Hiring process for CA president betrays vision I am...


January 28, 2001

Hiring process for CA president betrays vision

I am deeply saddened by the way the Columbia Council has sabotaged the hiring process of CA's next president. The process worked fairly well until five council members ignored the recommendations of staff, the citizens committee and the community forum ("Behind-scenes effort for naught," Jan. 19).

These five council members ignored their primary responsibility: to listen to the constituents they represent and act in accordance with their wishes.

I am still in a state of shock as to how five members of the council allowed their extraneous personal biases to subject Columbia's residents to additional negative publicity and to a lawsuit that could result in the association unnecessarily having to pay attorney's fees and perhaps an enormous award or settlement.

It is apparent that these five members of the council learned absolutely nothing from the Deborah O. McCarty debacle.

I hope that the five members of the Columbia Council who have been playing racial politics with this position realize that it is time to stop playing childish games and think only about the best interest of the entire Columbia community.

They have turned James Rouse's dream of inclusiveness for this city into a nightmare.

I, therefore, demand that the five council representatives who ignored the community's wishes -- Barbara Russell, Robert Conners, Vincent Marando, Adam Rich and Cecilia Januszkiewicz immediately resign from their posts on the Columbia Council.

Further, before those resignations become effective, I demand that the entire council write Michael D. Letcher a letter of apology and offer him the position of CA president.

Harry Dunbar


The writer is a former Columbia Council representative from Oakland Mills.

Horse center managers deserve an apology

My family was greatly pleased that the Columbia Association made the decision to continue the operation of the Columbia Horse Center as an equine facility under new management. We were involved with the center for many years and feel it is an asset to the Columbia community.

However, I was surprised at the terms of the horse center lease ("Horse center lease terms are revealed," Jan. 17).

The previous lessors and managers took the blame for CA's horse center losses, although they established the Columbia Horse Center equestrian program as one of the finest in the Baltimore-Washington area. We now learn that the association's losses had little to do with the lessors or the management.

We also see that CA virtually ignored capital improvements for the facility for 10 years, guaranteeing that the facility would not be in the same condition when the CA took the facility over again, despite the many thousands of dollars spent by the lessors on its maintenance.

We wish the Columbia Horse Center and the new management much success. But we feel that CA owes the previous lessors and managers an apology.

Neal T. Primm


In firing coach, board just followed the law

I would like to clarify my role in the recent school board decision concerning the boys varsity basketball coach at Howard High School.

On Dec. 11, along with two other board members, I voted to appoint Greg Smith coach, because we concluded that he had a legal entitlement to the position.

The basis for this decision was a provision of the Maryland code which states that we have to hire people who work in Howard County schools to coach if they are acceptable.

The board, by majority vote, determined that Mr. Smith was acceptable ("Howard situation near resolution," Dec. 13).

I realized that the students would be upset, but I felt compelled by law to make the decision I did, even though there would be unfortunate disruptions.

On Dec. 12, Mr. Smith decided to step down as coach, because that was in the best interests of the students.

The board members were polled to see if his decision was acceptable, and it was.

While I understand that parents and students were upset at losing a coach they liked, it is one of my responsibilities to uphold the law. The oath of office I took states that I am to uphold the constitution and the laws of Maryland.

I can't expect students and staff to follow the rules that I establish as a board member if I do not uphold the law because doing so is too difficult.

Laura Waters


Senior communities enhance the landscape

The proposal to build an active senior community in Howard County is being questioned by neighbors who are afraid their property values will decrease ("Neighbors balk at plan for houses," Jan. 7).

Their fear seems to be that an active senior community of $200,000 homes would reflect poorly on their $350,000 homes.

I have not reached the age at which I would live in a senior community. However I have toured quite a few. They are beautiful. Lawns are maintained and community associations handle covenants.

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