December 17, 2006

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE: -- In his first week in office, County Executive John R. Leopold quickly sought to set the tone for his administration. He vowed to cut the budget, crack down on critical-area violators and require firefighter recruits to repay the cost of their training if they don't stay with the department. He also said he intends to curb panhandling and pursue an elected county school board. Is he setting the right tone?

Right tone set, but school investing key

While I do not agree with everything that Leopold is doing, I do believe he is setting the right tone. In one week he has made astounding calls for change, including shaking up his staff and getting rid of positions.

The budget is being cut, and the savings will help the county. Analysts predict Anne Arundel County will be facing tough times.

One area I have not seen addressed, except for an elected school board, is the need to invest in education. Education is the key to our future, and we need to strive to make it the best.

Victor Henderson Glen Burnie

Panhandlers aren't worth pursuing

I thought Leopold was in sync with his political rhetoric in county governance until his legislative priority turned to curbing panhandling. It's an attack on the helpless, homeless and mentally ill.

When Republicans want to demonstrate how tough they are, they take away health benefits from poor children as did Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., or criminalize children soliciting in the median for a good cause, as did County Councilwoman Cathy Vitale, and following suit, Leopold takes on those dangerous panhandlers.

We can all sleep tonight knowing Leopold is ready to take up legislation that will increase paperwork and social work for an overburdened Anne Arundel County police force.

Maryellen O. Brady Edgewater

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