A positive outlook on CA's golf courses, Last Sunday's...

Letters to the editor

May 19, 2002

A positive outlook on CA's golf courses, Last Sunday's article in the Howard County section about golf courses in Howard County painted a less than positive picture of the Columbia Association's two golf clubs, Hobbit's Glen and Fairway Hills. Here's some additional data that should make the Columbia community feel good about its golf clubs.

Before the opening of the Fairway Hills Golf Club, only 6 percent of Columbia residents were being served by CA's Hobbit's Glen Golf Club, and Hobbit's Glen was projected to generate increasing fiscal losses. The Columbia Association Board of Directors approved the construction of Fairway Hills so that more Columbia residents could play golf in Columbia and so that the fiscal position of golf in Columbia would improve. Since the 1995 opening of Fairway Hills both of these goals have been met.

Since 1995 the Fairway Hills Golf Club has hosted in excess of 265,000 rounds of golf. In excess of 18 percent of Columbia residents now play on CA's two courses, a 300 percent increase. More than 1,000 beginners have learned to play golf since 1995 at Fairway Hills in CA's innovative "Play Golf Columbia" program, and last year Fairway Hills became the host facility of The First TeeM-. Howard County program, a program that makes it possible for children of all socio-economic levels to learn the game of golf. Additionally, the renovation of the Fairway Hills clubhouse building made it possible for CA to preserve one of Howard County's truly historic buildings.

From a fiscal standpoint, since opening, Fairway Hills has generated $7,495,000 in revenues. Operating expenses since opening have totaled $5,229,000, so there has been a cumulative operating profit of $2,266,000.

The Hobbit's Glen Golf Club was honored to host a nationally televised PGA Senior Tour event, The State Farm Classic, from 1998-2000. During that time, the golf course as well as CA staff received rave reviews from the pro golfers, ESPN and the Howard County community. All of this served to elevate the Club's already excellent reputation.

All in all, the Columbia community should be proud of the overall performance of CA's two golf courses.

Maggie Brown

CA President

Editor's note: As stated in last Sunday's article, when the golf courses' share of CA administrative overhead is included, along with depreciation and long-term interest expenses, the two golf courses have lost money. Fairway Hills has lost $3.1 million since it opened in 1995. Hobbit's Glen, which opened in 1967, lost $3 million in the past 10 years.

Loyalty oath tool of oppressor

The proposed CA loyalty oath is meant to drive a wedge between the voters of Columbia and their elected representatives on the Columbia Council (who also serve as the CA board of directors).

At stake is the matter of fiduciary obligation. The proponents of the oath would have us believe that CA directors have a higher responsibility to CA as a corporation than to the people who elect them.

They want to restrict the speech and actions of the directors to serve a private function rather than the higher function to serve the public good as elected representatives in a state-designated nonprofit organization. Have they forgotten that our representatives serve at the will of the voters, not the corporation?

History provides lots of examples of loyalty oaths among the "isms": Nazism, Fascism, Stalinism, and McCarthyism. They are not examples we should want to follow.

Rod Serling, the great science fiction author, once refused to sign a loyalty oath before a speaking engagement at Moorpark College. He said, in part, "Under dictators, the so-called loyalty oath is a necessary adjunct. ... Both the Fascists and the Communists have a pathological distrust of their own people." What have we done, my fellow Columbians, to be so distrusted by CA?

Professors who refused to sign came to be known as "non-signers." They prevailed. Loyalty oaths on college campuses were repeatedly struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

One justice in a concurring decision said, "Test oaths are notorious tools of tyranny. When used to shackle the mind they are, or at least they should be, unspeakably odious to a free people. ... We must have freedom of speech for all or we will in the long run have it for none but the cringing and the craven. ... the right to speak on matters of public concern must be wholly free or eventually be wholly lost."

Please contact your Columbia Council representative and urge him or her to oppose the CA loyalty oath and be a "non-signer." That goes for the proposed "declaration of affiliations," too. Now, a financial disclosure statement might actually reveal bona fide questions of allegiance and conflict of interest.

Ruth Cargo


Columbia Association due for complete audit

I would like to add my voice with all the other voices that have called for a full audit of the Columbia Association (CA).

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