Peter Pan tours of Inner Harbor will be missed My wife...


March 11, 2001

Peter Pan tours of Inner Harbor will be missed

My wife and I are dismayed to read that the Pirate Ship tours will no longer be available ("`Pirate ship' tour boats lower flag after season," March 7). We took out-of-town visitors on two of the tours and considered the experiences to be superb publicity for Baltimore: the land and water views of the Inner Harbor, coupled with proudly told local anecdotes and history lessons, left us and our guests with smiles and a few new facts and stories tucked away for later retelling.

We especially enjoyed one of our guides, a delightful young lady named Luna, whose joyous personality seemed to overflow the boat-like vehicle. She seemed to love Baltimore and everyone in our tour group equally, and we're disappointed that we won't be able to seek her out for another trip or two through the city and the harbor this spring and summer.

The amphibious tours were obviously wildly popular --perhaps a company other than Peter Pan can pick up the operation and make it financially successful.

Bob Leedom


Columbia Assn. should go out of business

With all due respect to C. Fraser Smith's comments ("Columbia's search for a new day," column, Mar. 4), the real problem with the Columbia Association is that it spends its revenue doing little helpful and much that is harmful. That negative quality I think infests the process of governing .

What does the CA do with the hundreds it collects each year by legal force from owners with lien clauses?

It operates a large bureaucracy.

To its credit, it maintains some parks. It pays the mortgages on swimming pools and the like, but then makes a lien payer pay plenty extra to actually use a pool.

It acts as a force of conformity -- everyone's property looks like everyone else's. It conspires with the arrogant Rouse Co. to make sure there are no road signs around Columbia that might help a newcomer to find a business he or she wants to patronize.(I had to go to Ellicott City to find a holiday tree, because no tree merchant could put up a sign about "Trees for Sale," so they don't open tree lots in Columbia. People from Columbia cannot find their way around other villages because there are no signs on buildings and near village centers.)

There is a lot of nice maintaining of common area, but that is done by the villages, with separate collections, not by the CA.

The best thing the CA could do would be go out of business. That would save us all a lot of money that acts and smells like a tax but one may not deduct it like a tax. And the county would do the jobs as a real government with the organization of a real government.

Phil Marcus


Morrison responds to letter writer

Alex Hekimian has directed some interesting allegations in my direction ("Columbia group isn't promoting public interest," letters, March 4).

He says that I "led the move to remove the cap on CA taxes." The truth is the Columbia Association Board, on the advice of legal counsel to conform to a change in state law, voted to cut the rate at which CA's Annual Charge is calculated in half -- assuring that no one pays one cent more than he or she had.

He says that I "pushed to annex the Rouse Co. property in North Laurel." Yup; got me there, because I voted to annex the Key property. Of course, I also voted many years ago to forego the right to annex the Key property in favor of annexing part of what is now the Gateway property and I voted to annex into Hickory Ridge the property that is now Clary's Forest.

He says that I "arranged a money-losing deal for leasing CA's horse center." The truth is that the CA board voted unanimously to lease the horse center, on terms that produce a positive net from operations, I did not arrange anything myself.

He says that I "botched the CA president selection process." This is nonsense.(But while we are on the question of the CA president, let's discuss the selection of the prior president, Deborah McCarty. Mr. Hekimian can try to dress it up any way he wants, but when he was on the CA board he not only voted on the record to appoint Ms. McCarty, but also voted on the record to increase her compensation after only a few months on the job.

He says that I "withheld information from the public and even from other council members." This is contrary to fact. For example, when Maggie Brown was appointed president of CA, I released the terms of her employment to the public. At my request, the terms of the horse center lease were released to the public. When CA terminated negotiations regarding the Key property, I released all correspondence between CA and the Rouse Co. concerning the matter. This is truly unlike when Mr. Hekemian was on the council and board that did not release the terms of Ms. McCarty's appointment (or the terms of any other agreement to which CA was a party).

Lanny J. Morrison


There's another option for home-schooling info

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