Taking Issue with " 'No Growth' Hysteria"
Editor: Your July 27 editorial, " 'No Growth' Hysteria in Howard," is an example of sensationalism.
The editorial referred to "about 2,000 people ultimately living in 937 dwellings." This amounts to 2.13 people per dwelling. I doubt the accuracy of that figure. No mention was made of the 6,300 people expected to work in the employment centers.
You noted the "services and jobs and business opportunities in that part of the county." The Columbia town center is a 20-minute drive from the proposed site and the U.S. 40 business corridor extends from the Baltimore County line to almost Marriottsville Road. Where are the "non-residential roads" other than Interstate 70 to which "the added traffic would be channeled"? I believe the homeowners living along Route 99 and Marriottsville Road, the only other roads bordering the 682-acre site, would disagree with the phrase "non-residential roads".
Apparently The Sun feels the local residents have no "list of positives" against the proposed change to the present zoning.
' Roger D. Hall. Marriottsville.
Editor: In response to your editorial, " 'No Growth' Hysteria in Howard," pardon our hysteria. We are fighting to preserve a very special environment.
The Waverly Woods project is exactly what rural western Howard County doesn't need. Even the name, which includes the word "woods," gives pause. The area is wooded, but this development will destroy the woods. Why do developers feel compelled to name their projects after whatever they destroy in creating them?
What problems will this massive development in a largely rural residential area create? The landfill is almost full. A new site has not been identified. Where will all the excess trash created by 937 homes, a golf course and a 327-acre industrial park be disposed of? Taxpayers certainly will wind up footing a substantially increased burden to handle this problem.
Water and sewer service will have to be extended into the area. Where is all the water supposed to come from? Baltimore is hard-pressed to keep up with present demand. It seems that each summer brings water-use restrictions. What improvements
will have to be made to the sewer capacity to accommodate all the extra water, given that it can be piped in?
Two golf courses already exist in close proximity to the proposed one. Wilcox Springs just opened a few weeks ago. The other, and older, established course at Turf Valley is operating at less than 50 percent of its capacity. What on earth do we need with a third course?
Anyone familiar with Route 99 knows it is running out of traffic-handling capacity. How expensive will it be for the taxpayers to improve the road to handle this new mass of business and residential traffic? How much of the road's present scenic charm will remain when it is straightened and widened to four or six lanes?
Where will the extra classrooms come from to service the children in those 937 new homes crowded onto 302 acres? How about police and fire protection? Who will pay for those capacity increases?
There is a great deal of empty commercial real estate in Columbia and the surrounding area already. How much additional excess capacity will this new 372-acre industrial park create?
Developer Donald R. Reuwer Jr. is quoted as saying that he expects an adequate public facilities ordinance to be in place long before construction begins.
Such an ordinance may or may not be in place, but even if it is, this development will have a profoundly negative impact on land values, quality of life and taxation burden for those of us who live in the area.
Waverly Woods would be a great idea if it were proposed for an area such as Baltimore, Montgomery County, Prince Georges County or Northern Virginia, where extremely heavy development has already destroyed any semblance of the quiet, rural life western Howard County has always represented.
You view heavy development of Howard County as desirable. We who live here and wish to keep our beautiful rural area from becoming another Fairfax County see heavy development as a threat to our way of life. Taken in that context, perhaps our "hysteria" is understandable and even justified.
% Charles A. Aston. Ellicott City.
Editor: A recent article in The Sun reported that Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., has raised a $1 million campaign war chest, hoping to deter opponents in her 1992 re-election bid.
Some 35 percent of that money came from fund raisers in Alabama, California, Ohio and New York. Excuse me, but isn't Ms. Mikulski representing the citizens of the of Maryland?
How come $132,000 from other states is financing the campaign of a person many Marylanders are very displeased with?
If this practice is allowed to continue, it is possible that her huge campaign blitz could overpower any other candidate, no matter how qualified or responsive to Maryland citizens.
