Park SuggestionI am a real estate broker...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Park Suggestion

I am a real estate broker specializing in commercial-industrial and development real estate. At the risk of committing real estate heresy I do not believe the demise of the proposed Red Run Lake at Owings Mills adversely affects the quality of life or is the end of the development world.

My recollection is that the proposed creation of the lake by damming Red Run was first and foremost for flood control. As the lake proposal has floundered for over a decade among differing priorities of Maryland, Baltimore County and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, much more stringent runoff, storm water management and environmental controls have evolved than were in place when the lake was originally envisioned.

The pastures, the lowlands, the skunk cabbage and the frogs where the lake was proposed may have a new lease on the life that they have enjoyed since the ice age, by being left alone.

I suggest that the public and private sectors cooperate and create a true conservation oasis, maintain a delicate balance between development and nature and not turn it into a planned (( park with ball fields, picnic tables, charcoal grills and overflowing trash containers.

Evaluate incorporating this 150-acre oasis into the exciting and existing Soldiers Delight Conservation Area. It wouldn't even require a new governmental bureau to administer the area.

SG Like prohibition, the lake was a magnificent idea that didn't work.

Robert S. Knatz Jr.

Reisterstown

Mintz's Concern

Your editorial regarding Baltimore County Councilman Melvin Mintz's request to have a closer look at the $500,000 budgeted item for reopening Sudbrook Middle School sarcastically called him G for Generous. Perhaps, he should be called C for Concerned. Wouldn't it have been easier for the councilman to leave this matter alone and not get involved?

What you fail to recognize is that the process is one in which the planners in the Department of Education usually meet with the community, listen a little, look at numbers and a map, then hand down a plan. At that point the community has to jump up and down to get it changed. All Councilman Mintz is suggesting is that the community be involved in the decision-making process at the beginning rather than at the end.

Your earlier article mentions that Old Court Middle School is undercrowded. It doesn't take a genius to look at the map and see that some neighborhoods currently being bused to Pikesville Middle School would have a shorter distance to travel to Old Court Middle School, thus alleviating the overcrowding at Pikesville Middle School and saving the Sudbrook capital budget expense and additional administrative expense.

I applaud Councilman Melvin Mintz for his attention to this matter.

Sheldon S. Shugarman

Baltimore

Self-fulfilling Prophesies

The problems of the Baltimore City Public Schools have been recounted in several Sun feature series over the years.

My concern is that there is and could continue to be no positive result from these examinations. To repeat individuals' "opinions" about the presumed inefficiency, mismanagement and incompetence of public school and city officials, who allegedly waste taxpayers' money, without examining the basis for these assertions, is irresponsible and reprehensible.

Such statements appearing again and again have the effect of becoming validated as truth by an unknowing populace. Too often, opinions pro and con serve the function of documenting controversy and solidifying polarization.

Highlighting funding problems, for example, without carefully explaining their impact on management decisions, staffing and supply shortage, for example, is not helpful. Explanations given by managers are dismissed as "excuses" or self-serving. An analysis by an objective, research-directed journalist carries a different import.

In my opinion the community and state would be better served if higher journalistic standards were applied to issues of such urgent significance as the education of citizenry. Generalizations should be avoided. Cause and effect relationships should be clearly made, not alluded to almost as an after-thought.

When attitudes underlying the animosity toward the city and its schools are not examined, when bias and prejudices are not exposed and the real truths are not faced, problems continue to mount. Critics become more entrenched in their distortions, accusations continue and ultimately we all pay the tragic costs of indifference and neglect.

Joan Y. Harris

Columbia

Biodiversity Treaty

In his recent letter criticizing President Bush for "destroying" the Earth Summit, Dr. Dan Morhaim neglected to mention a fact that has also been largely ignored by the mainstream media.

Had President Bush signed the biodiversity treaty, he would have committed the United States to yet another massive transfer of funds to nations abroad.

Considering that the world's neo-socialist community played a major role in planning the conference, one cannot help but wonder how much of this latest wealth redistribution effort is environmental and not simply political.

Environmental issues are important, and the recently enacted Clean Air Act is an example of a comprehensive yet measured attempt to address ecological concerns. But ceding our nation's economic sovereignty to a panel of international bureaucrats would be naive and self-destructive.

Given the circumstances, George Bush made the only realistic decision.

Richard J. Cross 3d

Timonium

55 Is Not Enough

I take great issue with GEICO Vice President August P. Alegi's letter of June 14 that Gov. William Donald Schaefer rode some kind of public opinion groundswell to veto a proposed 65 mph limit.

That law would have had effect on just a few large, rural highways that were built to handle 65 (or even just 60) easily and safely.

More importantly, it would be in complete error to suggest his veto was a popular decision. It did not reflect the will of the legislature, much less the opinion of most Marylanders.

We've grown to believe that the 55 mph limit -- our great national hypocrisy -- is as unreasonable a restriction here as it was in neighbor states where it's been repealed.

In the past, federal highway funding has blackmailed and coerced its will on the states in a number of issues -- seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet laws, a raised drinking age, adherence to a 55 mph limit and other points of challenged popularity.

Maryland was one of three states threatened with a loss of $7 million in funding until Department of Transportation officials could report the majority of us were complying with the 55 mph limit.

Mr. Alegi's commendation of the Maryland State Police in speed enforcement is not universally shared. For the last 10 years, Maryland has been on or near the top of states in per capita speed tickets issued, and we're just plain sick of our speed-trap image.

The newly-appointed acting superintendent of state police was duly questioned for his lack of command experience and the political/personal mode of his appointment. But he did hint that a change was underway where troopers would be better known for their crime work than their traffic work. I liked that.

I don't buy all of Mr. Alegi's safety statistics and I surely don't trust his motivation. The auto insurance industry sits like a buzzard atop the Motor Vehicle Administration, waiting to raise rates at every opportunity. GEICO even has a large program to give out new laser beam and other speed tracking equipment to police agencies. But one wonders if their motivation is tainted more by profit than safety.

The first sentence of Governor Schaefer's explanation for that 1991 veto contained insurance concerns. Please don't take the insurance lobby's word that we like the double nickel. On selected highways, we don't.

All we're looking for is the right to travel in a reasonable, expeditious and yet safe cruising speed, and 55 ain't it. We can do more safely without our troopers nipping at our heels and our insurers nipping at our wallets.

Dick French

Aberdeen

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