Editor: You ran a story about the flight controller involved in the recent plane crash in Los Angeles, with the headline, "Female flight controller's worst nightmare came true in L.A. plane collision."
It's interesting that you felt the need to indicate her gender. Funny, but I don't recall ever reading headlines such as "Male pilot error causes plane crash" or "Male air controller error causes death of 300."
Editor: As if there wasn't enough misinformation for the public to weed through, The Sun chose to publish John W. Taylor's letter Feb. 6 on the growth management bill pending in the
First of all, Mr. Taylor clearly hasn't read the current version of the growth bill offered by the governor. While it was in some preliminary recommendations from the Barnes commission on growth, the language relating to the permanent growth management program's dwelling unit densities has, in fact, been removed from the bill before the General Assembly.
Under the bill, the Barnes commission will be sent back to get another round of public comments on that very topic.
Second, Mr. Taylor explains that the "quality" of the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River actually improved "during one of the most intense periods of sprawl development in history (1985-1990)."
If he means that water quality didn't deteriorate as quickly, he's right. However, not coincidentally, the Critical Areas law, the phosphate ban and other major bay-related legislation went into effect during that same time period.
Mr. Taylor goes so far as to say "low-density sprawl development can actually be beneficial" which is, of course, absurd. Low-density sprawl is the most damaging to the environment, the most wasteful use of the land and the biggest drain on the taxpayer.
Besides, it is no secret that every major environmental organization in the state is supporting the governor's growth bill.
In the last five years, Maryland's population has grown by about 8 percent, but the land used for development has increased more than 18 percent. Forests, wetlands and agricultural lands are getting chewed up while blotches of development are then )) spit out all across the landscape.
This wasteful and inefficient pattern of runaway growth simply must stop, and the governor's growth management bill, while
not perfect, is an appropriate place to start.
Terry J. Harris.
The writer chairs the Greater Baltimore group of the Sierra Club.
Money and Schools
Editor: I'm tired of The Sun constantly dreaming that money is the answer to all of the city's education ills, as the Feb. 9 editorial states.
Does anyone really believe that Baltimore City schools would be as successful as Baltimore County schools even if city schools spent twice as much per pupil? Exhaustive studies have shown spending per pupil accounts for very little difference in school performance.
Parochial schools, for example, spend much less per pupil than city schools, yet gain much better results. Why? Parental concern, discipline, students who desire to learn, enthusiastic teachers and access to books.
These things don't necessarily cost much, and they cannot simply be purchased.
Wesley L. Michael.
Editor: I was appalled by Cal Thomas' Feb. 6 commentary advocating the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the gulf war to "speed up the achievement of the objective."
The use of nuclear weapons would set a precedent the end result of which could be their routine use.
Since the line between combatants and civilians is often vague, one could imagine the eventual use of nuclear weapons against cities to destroy the morale and war-making capacity of the enemy.
Furthermore, popular Arab support for the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq is tenuous at best.
The use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iraq would provoke a wave of anti-American hatred which would topple the governments of many of our allies in the coalition.
At worst, the U.S. could find itself battling not only Iraq but Jordan, Syria and Iran, if not the entire Arab world.
I am not an avid fan of George Bush, but I'm glad that he, and not Cal Thomas, is our commander in chief.
Bruce E. Wilson.
Editor: Gov. William Donald Schaefer often complains about the unfair treatment he receives in the press; how it concentrates on his problems and ignores his accomplishments. Normally, I don't give these complaints much credence. I do think, however, that The Sun has been guilty of this bias in regard to recent cabinet changes in the Schaefer administration.
This began with the resignation of Linda Rossi as secretary of the Department of Juvenile Services. The Sun ran a large article lamenting the loss of Ms. Rossi to the state and to the cabinet. It followed several days later with an editorial suggesting that Governor Schaefer take this opportunity to consolidate all services for juveniles, currently divided among several cabinet departments, into one new and larger department.
However, when the governor took a large step toward this end just a few days later by proposing the merger of the Department of Juvenile Services with the Governor's Office of Children Youth and Families into a new Department of Youth services to be headed by Dr. Nancy Grasmick, an outstanding administrator, this fact went barely noticed by your newspaper. The excellent appointment of Dr. Grasmick rated only a minuscule note within another article.
The restructuring of childrens' services and the appointment of Dr. Grasmick is good news, and it should be big news. Please let your readers hear more about it.
Don't Close This School for the Deaf
Editor: I am writing in protest to the proposed closing of the Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Campus (MSD-CC).
After a legislative audit, the recommendation has been made to close the Columbia school and consolidate it with the Frederick school.
Closing MSD-CC and eliminating many positions will save the taxpayers $1,738,000. At first glance this seems to be a logical recommendation -- two schools both educating the deaf, all together on one campus.
Unfortunately, the audit only measured teacher-student ratios and square footage at both campuses. It totally failed to factor in the reason why the Columbia school was built in the first place, the overall quality of the education at Columbia and the important human factor.
When the Columbia school was built almost 20 years ago, it was placed near Baltimore so it could better serve the largest number of deaf children. This location is much more convenient to the large population center in and around Baltimore than is the Frederick school. MSD-CC has a 50 percent day student attendance. What will happen to these students if they have to commute to Frederick each day? Will they be able to continue living at home as their would like, or will they have to live in the dorm?
One very important reason why MSD-CC should stay open is that it is the school where deaf multi-handicapped students are educated in the state. MSD-CC, unlike Frederick, was physically designed to accommodate these students with their special equipment. The dorms, the dining room, the classrooms and all the other areas around the school are designed and built to allow the handicapped child free access without relying totally on others.
The Frederick campus would require extensive renovations in order to serve these special children.
I have been a weekly volunteer at MSD-CC for the past seven years, and during these years I have found that the Columbia campus is more like a family than a school. The teachers and staff know all the children, and there is a warm and friendly atmosphere there that I've never seen in any other school.
Since starting there I have worked with the youngest students, ages four to six. I've been able to observe transformations that are nothing short of miracles. Children enter at four or five years, most with little or no language, and with a carefully designed program, patience and love and the constant reinforcement of ++ sign language and English, teachers and staff transform these children into people who can communicate thoughts and desires for the first time. They can ask for a drink of water without pointing. They can tell someone why they feel happy or sad. They can for the first time communicate with their family and friends.
Maryland needs both branches of MSD to assure our deaf children the kind of quality education that is nationally and internationally respected.
Jo Ann Fasnacht.
We Would Have Lost
Editor: Your editorial, "General Schwarzkopf and B.S." merits response. Had we had the media of today during World War II, there is little doubt in my mind that we would have lost that war.
The insistence of the press, particularly the television segment, to report on deployments, who is where and what is planned next so that Saddam Hussein can catch the news and make his plans accordingly is the equivalent of "bovine scatology."
You say that, "Censorship keeps news the public needs out of its hands." Who determines what the public needs?
If the press had its way, extra desks would be added to the Oval Office so that every second would be monitored and reported.
I defend the First Amendment rights of a free press, but more often than not lately, the press has been guilty of excesses -- even to the point of hiring on TV ex-generals who bring their knowledge to explain strategies which should not be broadcast.
Yes, I do want to know what is going on, but not at the expense of the lives of our servicemen who may be compromised by the news.
Richard L. Lelonek.