Who is in charge that can provide answers?

Let the developers and consultants do their thing for restoration and historical preservation outside the park, and let them do this on their own nickel or with carefully stipulated development loans -- not Program Open Space funds. Meanwhile, citizens interested in keeping the public lands public and the public purse accountable deserve much more than hollow greenwash verbiage.

Vivian Newman

Marriottsville

Route 144 project not fully understood

While I do appreciate the publicity in The Sun Dec. 5 ("Losing a slice of their life"), it is clear to me that your reading public probably does not understand a number of issues.

I would urge everyone who uses the Route 144 and Route 32 corridor, especially those who frequent the fairgrounds, businesses, shopping center and who may use the proposed public golf course and county offices, to review this proposed traffic nightmare.

Not enough of the general public understands the ecological ramifications of this plan. As designed, it will affect other waterways and wildlife habitat. Much of the topography is unsuitable for this design.

Although the article gave an affected number of acres as 3, the actual number to be lost to [our] farm for this project is approximately 7. Though the article stated that the farm comprises 96 acres, only 71 are farmable. So the net loss is not 3 from 96, but 7 from 71 -- quite a difference.

I would think that someone besides the owners of affected properties would take a leadership role and step in to offer the State Highway Administration some options and alternative designs so that future users of this interchange will not bemoan what we are about to get stuck with.

Teresa Stonesifer

West Friendship

Student work camp raises questions

I am concerned about the purpose and quality of the work camp for trash cleanup proposed at Wilde Lake High School to train ninth- and 10th-graders during the summer. I believe that any Columbia Association funds spent on teen-age programs should be more meaningful to the students for their future.

First, the Columbia Association and the Howard County Board of Education, which has offered free space for this program, should always try to include all of its residents in any summer program. This project excludes all other ninth- and 10th-graders from participating and sharing in the proposed free package plan memberships. Although Atholton is in this area, its students are excluded from participating.

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