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Craig campaign: From moderate center-right to uninformed extreme

I have followed David Craig throughout his administration as Harford County Executive, and he has been governing from a moderate right-of-center position. It seems now he is running for governor he has chosen to pander to the extreme uninformed wing in his party with his recent comments regarding water pollution and run-off into the Chesapeake Bay ("Harford's Craig to seek repeal of local 'rain tax,'" Sept. 17).

He has chosen to take an easy rhetorical approach in opposing the so-called "rain tax." It is pretty easy to be against a tax on "rain." It would be a far more difficult to be against what it really is, a "dirty water tax."

But Mr. Craig really descends into being viewed as fairly ignorant when he questions the science behind attempts to control the run-off from impervious surfaces. "The impervious surface really doesn't matter," he said, "the rain is going to get through somewhere somehow."

For Mr. Craig and others, here is how it works: The rain comes down. When it hits unpaved surfaces, the water percolates through the natural filters in the ground and eventually reaches small streams that flow into the bay. That rain water is relatively clean when it reaches the streams. That is why there are still pristine bodies of water in this country.

On the other hand, when it hit impervious surfaces such as paved roads and parking lots, it picks up other pollutants such as fertilizers, animal waste and toxins from those surfaces and runs directly unfiltered into the streams. Hence water pollution.

It is perfectly fine to argue that this tax is too high, or that it is maladministered or misapplied. It is another thing to argue that there is no value in attempting to control the runoff from impervious surfaces. Both Mr. Craig and citizens (particularly the watermen who make a living harvesting food from the bay) would be better served if he were to propose other mechanisms to reduce the pollution in our treasured Chesapeake Bay.

Perhaps after Mr. Craig secures his party's nomination by appealing to its extremes with symbolic gestures and rhetoric, he can then, in the words of a former aide to Mitt Romney during the last presidential election, have an "Etch-a-Sketch" moment by proposing efforts that will genuinely improve our water quality.

Mel Mintz, Pikesville

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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