Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 02, 2005

Industrial base good for county, Maryland

Anne Arundel Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle's recent comments dismissing industry and the 1,200 highly skilled blue-collar jobs in Brooklyn Park and Curtis Bay reflect a total lack of understanding of why an industrial base is vital in Anne Arundel County and directly affects the economy of Maryland ("Project hinges on city, zoning," Sept. 25, 2003").

Commenting on the comprehensive zoning bill currently under consideration by the Anne Arundel County Council, Ms. Beidle cavalierly dismissed the importance to her district of down-zoning almost 70 acres of land from industrial to residential use when she stated: "I'm not certain we will need to have as much industry."

More than 30 businesses of the South Baltimore Business Alliance in Brooklyn/Curtis Bay strongly beg to differ.

One can only wonder if Ms. Beidle's next statement recommending that industry "pack it in" will be directed to the thousands of men and women who work both directly and indirectly for the numerous businesses that serve northern Anne Arundel County and the Port of Baltimore. Without support from the areas like the industrial service jobs in Curtis Bay and Brooklyn Park, the long-standing businesses in Brooklyn Park and Curtis Bay will continue to fight an uphill battle for survival along with the Port and its $2.4 billion payroll in personal wage and salary income in 2004.

Finally, the article tells of Charles County developer Stephen P. McAllister's plan to build more than 1,200 condominiums and townhouses on a Superfund site near the Baltimore landfill, adjacent to the industrial land. The project as shown by the developer will put more than 130 townhouses within 500 feet of existing industry - not the 1,000 to 2,000 feet as described during the recent County Council hearing.

SBBA will continue to work with neighborhood groups, public officials, and other interested parties proving that industry and residential units can be good neighbors ... so long as all of the facts are presented and appropriate buffers are maintained as part of the planned development.

Eamonn McGeady Baltimore

The writer is the legislative committee chairman for the South Baltimore Business Alliance.

School board should be an elected post

There have been some recent reports about our local Chamber of Commerce's review and report concerning an overhaul of the Anne Arundel County school board.

One of the prime criticisms in the chamber's report was that "board members don't work as a whole, often acting on their own like miniature boards of education." Even more telling was the finding, "And like previous boards, current members do not feel accountable to the community" because they are appointed by the governor and not elected by the parents and taxpayers of this county.

None of the corporate reforms suggested by the chamber, however, will have any real effect unless we have a school board that is elected by the citizens of Anne Arundel County. There can be no expectation that board members will act in the best interests of the community unless they are accountable directly to the people.

This report is another poignant reminder that we must change the school board selection process now and give the parents and taxpayers of Anne Arundel County direct control of the school board through real competitive elections.

Greg Kline Severna Park

Superintendent needs reining in

The Anne Arundel County school board long ago abdicated its responsibility to oversee the superintendent. The proverbial barn door never was closed, the horse continued to run away with free rein, the board assuming that he'd come back to the barn at some point. And when he did, they breathed a sigh of relief, and promptly settled back into the complacent, non-authoritative attitude they had adopted. Somehow they forgot that the superintendent was hired BY THEM, and worked FOR THEM.

During the last three years, many teachers have felt denigrated, insulted, threatened, humiliated. They have felt unsupported and ignored by Dr. [Eric J.] Smith and members of the school board. Our teachers have been treated as second-class citizens in a county that wants to be a first-class system.

Reportedly, the same sort of climate has been pervasive at the central offices as well. From the outset, the priority has been increasing test scores - a numbers game at best - instead of creating the best learning climate for our children. Again and again, teachers, parents and students contacted board members and the superintendent, spoke at public forums, took their concerns to the press, but to no avail.

Now there seems to be a rift at the Palace of Education on Riva Road. Will the esteemed school board, pinnacle of unenlightenment, acknowledge what we've known all long: The Emperor is wearing no clothes.

Pamela Bukowski Annapolis

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