Criticism angers police president
I believe the time has come for the police to say enough is enough.
In the past month, I have read four letters to the editor that dealt with how the police shot an elderly lady because she had mental problems and a knife. What we should have done was wait for her to stab one of the officers, possibly killing him or her, and then we could have told the family that the police did the right thing.
Now we have another situation to deal with. In your Feb. 5 edition, Miriam Kirkner wants to again criticize the police. She wrote about the Baltimore County police chasing a poor, misguided criminal which resulted in a tragic injury to Adrienne Walker-Pittman.
I would like to say that my department is the police agency for FTC BWI Airport. A number of the officers in my Lodge probably know Ms. Walker-Pittman personally. I feel sorry for anyone who is innocently hurt by someone who does not deserve to be walking the streets. I wish Ms. Walker-Pittman was not in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What bothers me is that Ms. Kirkner chooses to lay the blame on the police chasing the criminal. It was reported that the police were not chasing him when he crashed the car into Ms. Pittman. You have to ask yourself if you want to believe what the police reported. That is up to the individual.
My question to Ms. Kirkner is: What would you like us to do? If someone robs you, steals your car and possibly shoots you in the process, what should we do? Let them go to do it again and again? Or should we chase them?
What do you think Ms. Walker-Pittman would have wanted us to do after this person did what he did to her? I would not have the nerve to tell her that we decided not to chase him any further and he got away.
William W. Bocklage
The writer is president of the Fraternal Order of Police at the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
County was paid for 'free' plowing
Shame on Kathy Ives of Cockeysville (Jan. 31, "Free snowplowing was unethical"). Does she really think the Timonium Holiday Inn received free snowplowing? If you look in any dictionary, free means "costing nothing." Well, a basic room at the Timonium Holiday Inn is $109 per night. If you can add, you can figure out that 10 rooms for just one night is $1,090. This figure does not even include food for the Baltimore County employees who worked diligently around the clock. How could she say the hotel received free snowplowing from the county?
Ms. Ives was correct in saying the deli trays provided by Ravers Fine Meats were for the county's emergency snow removal employees. What she failed to point out was that the food was not for County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger personally. The Ravers people knew everything was closed, even the 24-hour restaurants. However, they were open and able to provide these food platters to the county employees.
With all due respect, it seems to me that Mr. Ruppersberger was trying to accommodate the entire county and not a friend. His job is to look out for the well-being of everyone involved, especially when we are in a state of emergency.
Smoke detectors can save lives
Whatever happened to the Housing Authority? Whatever happened to home health and safety inspections? Why are innocent lives being taken because someone is too negligent to check a smoke detector?
Recently, the third child this year died due to smoke-detector incompetence. It seems to me that these landlords and/or parents are getting off scot-free, while our children are dying. Why isn't anyone being charged in these deaths? We've heard all types of excuses, no money to buy detectors or batteries. Wake up, the fire department gives them away.
I've even heard the excuse that the parent was young and didn't know any better. I'm 20, have a 9-week-old baby and have two working smoke detectors in my four-room apartment. There is no excuse good enough to condone the multiple deaths due to neglectful parents and landlords.
How many more children have to die before the state realizes that this problem can be prevented by regular inspections and fire safety awareness?
Stadiums don't steal from school funding
Regarding your straw poll (Feb. 4) surveying 64 state legislators representing Prince George's County and Baltimore City to determine support for the proposed stadiums in the city and Landover, I noted with interest that I am one of only four Prince George's County legislators to support both stadiums.
In stark contrast, an overwhelming number of Baltimore City legislators gave their support to both stadiums.
Indeed, I am in full support of Gov. Parris Glendening's visionary efforts to reap the economic benefits of having two NFL franchises located in Maryland.
Opponents attempt to distort the issue by portraying it as a choice between stadium construction and school construction. No such voice actually exists.
It should be emphasized that the Baltimore stadium will be largely financed by tax-exempt revenue bonds which will be repaid over 30 years, and from four sports lotteries.
Maryland law does not allow school construction to be financed this way.
The governor has already dedicated $133 million to school renovation and modernization in this year's budget. That allocation alone is more than 20 times the annual cost of building a Baltimore football stadium.
The governor plans to commit more than a half-billion dollars to school construction during his four-year term.
However, by distorting the issue in this manner, opponents would have the public believe that $200 million in public funds is being diverted from school construction to stadium construction.
This simply is not true.
If there is a choice it is one of choosing to take an effective step in the direction of economic improvement and job creation in Baltimore City and Prince George's County, where jobs are so desperately needed . . . or choosing to turn our backs on an economic and tourism boost that comes along rarely.
Expert economic analysis shows that a Baltimore football team will generate $9.2 million annually in tax revenues, compared to $6.2 million in debt service. That's $3 million per year we would not otherwise have to help fund new schools and Maryland's other priority needs.
I cannot understand what appears to be a legislative aversion to examining the real facts. I cannot comprehend what appears to be a legislative reluctance to admit that these stadiums are crucial to Maryland's continued economic viability.
The writer is a state delegate from the 26th Legislative District.