Time has come to replace Columbia's CPRA When I worked...


June 25, 2000

Time has come to replace Columbia's CPRA

When I worked for James Rouse planning Columbia in the early 1960s, we practiced what is now called "out of the box" thinking.

So let's explore this "out of the box" idea: Eliminate the Columbia Park and Recreation Association (CPRA) and the Columbia Council and board. Designate Columbia a special tax district in Howard County so CPRA assessments are paid to the county and therefore are tax deductible.

The county would then take responsibility for all CPRA functions, folding those into an expanded county parks and recreation department with a mandated budget line item for Columbia.

The county would assume the CPRA's debt along with CPRA revenues. Elected village boards would retain their architectural review functions.

CPRA was created to fund and operate park and recreation facilities, above and beyond those which would ordinarily result from the development process -- ones the county's rural commissioner form of government could not provide in the 1960s.

But 33 years have passed, Columbia has matured and so has county government.

Meanwhile the CPRA has grown to a size that is now unmanageable by what are, in some villages, undemocratically elected community volunteers who wear conflicting hats.

Incorporation of Columbia to provide parks and recreation functions makes no sense when we already have county government providing Columbia all the other local government services.

I don't know if this idea is workable, but it is worth serious consideration.

Robert Tennenbaum


Robey plays politics with kids' education

I read with interest The Sun's article concerning Howard County Executive James N. Robey's decision to share budget information with Democratic members of the County Council but not with the two Republican members, Allan H. Kittleman and Christopher J. Merdon ("GOP, Robey trade barbs," May 28).

It is my understanding that Mr. Kittleman and Mr. Merdon approached the county executive with thoughts about restoring funds to the school budget.

The county executive responded that he would produce a list of public works budget cuts that could potentially be used to offset an increase in the school budget.

Apparently, Mr. Kittleman and Mr. Merdon relied on the county executive's word when completing their plan on how to restore needed funds to the school budget.

Unfortunately, Mr. Robey chose to share the possible deferrals only with Democratic members of the council.

While I understand that partisan politics comes into play on some issues, I do not believe the county executive should play politics with our children's education.

If he was sincerely willing to consider possible deferrals in his budget, Mr. Robey should have shared his thoughts with all council members, regardless of party.

His actions have demonstrated to me that he is a typical politician, who places his political party before what is best for the county.

I commend Mr. Kittleman and Mr. Merdon for their desire to work with the county executive and to cross party lines in to enhance the county's education system.

I hope in the future the county executive will realize that he represents all the citizens of Howard County and not just the Democrats.

Edward P. Wilson

Ellicott City

Deborah McCarty isn't fleeing to Atlanta

After I read yet another article in The Sun about Deborah O. McCarty, I decided that I had to write ("Ex-Columbia Association head moves out of River Hill home," June 8).

Did anyone ask Ms. McCarty about her plans before assuming that she is running back to Atlanta?

Ms. McCarty and her family rented the River Hill townhouse from friends of mine who are moving to Columbia.

Ms. McCarty only rented it for six months because it was only available for six months.

Her home in Atlanta has not yet sold, so she didn't want to purchase another home here yet.

So she moved to River Hill for the summer with her husband and children while her son has an operation and she searches for another job.

Her belongings are stored here in Columbia.

I am not an investigative reporter and I do not claim to know Ms. McCarty that well, but the woman I have worked with over the past six months is a very professional, intelligent woman and a concerned mom.

She has made a few errors that cost her not only her job, but unending criticism from The Sun and from much of Columbia.

Judi Stull


Court's prayer ruling defies God's commands

While our officials struggle to find ways to avoid another disaster like the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, the Supreme Court's justices by a 6-3 vote outlawed prayer by students in our education systems.

Our forefathers founded this nation on godly principles, and this nation became an object of God's love and blessing.

However, the headline "Justices bar prayers led by students," (June 13), sends a message to our youth that we are smart enough and strong enough to get along without God.

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