Letters

LETTERS

March 05, 2006

Newspaper boosts empty politicians

The headlines in the Anne Arundel section [of Feb. 19] were contradictory; "School Crowding Remedy" and "Badger leaves Arundel poised for more growth." Two empty stories about political points of view on ways to say they are doing something but doing nothing.

Right now the remedy for the school overcrowding has been hundreds of trailers, and the argument from the Keep Building at Any Cost building community has been to relocate the overflow of students from some place in east county to some place in the west where they are under capacity, or let's get the developers to kick in some money that probably won't be enough. Or any other hollow argument that will float their boat.

In regard to the technology/defense industry bubble, were you really giving [County Executive Janet S.] Owens and [former economic development director William A. Badger Jr.] credit for the $1 billion a year economic impact from the defense job boom at Fort Meade. You said the [National Security Agency] did not sign a $455,000 contract until 2004 to locate companies to benefit its operations

As to the anti-terrorism building boom that came about in the 2003 federal budget that can only be attributed to post 9/11 bureaucracy funding, is this now attributed to Executive Owens' foresight over the last seven years and Mr. Badger's work over the last 10 years. Are you crazy? After we are through patting them on the back anticipating the Twin Towers and its fallout, let's try to get them to work on the Weapons of Mass Destruction issue for the CIA, if you really want to rewrite history.

These are two self-serving politicians trying to take credit for the effect of a catastrophe and the fact that Fort Meade is so close to the Pentagon where it has a golf course it is willing to give up for more building.

If the Federal government wasn't trying to save money by consolidating operations from other bases and other federal operations and the NSA weren't already here, the federal spending taking place now would have occurred here with or without their help. They are the equivalent of a vacuum, but for a little print from a journalist they too, would not have existed at all.

Gregory Mellon Linthicum

Voters qualified to pick school board

Parents in Anne Arundel County should take heart that their voices are being heard in the debate over the school board selection process ["Convention or change," Feb. 26]. House Bill 24, which seeks to remove the public from any meaningful input into the selection of the school board, in favor of an appointed commission beholden to incumbent politicians and special interests, has fallen apart.

A number of the members of our county delegation, including Sen. Janet Greenip and Dels. Tony McConkey, Terry Gilleland and Don Dwyer, have heard the message that the voters want the right to elect members of the school board. That is why they deserve credit for pushing alternatives that provide for elected board members, including amending House Bill 24 to have real, competitive elections, as opposed to sham, single candidate "retention elections."

The fact is that the opponents of an elected school board suffer from a paternalistic view that the voters cannot be trusted with such an important task as selecting members of the school board. It is a view that is also seen in opposition to tax cuts, school choice and standing in the way of the voters rather than the courts defining marriage in our state.

The issue of an elected school board should be front and center in legislative elections in Anne Arundel county this year. We should all remember which candidates trust us to select those who direct our children's education and those who want our vote because they know better than we do.

Greg Kline Severna Park

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