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20 Acres a LotEditor: I'd appreciate the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

20 Acres a Lot

Editor: I'd appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Jan 27 letter that was critical of the Maryland Farm Bureau's policy of opposing zoning changes that would adversely affect the farmer's land value without just compensation.

The letter supported the 2020 plan that would require 20 acres of land in rural areas in order to build a house.

Obviously a farm that is sold for development is no longer a farm. However, the 2020 plan would require the farmer to sell at least a 20-acre parcel in order to sell a piece of land for someone to build on.

As it is now, the farmer can sell a much smaller piece of land when he needs money. Land value is reduced when a larger parcel of land is required in order to build one house. This is one reason why most people who own rural land are opposed to the 2020 plan.

Even though the farmer would have to discount rural land in order to sell one building site, the price would still be too high for most average-income families to afford as a building site.

The 2020 plan would eventually force low and moderate income families into the town center growth areas. Only the more affluent families would be able to build in the rural areas of Maryland.

The state has no right to place unreasonable restrictions on the farmer's right to sell his land for its proper value. The Farm Bureau, and all freedom-loving citizens, should continue to oppose the governor's plan to take local zoning away from local jurisdictions and place it in the hands of state bureaucrats.

J. Douglas Parran.

St. Leonard.

Equity for Farmers

Editor: I am writing in reply to Claire B. Mulford's lette questioning the Maryland Farm Bureau's position of opposing the so-called 2020 plan. He says that zoning changes would affect only a farm that is for sale. This is totally untrue. With the proposed changes and, worse yet, the unknown regulations that could be imposed on farm land in the future if the 2020 plan is enacted, there could be a great reduction in the equity in the land. When the farmer or land owner goes to a banker to borrow money, his borrowing potential will be greatly reduced.

The Maryland Farm Bureau supports some of the principles adopted by the commission, including preservation of the agricultural economy. However, for a strong agricultural economy to survive, the proposal must address the preservation of property equity. It is important that agriculture continue to have the opportunity to use the equity for borrowing purposes, which in turn sustains agriculture.

I am sure that there are very few people who would give up equity in their property without demanding just compensation for it.

The Maryland Farm Bureau advocates the existence of rural, agricultural areas, but that can be achieved through local control and the Maryland Agricultural Preservation Foundation, not through 2020.

Edward J. Allen.

Prince Frederick.

Inept Wilzack

Editor: I was appalled to read Adele Wilzack's response at th recent hearings regarding the Maryland State Games. Ms. Wilzack's response to such blatant mismanagement of finances is stated simply -- "I am a nurse" and that she knows little of accounting or management.

As a registered nurse, I can assure you there are many nurses who have successfully dealt with budgeting issues and management of employees. It is a shame that Ms. Wilzack has chosen to use her background in nursing as a scapegoat for her own ineptness.

After eight years as Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, surely we are not to believe that her failure is due to her R.N. license.

Marguerite A. Downs.

Ellicott City.

Bring Troops Home

Editor: Here is a solution to the Persian Gulf war: remove al our forces from Saudi Arabia (except for an aircraft or two) and bring them home.

The damage that we have incurred upon Saddam Hussein is enough to keep him re-building for a long time. With his oil-polluted gulf, wouldn't it be a good idea to let him now stew in his own juice? There certainly will be little left of Kuwait to fight about in any event.

I agree with our president and the Congress in waging this war but at this time we have won it. We can now save countless lives and money by coming home.

Robert P. Miller. Baltimore.

Pot Shots

Editor: This letter is in response to yet another attack by Barr Rascovar in "Rain on Schaefer's Parade." I was once again appalled at the short-sighted opinions of Mr. Rascovar. He sits behind his typewriter taking pot-shots at someone who is out front trying to improve our state -- a state that has improved significantly under the governor's leadership.

Looking toward the future with the Linowes commission and the 20/20 panel is incredibly insightful on Governor Schaefer's part. It isn't easy to make change. Our last governor sat back and did nothing. That's why we're experiencing some of the problems we have today in this state.

