Feb. 27 letter by RTM Majority Leader Ed Bateson and Deputy Majority Leader Michael Herley ("Lawyer's about face clouds school project") states the Republican caucus "unanimously endorsed additional funding for completion of the [Osborn Hill] project, including the walkway" at the most recent RTM meeting.

Democratic RTM members were in full support of the OHS project and the additional funds for the walkway as well, as evidenced by our vote on the bond and the sense of the body for the additional funds. Incidentally, support for the walkway was not, in fact, unanimous, as reported by Reps. Bateson and Herley, evidenced by the lone abstention by Republican Rep. Donovan (District 1).

However, what is most important is the fact that very nearly all of the RTM were united in their support of fully funding the project and restoring walkway funds, serving the best interests of the students, parents and staff of the Osborn Hill community.

When the RTM is positively aligned and in agreement on an issue, as it is and was on the OHS project, it does all of us -- and indeed, our constituents -- a great disservice to point fingers and make incorrect assumptions that certain actions are only made to serve political interests and interfere with public service and decision-making.

Despite the speculation of Reps. Bateson and Herley, there was no political agenda dictating the discussion and decisions on the floor. The requested clarification by Rep. Hal Schwartz was simply that -- a request to ensure the body's decision to add funds for the walkway would not invalidate the approval of the critical funding of the bond and, therefore, jeopardize the necessary completion of the school renovation. No more, no less.

To presume certain actions were politically driven is misplaced and wrongly clouds the body's collaborative work and positive decision-making. The RTM passed the additional funding as it was presented so there would be no delay in the necessary funding and completion of the Osborn Hill School project. The Democratic caucus is looking forward to approving the walkway when it comes before the RTM in the very near future.

In their letter, Representatives Bateson and Herley state, "School safety and security is best served by timely action, not politics." We couldn't agree more.

Hal Schwartz

RTM Minority Leader

Julie Gottlieb

RTM Deputy Minority Leader