Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

March 16, 2003

Democrats bypass rules on delegation

I find it appalling that the Democratic Party will maintain control of Anne Arundel County's delegation to the House of Delegates despite their setback in the last election.

To offset the Republican gains, Chairwoman Del. Mary Ann Love and her cohorts used Glendening-like tactics to circumvent the bylaws of the delegation. Knowing that the state's highest court is a rubber-stamp for all things Democratic, the Democrats shamelessly granted full voting power to three Prince George's County delegates whose districts contain a tiny sliver of Anne Arundel County.

This is contrary to the agreement made before the election, and is akin to Al Gore's attempts to change the Florida election laws after he had already lost to George W. Bush. This familiar tactic of the Democrats, making up for a loss of votes by manipulating laws and changing rules, has no place in Anne Arundel County.

The voters of this county must send the message that we will not allow the Democratic Party to play politics with our delegation in Annapolis. Has it ever occurred to Ms. Love and her posse that perhaps the underhanded tactics of the previous governor, tactics that she seems intent on emulating, are part of the reason why her party performed so dismally in the last election?

Michael DeCicco

Severn

Harman pupils need a better school

It was the first "Negro School" ever built in Anne Arundel County in the 1950s. A new wing was added in the 1960s. Kudos to the then-county executive, who must have realized that even "Negro" children were Americans and needed a new school.

Harman Elementary, the first "Negro School" is still busy today, virtually unchanged by the generations of school children that have walked its halls.

There have been upgrades. Each classroom has Internet access - if you can reach the outlet behind the books piled on the heating unit by the frustrated teacher trying to stanch the cold air pumped out by the original furnace in mid-December. She tells her students to wear extra clothes.

Of course, in the 1950s when the school was built, central air conditioning was years away. Step back in time and learn a lesson about the hardships of our ancestors by walking into the foyer of Harman at the beginning or end of the school year. The heat is quite literally overwhelming. Some teachers bring fans. Other teachers open every window - but only until the buses roll by, spewing dust, exhaust and noise through the casements.

No one gets much work done.

A dunce cap to the person who is surprised that the school has consistently scored below standards. So far below, in fact, that Harman parents are given the option to have their children bused to other schools.

The irony, in a state where "no child is left behind," lies in the fact that time has trudged on and left Harman Elementary behind. While beautiful new facilities are built in surrounding communities, primarily minority Harman is left to crumble to the cracked pavement. While a gazillion dollar mall and $400,000 homes are built to the very border of the school property, children are educated in an outdated, dangerous building.

This year, Harman was allocated nothing in the school board's annual budget. Never mind building a new school. When some parents made a ruckus at the board meeting, [money] quietly materialized. But will it be around long enough to spend? Last year, planning funds that were allocated for Harman just as quietly scuttled back through administrative cracks when budget approval time rolled around.

A 2002 feasibility study concluded that the most cost-effective plan is to scrap the county's first "Negro School" and start fresh. A million dollars would be wasted on renovations. It would do nothing more than paste a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound.

Save the Band-Aid. Give Harman students a transplant.

Sylvia Dorham

Hanover

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