Columbia isn't a `bedroom community'The article headlined...


August 01, 1999

Columbia isn't a `bedroom community'

The article headlined, "Columbia blossoms from bedroom town into cultural center" (July 22), does a fine job of portraying the expanding cultural life of the city.

However, the sentence, "Started more than three decades ago by the late James W. Rouse as the quintessential bedroom community," is a most unfortunate error that would have deeply troubled Mr. Rouse.

Columbia was anything but the "quintessential bedroom community." Columbia was planned from the beginning to be a complete small city with opportunities for the development of a full cultural life for all its residents.

The fact that the city has more than 60,000 jobs, together with an enormous wealth of cultural, social and community institutions are tribute to the original plan.

With the current attention being given to "smart growth," it might be well to pay heed to the lessons of Mr. Rouse's foresight.

W. Scott Ditch

Royal Oak

The writer is a retired vice president of the Rouse Co. and was on the original planning team for Columbia.

Staying plugged in via the Internet

On July 6, the Howard County Council unanimously passed a resolution that I introduced encouraging County Executive James Robey to post various documents from the Department of Planning and Zoning on the Internet.

Some of the documents included are waiver petition decisions, planning board recommendations, meeting notices for the Board of Appeals and planning board, among others.

This legislation is groundbreaking because it opens up government to ordinary citizens and informs people on issues of planning and zoning.

Many people have expressed frustration to me because they may have been unaware of meetings affecting a change of zoning in their neighborhood, or they may not have known about technical documents and studies conducted by the county.

By posting such documents on the Internet and making the process more user-friendly, it is my hope that we can level the playing field and give residents a fighting chance to protect their neighborhood.

I understand how difficult it is for residents to visit county offices during business hours. It is prudent to use the Internet to disseminate government documents to our residents.

Additionally, the council recently made available on the Internet the Howard County Code and pending legislation.

Other new electronic services include automatic e-mail delivery of council agendas and meeting information.

Christopher J. Merdon

Ellicott City

The writer is a member of the Howard County Council, representing the 1st Councilmanic District.

Olesker's criticism of Bush hollow

After reading Michael Olesker's column, "Candidate Bush Comes Up Empty in Baltimore Visit" (July 18), I've come to an obvious conclusion about his credibility as a journalist: He has none.

Not only did his litany of drivel reveal blatant political bias, it also revealed a lack of factual knowledge of issues such as poverty or gun control.

He indirectly assailed George W. Bush's character by accusing him of inserting the word "compassionate" in front of "conservative."

It really steams liberals when a conservative can dodge the demagogic label that conservatives are not compassionate.

To paraphrase Rep. J. C. Watts, true compassion is not measured in dollars, but by results.

Second, he mentions the poverty, drugs and vacant houses that are common to areas of Baltimore, such as the area that Mr. Bush was visiting.

Fair enough. But, then he criticizes him for supposedly "dodging" the issue by not explaining "what his administration might actually do for [these] places."

Seems like a fair question to raise (and it should be raised), except that there is a better question to ask: Why haven't the liberal Democrats who have dominated Maryland politics for decades done anything about the outdated textbooks, drugs, crime, dilapidated housing, etc?

Give Mikulski, Sarbanes, Glendening, Townsend, Schaefer, Schmoke, Hughes, et. al., a call about their records.

Finally, he mentions the murder rate for Baltimore and gun control. He slams Mr. Bush for voting for laws that allow Texans to carry concealed guns.

Did he check the murder rate in Texas cities and compare them with Baltimore? Did he check the overall crime statistics for Texas and compare them with Maryland?

I guess not.

When liberal philosophy is disproved by facts that's when the liberal "spin" cycle begins, and the facts are shoved under the rug.

Harold Bernadzikowski

West Friendship

Return gas tax to transportation

Regarding your July 27 editorial regarding transportation taxes ("The needed route on roads and transit"): Your solution is OK under today's situation.

However, since it would require legislative changes, I have a better one. One must look into the recent history of gasoline taxes to find out how the state got into this situation.

Prior to 1970, gas taxes, both federal and state, paid for roads only and couldn't be used for any other purpose.

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