What if bus driver were a non-Christian? In light of...


January 13, 2002

What if bus driver were a non-Christian?

In light of the many letters of support for Carroll County school bus driver Stella Tsourakis, I feel compelled to write and voice my support for the Carroll County School Board. I believe they were right to reprimand her for leading prayer on the school bus.

How many would still be applauding Ms. Tsourakis had she been a Muslim or a Jew or a Buddhist and forced their Christian child to participate in a non-Christian prayer? I would bet that a lot of people would be screaming for her job. This is why prayer does not belong in the public school system. Whose prayer do you say? Which children do you snub? If you want your child to participate in group prayer in school, you are free to send them to the religious school of your choice.

Advocating for the public school system to push the prayers of your particular faith is very arrogant and self-centered.

Deborah Kenny


County commissioners misrepresent the people

The current Board of County Commissioners have always brought one question to mind: Why do mistakes in the way we are governed continue to be made? Why are the concerns of our citizens an afterthought when determining decisions that directly affect our welfare? Why are commissions hand-picked to reflect the self-serving goals of their members? Why do we feel that the Board favors some of our citizens over others? In general, why are we so misrepresented?

A recent amendment involving clustering of homes in agricultural areas, made by the Zoning Ordinance Review Committee, is a case in point. There are several questions that arise from this particular incident: Why is the committee made up of those who would most benefit by the results? This committee includes a realtor, a real estate attorney, and large landowners to name a few, all hand-picked by the county commissioners.

Why does this committee feel the need to degrade the significance of our agriculturally zoned land as being a valuable staple of Carroll County? Why was the entire process rushed through the system, even to the extent of almost literally bypassing the county's planning department? Why was an information hearing held after the fact? Why is the public being ignored, when the demands of the recent hearing and otherwise clearly indicate that the majority of people consider this decision a poor one?

The arrogance of our Republican leaders has been repeated over the past decade time and time again, and has become characteristic of their decision-making on every level. It has taken priority over reason, thus threatening the well-being of our citizens on a daily basis.

To understand why such an amendment was allowed to surface, we must consider the following: Why do we have the need in this county to continue building houses when we have a failing infrastructure on every level? The answer lies in the basis of our economy. Over 80 percent of the revenue that is amassed by county government comes from the taxation of homes. The industrial tax base, on the other hand, lies at around 12 percent. These figures are staggering, and clearly prove that there is no economic stability in this county. If the mindset of our leadership is that the strength of our economy relies on the building of houses, then houses will continue to be built.

The idea that we are a "bedroom community" has got to become a message of the past, not an instrument for the future of our economic development. If Baltimore County and Howard County would have considered themselves "bedroom communities" of Baltimore City and Washington, D.C., where would the people of Carroll County be working today?

Industry is an integral part of offering economic stability. We cannot continue to ignore, as citizens, certain facts regarding our infrastructure, such as: inadequate schools, police, fire protection, medical facilities, as well as a water supply which cannot adequately keep pace with the rise in the growth of the population. These are but a few of the problems we now face.

The long and the short of this conversation is this: the county government needs to get out of the business of building houses, and get into the business of responding to the needs of its people on an intelligent and visionary level. As citizens we need to stop asking "Why?" and start asking "How?" How can we effect change in our government? Representative government affords us that opportunity. We must take the responsibility to change that which is within our power.

Betty Smith


County deserves better than Frazier and Dell

It looks like Commissioners Frazier and Dell are really starting to feel the heat for their disastrous policies, particular the Piney Run boondoggle and the [Zoning Ordinance Review Committee, or ZORC] fiasco. No longer can they say that their opponents are just Gouge Republicans, South Carroll malcontents and Democrats.

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