Dole misses mark sniping at 'Travelgate'U.S. Sen....

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Dole misses mark sniping at 'Travelgate'

U.S. Sen. Robert Dole, the Kansas Republican, is like a shark that smells blood in the water.

He is spending his valuable time trying to convince the American people that the "Travelgate" affair at the White House is the moral equivalent of the Watergate scandal.

Senator Dole seems more concerned with the alleged conflict-of-interest involving the travel office than he was about the Iran-contra scandal or former President George Bush's policy (National Security Directive 26) of developing an alliance with dictator Saddam Hussein.

It is obvious that the Clinton administration badly mishandled the White House travel office.

But does this political error rise to such a level that the powerful minority leader of the U.S. Senate has to spend his time trying to get special counsel appointed to investigate?

Senator Dole, who says he is greatly concerned about the cronyism that went on there, should ask himself: Did my wife Elizabeth get appointed to the job of Secretary of the U.S. Labor Department because she was best qualified person in America for the job?

Or did her political connections, including the fact that she was married to a senior U.S. senator, have anything to do with her appointment by former President Ronald Reagan?

Perhaps Mrs. Dole's marriage to Senator Dole had nothing to do with her appointment. I'm sure Senator Dole and other Republicans will say that it did not. But most Americans assume that it didn't hurt Mrs. Dole to be married to Senator Dole. Was this cronyism?

There are far more important issues for Mr. Dole to be focusing on. The economy, war, nuclear proliferation, pollution, the AIDS epidemic and health care, racism, poverty and hunger. Americans want solutions from Washington, not power-plays.

Senator Dole would be wise to use his leadership position to work constructively with President Bill Clinton and leave the partisan political attacks on the handling of the travel office to others.

Grason Eckel

Baltimore

Shelter not enough

In reference to "Homeless may get a have to sleep off drugs and alcohol," (The Sun, June 22), I would like to offer these comments.

Addicts and alcoholics do not need a resting place only. They are just like you and me or any one else who has temporarily lost focus and is in need of some assistance in regaining their direction. To merely offer them a place to sleep it off withbout providing an option to change their direction or present situation is an atrocity.

I am in favor of the proposal to have members of the business district make a major contribution in the funding of such a venture. The drug abusers and alcoholics that roam the downtown business district are a part of our society. Some are our friends and family members. Why should we not render assistance in helping them to become a functioning part of society rather than a dysfunctioning part as presently thought of by many?

alerie Lumpkin

Baltimore

Distorted figure

I write to share some thoughts regarding J. Bernard Hihn's letter and its appearance, entitled "Summer fleshpots," in The Forum of July 13.

While I do not take issue with the writer's point, I do take issue with the accompanying illustration -- boxed to make sure we'd all notice. A quick phone call reveals that the illustration was a reprint of a drawing by an Evening Sun staffer.

It is most interesting to note that the letter, as it appeared in print, was not gender specific. The Evening Sun, however, by selecting this illustration leaves no doubt as to its interpretation of the writer's intent.

Perhaps it was an unintended peek (so to speak) at the newspaper's, and thereby our culture's, attitudes toward those, especially women, who do not meet our largely media imposed image of the perfect body.

Noreen T. Startt

Baltimore

Letting off steam

On July 7, an article appeared concerning the USS Coral Sea, which was both sad and amusing.

The story was indexed on Page 1, quote: "USS Coral Sea steams to Baltimore salvage yard," which would imply that she was proceeding under her own power . . . Actually, she was being towed.

The reporter called the carrier a diesel-powered ship. Not so, as all carriers are propelled by steam turbines, even the nuclear-powered ones, which use a nuclear reactor as fuel to heat the steam, which turns the turbines.

Near the story's end, the reader was informed that the ship was engine-less, as the Navy had thoroughly stripped the ship. But, she had "steamed" from Philadelphia to Baltimore!

Jack Kelly

Overlea

Expanding Pine Ridge Golf Course

It is outrageous that the city is planning to expand the Pine Ridge Golf Course at Loch Raven Reservoir -- outrageous that the frivolous pastime of a few people should take precedence over the water supply for the entire region (Baltimore City and parts of Baltimore, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties) -- outrageous that the city should go forward with its plans without the concurrence of Baltimore County (in which the reservoir is located) -- outrageous that the city is disregarding the recommendations of its own task force on management of the city-owned reservoirs.

Baltimore has a good water supply due to the foresight of early planners.

VTC Today, foresight is in short supply, and the vegetative buffers that are intended to protect the reservoirs from runoff of silt and harmful chemicals are under relentless attack.

In recent years we've had a gas line, high voltage power lines, logging and, now, expansion of the Pine Ridge Golf Course.

Public outcry over logging operations prompted the city (which owns the area's three reservoirs) to establish a Watershed Management Task Force composed of representatives of the city, private industry, and community groups.

After holding 20 open meetings and a public hearing, the task force published a 31-page report of its findings and recommendations.

The report sensibly concluded that enhancement and protection water quality should be the paramount consideration in managing the reservoirs.

In keeping with this goal, it recommended that no current recreation activity be expanded and no new recreation activity be added on municipal watershed lands.

The report noted that management of the golf course involves extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides, which can threaten water quality.

In view of all this, it seems inconceivable that the city could be considering expansion of the golf course.

However, the Baltimore Board of Estimates has agreed to let the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation conduct a six-month feasibility study on the environmental impact of expanding the course from 18 to 39 holes.

The study itself will be damaging since it will include drilling, tree-cutting, and road-building.

The study seems pointless since expanding the golf course would clearly be detrimental to the reservoir, and Mayor Schmoke and other members of the board are reportedly disinclined to allow the expansion.

Further, any study conducted by the golf corporation can be expected to be suspect and self-serving.

Citizens of Baltimore City and Baltimore County should contact the mayor, City Council President Mary Pat Clarke and County Executive Roger Hayden to oppose the study and golf course expansion. As the task force report states:

"Users of these facilities should realize that our municipal watersheds and upland reservoirs were acquired and developed meet the water supply needs of the Metropolitan Baltimore area, not the recreational needs of the region.

'We cannot continue to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for new or expanded recreational use without jeopardizing water quality and biodiversity.

"Those who look upon recreational use of municipal watersheds and upland reservoirs as a 'right' should instead understand that such use is a 'privilege' and as such is subject to revocation for abuse.

"Like timber harvesting, recreation has no positive impact on water quality, and the preservation of water quality must ultimately take precedence over recreation."

Sidney Turner

Catonsville

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