Why should Alabama, California, Ohio and New York have so much monetary influence over the Maryland citizens' JTC representation in the Senate? This is one question I would really like to hear the good senator from Maryland and Baltimore answer.
% Mary M. Eckhardt. Baltimore.
Editor: The National Taxpayers Union calls the recent pay raise the U.S. Senate voted itself "a golden parachute" in that it will provide substantially increased lifetime pensions to the senators at additional cost of many millions to taxpayers.
This will undoubtedly exacerbate the anger and frustration of those already upset by the pay raise.
I feel that anger and frustration is misdirected. Those energies would better be focused upon our obscene system of financing political campaigns where there seems to be a strange correlation between large contributions to given candidates and the subsequent votes of those elected officials on issues which are related to the donors.
The two-year terms for representatives and the six-year terms for senators were so-designed originally to not create too heavy an onus on those early patriots willing to act as public servants. They were not intended to be a vehicle for perpetuation in office by virtue of the incumbents invariably receiving the lion's share of campaign contributions -- not necessarily based upon their performance in office, but rather upon the perceived self-interest of the donors.
A trade-off conceding the Congress its benefits paid for by public funds in exchange for appropriate limitations on campaign receipts and spending would be in the public interest.
Herman Katkow. Baltimore.
Editor: The Senate bill mandating physicians and surgeons to disclose HIV positivity to a patient contains a deplorable omission when it does not grant physicians, surgeons and hospitals the absolute right of ordering HIV testing of the patient's blood prior to the commencement of treatment.
The CDC has not documented any case of a physician transmitting the virus to a patient beyond the Florida dental case. However, there have been numerous cases of physicians, surgeons and nurses becoming infected with HIV by transmission from the patient. This writer has represented physicians and nurses who suffered HIV infection from such episodes as capillary tube fracture. Indeed, a young nurse died not too long ago as a result of a puncture from a needle withdrawn from an AIDS child. These are documented, not theoretical, cases.
There is an incredibly higher risk to the physician and surgeon of contracting HIV positivity than there is from the physician to the patient.
Further investigation of the Florida dentist's case revealed that he did not sterilize his instruments but merely placed them in a solution before using the instruments on the next patient.
If Congress does not, then the Maryland legislature should promptly pass legislation granting physicians, surgeons and hospitals the right to test patients for HIV positivity -- with or without consent.
! Marvin Ellin. Baltimore.
'Get a Life'
Editor: Ken Greenwood, coach of Parkville's 13-14 girls softball team (The Sun, July 29), is a loving father and active parent and has his 13-year-old daughter playing on his team. On one level, he is the All-American variety of coach, and, like motherhood and apple pie, he represents all the good things that are associated with sportsmanship and good clean competition.
On another level, we need to stand up and question him.
I don't know if there are racial overtones lurking behind hicomplaints about safety, but I would doubt it. What I do know is that his safety complaints are a technicality. He's worried too much about winning and losing and, I would guess, who in particular he loses to.
Whatever happened to just playing softball, especially in these pre-teen years?
I am the coach of a girls 11-12 lacrosse team in the Towson area. Through a fellow coach in my league, I found myself witnessing this win-at-all-cost mentality. It's hard to handle without emotion.
One of our coaches had the unpleasant experience of coming up against the coach of a neighboring league team who cannot stand losing to our girls because, as I am told, he believes our league has too many private school girls.
He didn't hide behind "safety" arguments to legitimize his forfeit. Instead, in a non-playoff game for 11- and 12-year-olds that was not essential to standings, he forced a forfeit for using "ineligible" kids -- whom our coach pulled from another league team so his team had enough kids to play one particular afternoon. The opposing coach was right, but our coach also was right so the kids on both teams could play that day.
Somewhere in all of this, I think that is the point. Let the kids play and have some fun. The kids have an expression, "Get a life, coach." We need to listen.
# Paul E. Harper. Baltimore.
Editor: Still to be determined: did John Sununu take the job of President Bush's chief of staff for the salary or did he just go for the ride?
% Walter Burdinski. Baltimore.