Cars kill more youths than guns slayThe...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Cars kill more youths than guns slay

The importance of a headline to a story was demonstrated in today's Evening Sun (June 9).

The Journal of the American Medical Association published

TC study that said traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teens aged 15-19 years old, and firearms are the second-leading cause.

But the resulting headline in the paper (and most other mass media outlets) played up the firearms deaths and played down the automobile problem.

This is not fair reporting. Cars have killed more Americans than most, if not all, of our wars. They pollute our planet and they support Iraqi dictators and Japanese industrialists.

Karl Hayhurst

Aberdeen Proving Ground

'Drug free home'

When our neighborhoods are threatened by drug dealing and crime, the city puts up a sign that says, "Drug Free Zone."

To help clean up our neighborhoods, we should make our own houses "Drug Free Zones!" We all have to work together and do our part to clean up Baltimore so children can have a safe place to live and play.

Viola Gray

Baltimore

Return meal money

Plaudits to Del. Joseph Bartenfelder, D-Baltimore County, for refusing to accept meal and travel expenses for this year's session of the General Assembly. He is at least one delegate who realizes we are in a bad economic recession and is not greedy. It would be a welcome change if more of our senators and delegates would follow his way.

That goes for the governor as well, but he is so out of touch with reality.

He is supposedly a strong advocate for education, but how can we encourage our youngsters to stay in school when they are so ill-equipped? How can a child perform to his potential when he had to go to bed on an empty stomach, if, indeed, he has a bed?

Also, being employed in the private sector, I was only given an increase in salary for a job well done and as is evident, the legislators have not performed adequately to justify their increase. In two years, we will be rid of the man at the helm of the ship. Hopefully, we will not be worse off than we are at present.

Jeanne H. Hildebrand

Baltimore

Jobs in Maryland

As an editor who supports engineers in several disciplines, I have watched as Westinghouse, Martin Marietta and other corporations laid off hundreds of engineers.

Now, I read that our glorious governor wants to sponsor immigration of several thousand engineers from Eastern Europe to take jobs in Maryland, which has more engineers than it can absorb.

This, plus the governor's repeated and largely fruitless "economic development" globe-trotting at taxpayers' expense, prove that somebody's sanity is open to question. That somebody is not the Maryland taxpayer who stands still for his excesses; or is it?

Charles A. Frainie

Woodlawn

Coke plant editorial shows why press deserves its bad rap

In case you are sitting at your editorial desk perplexed over why the media has gotten such a bad reputation as of late, you only need to look at the "Stop the attacks" editorial in your June 3 edition to find the answers.

I find it incredible that you could backhand one of Howard County's hardest working elected officials for doing exactly the job she was voted in to do -- represent her constituents.

Bowling Brook Farms, that relatively new subdivision you mentioned that would be a half-mile from the proposed Coca-Cola bottling facility at Freestate, is second only to the Columbia Association in the number of residents in its association. With over 500 completed homes and another 300 slated for construction, we are a large number of Howard County citizens who will be greatly affected by whatever ends up at Freestate.

The proposed deal with Coca-Coca, made public by the press, took most of the county by surprise and is a complete change of plans from what had been proposed and presented to area residents for the site. Your claims that the area has been zoned commercial "for years" are completely untrue. Twenty-three acres had only just been rezoned to commercial use since last November for the purpose of a large retail center along with previously planned warehouse facilities. After presentations by the developer and input by the surrounding communities, the rezoning was supported and the developer proceeded to begin plans and solicit tenants for the center.

The remaining 80-plus acres are zoned for light industry. The new Coca-Cola plant does not meet that definition and it will have to be rezoned to heavy industrial use.

So much for your attempt to show that we residents have no inkling as to how this area would be used. It is you who doesn't have a clue as to what is happening in our neck of the woods.

There are several other misstatements in the editorial I would like to correct. It was a spokesperson for County Executive Charles Ecker who first duly noted the large amount of truck traffic that would be coming and going from this plant at all hours. What that person only alluded to was the other necessity -- rail service to the facility. Also, nowhere has anyone said that this facility would generate 500 jobs. It may employ "up to 500" people, but nearly half of those would come from the Coca-Cola headquarters already located in Columbia and others transferred from other Coke plants.

Revenue estimates calculated by others do not come near the $4 million projected by Mr. Ecker's office. And the state has not made public any tax breaks nor any other incentives offered to spur Coke's interest.

In closing, it should be obvious why people are disillusioned with the media when at the very time headlines are blasting our political leaders for not representing the people, being closed and secretive and taking perks from business and special interest that you turn around and lambaste Shane Pendergrass for doing what the voters in her district have elected her to do and believe is "The Right Thing."

Cherie L. McNett

Laurel

The writer is president of the Bowling Brook Farms Homeowners Association

Don't change school expulsion policy

The comments made by Stuart Berger (the incoming Baltimore County school superintendent) concerning the need to "review" the disciplinary policy of the Baltimore County Board of Education are a source of great concern.

According to Dr. Berger, an automatic sentence of expulsion for those students carrying drugs or weapons is tantamount to "mandatory sentencing." It is inconceivable to me, as it should be to all parents, that he cannot see the grave danger changing this policy will bring.

Students have the right to a safe environment in which to learn; school personnel have a right to work and teach in a secure place. To allow students to carry drugs and weapons to school is to rob all others of their fundamental right of safety.

Dr. Berger feels that each case must be settled on an individual basis. While to some this may sound reasonable, in reality it would be devastating.

What possible acceptable reason could a student have for carrying a weapon? Do parents send their children to school to buy drugs or to associate with those who take drugs?

Another area of great concern is Dr. Berger's assertion that a student who attacks a teacher should not automatically be expelled. What message does this give to the youth of today?

Dr. Berger's feelings that students should not be suspended or expelled are spoken like a person who has been out of the classroom for a while. Perhaps Dr. Berger needs to devise and establish an alternative education system for disruptive students, violent students and those on drugs.

Education is a right and a privilege for all, and if a student does not wish to take advantage of the education offered, certainly the student should not be allowed to take the privilege away from others.

The idea of allowing students who deal drugs, take drugs and carry weapons to remain in school should raise red flags and arouse anger and concern in all parents. We can only hope that Dr. Berger will "review" the policy, and, understanding its wisdom, keep it in- tact.

Paula Yevzeroff

Owings Mills

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