Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

April 20, 2003

Oust `absentee' Odum in council election

The Sun article, "Odum seeks re-election despite plans to move" (April 11), shows what lengths certain people will go to try to hang on to their positions on the Columbia Council. Long Reach residents are appalled that the village's current representative, Linda Odum, thinks that she should continue to represent Long Reach even though she intends to move away to Wilde Lake.

It's bad enough that she wants to be an "absentee" representative, but she recently tried to get Wilde Lake officials to bend the village architectural rules so that she could put up a fence that would have been incompatible with the area around her new house.

Her challenger in the April 26 Columbia Council election in Long Reach is David Hlass, a longtime resident of the village. David believes that Long Reach deserves to be represented by a resident who will stay in the village. Having had considerable involvement in local church, school, and youth sports activities and experience in managing the budgets and operations of large organizations, he feels that he can better represent the people of Long Reach on the Columbia Council.

The residents in Long Reach should make a special effort to vote this year, and make their opinions known about the type of representative they prefer.

Alex Hekimian

Columbia

Long Reach deserves local representative

Home is where the heart is and Linda Odum's home will be in Wilde Lake. If she is elected, Ms. Odum, a candidate for the Long Reach Columbia Council representative position, intends to move to Wilde Lake during her term. She intends to continue representing Long Reach when she moves to Wilde Lake.

She doesn't plan to live in Long Reach so will she really care about Long Reach? She'll be miles away in her lakefront home in the Village of Wilde Lake. She'll be shopping in Wilde Lake, walking in Wilde Lake, entertaining in Wilde Lake but she'll be "representing" Long Reach. Ms. Odum wants the residents of Long Reach to be comforted by the fact that she will be an absentee landlord and, as such, entitled to retain her office.

Residents of Long Reach should send Linda Odum and all of Columbia a message: We are proud of our community and will not be represented by a resident of Wilde Lake or any other Village but our own. Vote for Ms. Odum's opponent, David Hlass. He promises to live in Long Reach for the duration of his term.

Cecilia Januszkiewicz

Columbia

Restore the funding for new high school

I urge the Howard County Council to restore funding to the education department budget so Northern High can be built and open by 2005. I agree with Councilman (Christopher J.) Merdon and Councilman (Allan H.) Kittleman's support in restoring construction funds to the county budget. Without restoring the funds, 1,206 students will have to be placed in other schools. Many will be placed at River Hill High, which is already approximately 150 percent of capacity.

We should keep reducing class sizes! Knowing that smaller classes help students learn better, we need to restore funding for Northern High, so we can keep class sizes low.

There will be a County Council public hearing on this matter on May 3 at 9:00 a.m. We need to attend and tell our County Council that these funds in the budget need to be restored so that Northern High can be built now, not in a year of two.

Bill Neault

Elkridge

Emergency crews need training center

As chief of police, I applaud County Executive James Robey's vision to fund a Public Safety Training Center in Howard County, particularly during these difficult fiscal times.

Local first responders are our first line of defense against those who threaten our safety. In recent years, public safety training has been rewritten to address a new kind of threat. In fact, we now know that a number of the 9/11 terrorists spent time in our community.

Howard County is the only major jurisdiction in this region without a dedicated public safety training center. We currently train our police recruits in one classroom in a county office building. We must transport them to various off-site facilities for additional basic training. This is a waste of time and money. Our veteran officers receive their annual training in an abandoned building.

A few political leaders have told us we don't need a training facility because we can utilize a new training center in Carroll County. They have been sorely misled. That facility is intended to provide specialized training, not the basic type needed by new recruits. It is also meant to offer training for selected officers from small departments to train their co-workers back home. It was never intended to, nor could it, handle an influx of hundreds of Howard County's officers and provides no Fire and Rescue training.

Howard County citizens expect well-trained, competent public safety employees. They deserve no less. The funds budgeted for the Howard County Public Safety Training Center address a critical need that we can no longer afford to ignore.

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