Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

October 03, 2004

Delegate Miller sets the record straight

I was rather amused after reading Lowell Sunderland's "Playing Around" column on Sept. 26 [concerning Western Regional Park]. It would have been good reporting to have contacted me for a proper understanding of my point of view.

I'm not exactly sure what Mr. Sunderland is saying and if it related to my opposition to parks and athletic facilities, so let me provide you with my precise quotation. I said that, "I think the concept of a park with ball fields is a great idea, but we're taking Glenwood and suddenly making it a metropolis."

Over the last few years, Glenwood has a new library, a new government center, and there is a new fire station in the works. My point is that Glenwood is not interested in becoming another Clarksville. The citizens of Glenwood would like it to retain some of its rural charm and character, and they would like to be in control of their own space.

I am very serious about representing my constituents and have, in fact, attended community meetings and the council meeting you refer to in your article. I expect that there will be many battles in the war to keep the character of Glenwood. Some battles will be won and some lost. Please remember that the councilman that represents the area reflected the community's concern and attempted to eliminate the lighted ball fields from the county's budget. The $2.8 million could have been earmarked for needed school renovations.

As the Sunpaper's point person on county parks, a greater effort to understand the multi-faceted issues is needed. Your presence at the meetings would certainly be a positive action. It is the only way to understand the unfolding story and get a sense of how people feel.

The plain fact is that the County has a history of building parks that we do not need. The Howard County Recreation and Parks folks appear to be ignoring where the people live that will utilize lighted ball fields. Schooley Mill and Alpha Ridge are just two examples of County Park projects that appear to be under-utilized. To justify the additional expense associated with lighting a field, there must be some attention and study given to population density and demographics.

Additionally, we have been told that the County really needs to build a $1.6 million indoor hockey arena because 57 people out of 500 surveyed said they would like such a facility. The survey was taken in 1994, but 10% is not an overwhelming mandate. Approximately that same percentage stated that they would like swimming and equestrian facilities.

My responsibility as a state delegate is to insure that taxpayer dollars are effectively and efficiently spent. The rather haphazard planning being demonstrated by county Recreation and Parks does not meet that test. The real clank, bonk and boggle will be heard when tax dollars are spent in a haphazard manner, without sufficient thought and study.

Finally, Mr. Sunderland, I invite you to Annapolis next week to view the appropriation process. The funding for these Howard County projects is state money, not county dollars. The Board of Public Works is the appropriate venue to question how the State Project Open Space money is being spent and how the county has dealt with the citizens of Glenwood. My role is to ensure that the Governor, Comptroller and Treasurer hear the concerns of the park's neighbors, many of which do not live in "McMansions," or have distain for those who live in Columbia. Please feel free to accept my invitation.

Warren E. Miller

Woodbine

The writer is a Republican state delegate representing legislative District 9A, northern Howard County.

Schools taken to task over release of data

I just learned last week from the Howard County Sun's "Education Notes" that the deadline to request that our high schools not send private personal information to military recruiters on our children is Sept. 30, 2004. I wanted to share this information with our community because a few years ago I went through a very painful experience with my older son. He started receiving phone calls from military recruiters who proceeded to hound him in order to "buy" him into joining the military. They used all sorts of misleading images of the military and how my son was going to be independent from his parents and become a "real man," etc, etc. They seemed to particularly be after my son because we are Latinos and thereby good targets for the recruiters because of the fact that most Latinos are poor in this country.

I sent a letter to the Howard County Public School System asking them to make this policy more visible to all parents in our county. We should be informed by the school system at least twice per year about this policy and the legal alternative we have to "opt out" from having our childrens' private personal information given to the military. A consent form and/or sample letter should be made available in a prominent format.

When most of us agree and teach our children not to fight and to resolve their conflicts through mediation and conflict resolution, does it make sense to continue resolving world conflicts through wars and the glorification of war? Our children deserve to be given alternatives. Just because a child is poor, he or she should not have to join the military in order to go to college.

This issue is even more important now that the U.S. military is involved in a lengthy occupation of Iraq. I don't want to risk my child or any other child to be harmed physically, mentally and psychologically. While the law requires that you give recruiters access to our children, our schools owe it to our children and us parents to provide information about this policy and also to provide an alternative view to high school students so that they may make an informed choice if and when they are approached and in some cases, hounded by recruiters.

Leslie P. Salgado

Columbia

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