Editor: The Department of Natural Resources has a mandate to protect our waterways, but at the upper reaches of St. Leonard Creek the DNR is promoting a water slalom course that has and will continue to create havoc to this environmentally sensitive area.
The headwaters are shallow; the waterway is narrow; the course proper is in three to six feet of water. The tow boats, powerful and fast, turn in one foot of water. The constant prop-washing in these shallow waters results in turbidity that is the bane of aquatic plants.
Past accumulations of nitrates and phosphates in the water resulted in the killing of the bay's aquatic vegetation, and just when the efforts of private persons, corporations and state and federal agencies have begun to "turn the tide" so that the revegetation is actually beginning to happen, along comes the DNR to support what can only be called aquatic drag racing.
Is it not possible that the DNR, which oversees the Boating Administration, which in turn oversees the Recreational Boating Area Management Planning and Policy Program, has gone astray and lost sight of its mandate regarding natural resources? Or perhaps DNR really stands for Department of Nautical Recreation. Is there not a hint here of a way for the budget-strapped State of Maryland to save some money?
DNR is supposed to help in restoring our waters to a natural condition. Water skiers using the slalom course cause the bottom sediments to become suspended in the water and thus the turbidity. The waves caused by the overpowered tow boats and the swerving maneuvers of the skiers erode the shoreline so that trees now topple into the creek. I believe that DNR needs its water wings clipped so that natural resources once again becomes the byword in the department.
$ Clayton Nielsen.
Editor: Your article on June 11 regarding the report of the Kettering Foundation was right on the mark. The American voter is fed up with the political apparatus in both parties since their objectives differ from that of the average voter.
After registering approximately 4,000 Marylanders to vote, I can assure you that the average voter is not apathetic; however, the body politic is frustrated and angry. They know that the main objective of incumbents is re-election at all costs and at the expense of good government. The influence of lobbyists, the press and that of the political "elite class" far outweighs the influence of the average citizen.
While there are movements springing up throughout America advocating term limitation, another method would be the adoption of the "open primary."
Currently, 20 states out of 50 have an open primary. Secretary of State James Baker told me personally that the open primary in Texas definitely opened up the state to a two-party political system. The same is true in Virginia, which adopted an open primary system in the early '70s and is now a two-party state.
An open primary differs from a closed primary in that: (1) a candidate may run in either party's primary with or without the party endorsement, (2) a voter is registered to vote with no party identification, and (3) a voter selects which party's primary he wishes to vote in at the polling place on Election Day -- not 30 days prior to the election. This method of candidate selection supports the voter's right of freedom of association, expression and choice on Election Day.
& Henry C. Marshall.
The writer is co-chairman of Marylanders for an Open Primary (MOP).
Enemy Is Us
Editor: As an American of African ancestry, I am outraged that so-called leaders, mostly unelected, would oppose the nomination [to the Supreme Court] of Judge Clarence Thomas, a member of our community.
Also, it is despicable that the so-called black caucus, of which my representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kweisi Mfume, is a member, would deny this gentleman a chance to be heard in the confirmation process before passing judgment. President Bush is not going to pick a liberal. This should be apparent to anyone. But the leaders seem to be saying, "We would rather have a conservative from another ethnic group who may be more conservative than one of our own who knows the horrors, bias, prejudice and discrimination."
Could one believe that a Jewish, Italian, Catholic, etc. would be opposed by members of those respective groups? In the words of Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
' Stanley M. Jackson. Baltimore.
Editor: Michael Olesker has hit upon the solution to a continuing problem: what to call the New Community College of Baltimore?
In his July 16 column, Mr. Olesker said that it was more appropriate to name a new college after Justice Thurgood Marshall than a new stadium. I agree.
S.B. 381, the statute creating NCCB, requires the college's board to recommend a new name for the school to the General Assembly. What better name than Thurgood Marshall? Using his name would honor both Mr. Marshall and the college.
% Deborah M. Mason. Severna Park.
When Taverns Become Liquor Stores
Editor: The editorial "No Skid Row Allowed" (July 9) was appalling for numerous reasons. The writer demonstrated a clear ignorance of the facts and efforts of this board regarding the transformation of taverns into liquor stores.