Governor Schaefer is trying to make it better for all of us, and we need to get behind him to support his programs. The Sun was shining on Governor Schaefer's parade during his inauguration speech on an otherwise very dreary day. Look for something positive and let the people see the dynamic, innovative leader we are blessed to have as our governor.

P. Blase Cooke.

Silver Spring.

Mencken's Choice of Friends

Editor: The recent unsealing of H. L. Mencken's memoirs ha dusted off the old question as to whether he was, or was not, anti-Semitic.

In the summer of 1939, I was casting about for a subject for my doctoral dissertation at Duke University, and became intrigued by the writings of the New York literary and drama critic, James Gibbons Huneker. I was persuaded that Huneker was a "decadent" author of the turn-of-the-century ilk. Knowing that Huneker was a friend of Mencken's, and since Mencken was a patient of my father, Hoagland Cook Davis, M.D., I got Dad to ask the journalist for an interview.

This was granted, and took place one summer night at Schellhase's Restaurant on North Howard Street. There I found the writer ensconced in a booth at the rear with two other persons. I had expected to confront a cigar-chomping, beer-guzzling roisterer, but the opposite was true. Mencken was amiable, urbane, and made me feel I was the celebrity of the evening. The conversation was heady stuff for a college boy. Mencken did not just straighten me out on James Gibbons Huneker ("old Jim was no decadent"), but opened the door to a discussion of myriad subjects.

Mencken's other two guests were not silent. It was obvious that the three were close, long-time cronies. Who were they? The Gutmacher brothers, Alan and Manfred, both distinguished physicians and both Jewish.

$Curtis Carroll Davis. Baltimore.

Meaty Standards

Editor: I am writing to clarify certain points raised in Mr. Kerr' letter printed in the Jan. 9 Sun. Federal law requires that all meat offered for sale in the United States must be inspected and provides for the federal agencies charged with enforcing that law to enter into agreements with states that meet certain standards to provide the inspection services.

Maryland is one of the states meeting and maintaining those standards. In every respect except one, Maryland law is equal to the federal law. Federal regulations do not provide for inspection services for charitable organizations. The local volunteer fire department mentioned by Mr. Kerr will have to make arrangements with the management of an official establishment (federal meat plant) to purchase the animals and have them inspected as a part of their regular operation. Having been officially inspected they would then be eligible for sale.

In the case of custom exempt slaughterhouses, our regulations and practices are identical to that of the Federal Food Safety and Inspection Service. Maryland does not inspect animals slaughtered for the specific use of the owner of the animal, and indeed they do have to be marked "Not For Sale." Those plants are inspected by both services at least once a year for compliance with sanitary standards. They may be inspected more often if, in the opinion of the inspector, they need to be.

The standards maintained by both services concerning the physical plant and equipment are identical. In answer to a direct question, the Food Safety and Inspection Service informed MDA officials that if any changes had to be made in this area, the plant would have 18 months to submit blueprints for approval and a further 18 months to get the work done.

The department will continue to work with the employees and plants affected to insure a smooth transition so that Maryland consumers can continue to have confidence in the safety of Maryland produced food products.

#Wayne A. Cawley, Jr. Annapolis.

Mr. Cawley is Secretary of the Maryland Department of

Agriculture.

Wrong Step

Editor: I must be one of the first to admit that there is a rea need for improvement in the service for women's rest room facilities. Since "necessity is the mother of invention," the new urinal that is to be installed at the stadium is the wrong step in the right direction.

Bertha Falcon.

Baltimore.

Animal Brutality

Editor: At a time when we are buffeted with daily news of brutality and cruelty in the big news items it is important that we not loose our sensitivity to the lesser items in life.

On Feb. 5 you printed a report of an incredibly cruel act in which two men were charged in Florida with breaking a horse's leg with a crowbar to get insurance money.

Anyone can visualize the pain inflicted by such an act, but to really wince you must be of a horse-involved background to know the pain, fear, confusion and death of one of these magnificent animals who experience a broken leg.

I can only hope that the Florida legal system will find those two people guilty and apply the maximum punishment a civilized system can inflict.

'Richard Jarvis Huffman.

Timonium.

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