March 11, 2007

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE: -- Hoping to quell a spate of shootings that wounded four teenagers in less than a week, Anne Arundel and Annapolis officials vowed to use a full-court press in one of the city's 10 public housing neighborhoods.

County Executive John R. Leopold said the plan to improve the Robinwood complex was the first step toward a long-term goal of stopping rivalries in the city's public housing communities.

Leopold spoke of educating adults about family life. County schools Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell spoke of enlisting volunteers to check on students who are missing from school. Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer spoke of bringing in leaders to inspire children in Robinwood.

What effect do you think this plan will have in making Robinwood, and ultimately all of the city's public housing communities, safer?

Neighorhood must want to improve

Everyone has a right to feel safe in their home. And with the help of the people in the neighborhood, a full-court policing effort in Robinwood and other public housing projects in Annapolis has a good chance of succeeding. However, the neighborhood has to want it and be willing to act because there will be resistance by punks, thugs and drug dealers.

A trusted community advocate needs to man a confidential hot line for willing but fragile neighbors to report suspicious activities. In addition to added street patrols and political awareness, a newsletter will help inform, encourage and measure progress.

And we in South County (Edgewater, Mayo etc.) have to be vigilant. We cannot become the victims of drug dealers and thieves looking for a new marketplace.

Maryellen O. Brady Edgewater

Multiple approaches required for success

The mess in Annapolis' public housing that has led to recent shootings and other violence will not be cleaned up with paint and flowers. Any effort put forth to "fix" the problems in public housing must recognize that a number of interdependent approaches must be undertaken jointly, and that all must succeed, or all will fail.

Areas that must be addressed are:

Parental attitude. Parents must be held accountable for how their children behave.

Children's attitude. Children must be instilled with the desire to grow up to be someone. "Someone" does not include those who live by nefarious means.

Management attitude. Those who manage these properties must put every effort into management, not self-promotion.

Community attitude. The entire community must come together, or the entire community will fail. People must have the resolve to stand up to those who would try to intimidate them. "Just Say No" is a worn-out phrase from the drug wars, but it applies here.

H. Edward Woods Davidsonville

Alderman seeks role in work group

While I support an effort to address "social change" in Robinwood, as the alderman for the 6th Ward in Annapolis, I am shocked that I am not a member of the work group appointed by County Executive John R. Leopold.

Moreover, I have not been contacted or consulted by the county executive or his representatives in any way with respect to this "full-court press."

I am also alarmed that the work group lacks a representative from the community. I have spent considerable time on the ground in Robinwood since I was elected, trying to increase participation in Neighborhood Watch, identifying issues of concern, ensuring that lighting is operational, as well as empowering residents to institute a juvenile curfew.

As their elected representative I would expect to be included in any effort that directly impacts the community, and I expect them to be right there with me.

Julie M. Stankivic Annapolis

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