First and foremost is the fact that neither the current city administration nor a task force committee of the present city administration can be credited with bringing the issue of taverns converting to liquor stores to the forefront.
The present and previous liquor boards have addressed this issue with vigor, much to the chagrin of many licensees, %J politicians, liquor industry representatives/lobbyists and trade organizations.
Second, the issue of taverns operating as liquor stores has been held to be perfectly legal according to an opinion requested by this board from its legal adviser, the state Attorney General's office.
Third is this board's deliberate attempts in working with various communities to address the problematic issue of taverns converting to liquor stores. The present board and executive staff have worked longer and harder with community organizations to address the issue of taverns becoming liquor stores as well as the sale and distribution of chemical/fortified wines and smaller sizes of alcoholic beverages than ever before.
In Baltimore City, there are presently 610 seven-day Class BD-7 tavern licenses or 38 percent of the total licenses issued. This category was created by the General Assembly in 1965 to address a problem with seven-day restaurant licensees who were not serving sufficient food to qualify as a restaurant. The license permits holders to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises and to also sell package goods to go. Most of these licenses were operated as legitimate taverns until the 1968 riots. Many licensees, out of fear for their lives, installed bulletproof partitioning which significantly altered the concept of a tavern operation.
The transformation of Class BD-7 taverns into liquor stores has not gone unnoticed by this board, nor has this board turned a blind eye to the issue. The board has clearly hit the nail on the head in its proposed regulation which was summarily rejected by city legislators in favor of state legislation.
This board is not mystified by the issues at hand but will continue to work toward a resolution of taverns converting to liquor stores by effective legislation and/or regulation.
Additionally, the problematic issues regarding the sale of certain brands and sizes of alcoholic beverages at individual establishments in Baltimore City will continue to be addressed on a case-by-case basis as the current law allows.
$ George G. Brown. Curtis H. Baer. Charles E. Thompson. Baltimore.
Mr. Brown is chairman and Messrs. Baer and Thompson are commissioners of the Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City.
Air Power Always Dominates
Editor: If the gulf war's lessons are being misread, it is not by the Air Force, but by people like Jeffrey Record (Opinion Commentary, July 9).
In emphasizing what he sees as the unique aspects of this war, Mr. Record seems to be attempting to ignore the reality that air power dominates the conduct of all modern conventional (as opposed to revolutionary) wars.
Time and again a major lesson of war has been that inferiority in the air means defeat, even if one possesses a superior army. German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel showed that he had learned this lesson when he observed, "A balance in the air would have made the old rules of warfare valid again . . . Anyone who has to fight, even with the most modern weapons, against an enemy in complete command of the air, fights like a savage against modern European troops, under the same handicaps and with the same chances of success."
Korea provided another lesson that the rules of war had changed when air power prevented first the North Koreans and later the Chinese from pushing United Nations ground forces off the peninsula. Still another lesson was taught in 1972 when air power played a key role in the defeat of the North Vietnamese ground offensive.
Unfortunately, despite repeated lessons, there are still many like Mr. Record who refuse to recognize air power's dominant role in modern war. Instead, they try to find some reason why the latest lesson was "unique."
This failure to learn could be due to a tendency to look at war from a tactical rather than campaign perspective.
A tactical perspective can cause people like Mr. Record to miss the forest for the trees when it comes to understanding war. It can even cause them to become obsessed with determining which weapons killed the most tanks, rather than trying to understand what made it possible to kill tanks in the first place or even if it was necessary to kill large numbers of tanks. This tactical perspective explains why some pundits want the Air Force to build tank-killing "mudfighters," rather than aircraft that make it possible to win campaigns by achieving and maintaining control of the air and by conducting devastating strategic attacks.
Given the repeated lessons of modern war, isn't it time that pundits like Mr. Record finally see that air power's dominant role in the gulf war was not unique?
1! Lt. Col. Price Bingham, USAF. Montgomery, Ala.
The writer is chief of the Current Doctrine Division at the Airpower Research Institute.