Think regional for the best outcomes In recent weeks...

LETTERS

January 09, 2000

Think regional for the best outcomes

In recent weeks, The Sun's editorial staff has highlighted the region's transportation woes for its readership and elected officials. In doing so, it has called into the question the priorities and strategic vision of Gov. Parris Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

However, it is unfair for The Sun to simply lay the blame for an inadequate transportation system at the feet of these officials. While they have statewide responsibilities by virtue of their elected offices, other officials must be held accountable as well.

So who has dropped the ball?

For starters, elected officials including former Mayor Kurt Schmoke, members of the Baltimore City Council, and those state delegates and senators who have not invested time in this critical need.

Elected officials -- be they members of City Council, the general assembly or Congress cannot merely limit their focus to the activity within the perimeter of the districts they represent. Representatives clearly have a responsibility to focus energies on their constituencies, and to serve as ombudsmen in addressing transactional problems. However, those same representatives need to look at the bigger picture and to focus on how the families and businesses in their districts interact with the larger region. As pointed out by The Sun's editorial staff in recent years, Baltimore County has been successful in securing funding from Annapolis because of County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger's efforts to set a legislative agenda with the state senators and delegates from his county.

Mayor Martin O'Malley will be successful if he takes this lesson straight from Mr. Ruppersberger's playbook. Along these lines, hopefully the city and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council will both make improving regional transportation funding a priority on their legislative agendas.

If the region is expected to compete with other areas in the country, we need to be more accessible to residents, businesses and visitors.

A community works best when it is helping those who are willing to help themselves. Citizens need to write, call and badger their elected representatives to make sure that they are directing their efforts at solving problems both big and small. Improving transportation is but one of them.

John Dailey

Columbia

Don't abandon Talbott Springs

I'm writing in response to The Sun's Jan. 2 article "Elementay school battles exodus of pupils."

My child is currently enrolled at Talbott Springs Elementary and I plan to send my daughter there next year for kindergarten.

We have had nothing but a positive experience with the school since my son began there almost two years ago in kindergarten.

The decision to send him wasn't hard for us. My husband and I talked to the few parents in our neighborhood who had children enrolled there. We visited the school and spoke with teachers.

We came away with the feeling that this was a school that would not only give our son a solid education, but also expose him to children and cultures that reflect the real world, and not some carefully controlled version of it.

Sure, there are changing demographics in the neighborhood of Talbott Springs, not unlike the changing demographics of this country.

But to use that change as an excuse not to attend the school is just not valid to me. I believe Principal Rachel Slacum and her staff work very hard to meet the needs of all their students, regardless of their background.

If parents would just take the time to visit the school, they would see that this is true and other positive aspects of the school.

My husband and I decided to take the time to visit and to look past the demographics, the test scores and the rumors, and instead focus on a school that has an enthusiastic and supportive principal, and a fine and dedicated teaching staff.

For us, that's what makes a school and we're proud to send our children to Talbott Springs Elementary.

Lisa Charity-Jones

Columbia

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