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Voters need to gain control of school...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Voters need to gain control of school board

The race with the greatest impact on Carroll County in November's election is not for the presidency, but for two seats on the county Board of Education.

Because of a state law concerning maintenance of effort, the county commissioners cannot reduce the amount of money given to the school system. Unless we gain control of the school system's budget from the inside by electing two new members to the Board of Education, our taxes will continue to rise, more county workers will be laid off and more county programs and services will be cut. Builders and developers will also be affected.

Every year that the school system's operating budget consumes more money than it actually needs means another year with less money available to build new schools, and overcrowded schools will prolong the building moratorium. The only solution to our county's budgetary crisis is to elect a school board that will voluntarily return unused funds at the end of the fiscal year.

This does not mean that our children's education will suffer. With so much waste in the school budget (like catered lunches and $50 magazine subscriptions for every administrator), cutting programs for students is inexcusable. Do you honestly believe that your child's education will suffer if Superintendent Brian Lockard doesn't get to take a week-long trip to San Diego or

New Orleans?

Diane Donohue

Finksburg

Gendening wants gambling monopoly

Gov. Parris N. Glendening continues to express serious concerns about the expansion of gambling in the state of Maryland.

Last year, he stopped the racing industry's interactive wagering test from the home. He then added a second set of daily draws to the lottery games. This year, he put the brakes on slots at the racetracks. Then, he began The Big Game for the lottery.

The governor's serious concerns are not rooted in morality but rather in revenue. Each dollar gambled on the Lottery brings 45 cents to the state coffers. Each slot pull could at most have brought 17 cents and each horse bet only yields 2.5 cents per dollar wagered. Every dollar bet at the track or put in a slot machine is "lost" revenue to the state.

The state of Maryland is in the gambling business. It runs a numbers game. The state also controls the private enterprise of horse racing. It seems like the governor has used unfair business tactics while trying to create a monopoly on gambling.

If one business firm tried to oust another business with these tactics, the feds would be all over it with anti-trust litigation.

Come on, governor. If you can put a bookie in every convenience store and bar and expand your gaming selections, why can't private enterprise be given the same opportunity? Gambling is OK in Maryland; the state runs the biggest operation. With 20,000 jobs at stake, don't you think the racing industry should be given a level playing field?

Steve Boggs

Westminster

Story misrepresented governor on growth

The article that appeared in the Sept. 6 county edition of The Sun entitled, "Governor wants counties to end commissioner form of governing," was in error.

Gov. Parris Glendening's "Neighborhood Conservation/Smart Growth" initiative has been a very open, inclusive, bottom-up process. More than 100 ideas were gathered from several hundred organizations all over Maryland. Business, farm, environmental, civic and community groups were contacted for ideas and comments.

What was wrong with The Sun article was the reporter's assertion that Mr. Glendening is advocating charter rule and to end commissioner form of government. While the report given to county planners at the annual meeting of the Maryland Association of Counties last month does state that, "Home rule more readily allows a jurisdiction to address problems of growth and neighborhood revitalization," this statement should not be interpreted as a directive from the governor.

So far, the governor has not made any proposals and does not intend to until the fall. Unfortunately, the reporter must have pulled out one sheet from the pack of ideas being circulated without reading the introduction or the disclaimer. At the bottom of each page, it states, "We asked! You recommended! These suggestions were recommended by fellow Marylanders. They have not been endorsed, supported or adopted by the administration."

The purpose of the governor's effort is to more widely use state resources to assist in creating jobs through a better economic climate, to support existing neighborhoods, to maximize efforts to preserve forest lands and to preserve and strengthen the farm economy. Sprawl is an economic issue. Neither the state nor local governments can afford to continue funding this costly and inefficient pattern of development. Mr. Glendening is providing the leadership to address this pressing costly issue. Let's get the story straight on this important issue.

Ronald N. Young

Baltimore

The writer is deputy director of the Maryland Office of Planning.

We all share the air

Your August 7 article on ozone air pollution by Mary Gail Hare provided Carroll County readers with some valuable information on the pollutant ozone and ways to reduce it. I am writing to clarify the comments reported on the number of bad air days recorded for this summer.

As of Sept. 5, Maryland had experienced four "code red" days exceeding ozone levels this year, although none have been in Carroll County. Daniel Meszler's quote about exceeding the ozone standard were made about the air quality recordings for the Carroll County monitor only. Mr. Meszler's remarks did not include the violations he mentioned to her that have occurred in other parts of the state.

When ozone exceeds the federal health standard, it often does so downwind of where the pollutants that form ozone are generated. In other words, though Carroll County has not experienced ozone levels that are unhealthful, the county has very likely contributed to the unhealthful levels that have been experienced elsewhere.

Currently, the 37 states east of the Rocky Mountains are evaluating how ozone air pollution moves from one region to another and how this transported ozone affects the quality of the air. States are also working to reduce pollution in areas where the transport of air pollutants contributes to unhealthful air quality. The concept of viewing the air we all share in the context of transported air pollution is relatively recent, and one I hope can be noted in The Sun's coverage of this important environmental and health concern.

Merrylin Zaw-Mon

Baltimore

The writer is director of the Air and Radiation Management Administration of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Growing food for a 21st century world

Before we accept Dennis T. Avery's premise that the food self-sufficiency battle is won (July 25, August 27), it should be recalled that prior to the implementation of the Haber process of catalyic synthesis of ammonia from the atmosphere, at the turn of the century, available plant nutrients could barely sustain a population of 1 billion humans. Chilean sodium nitrate guano staved off starvation throughout the western world at that time.

Now we have sextupied our numbers and are totally addicted to this bread-from-the-sky technology.

Providing fertilizer for 10 billion 21st century humans will cause a tremendous drain on our dwindling reserves of non-renewable natural gas. Some 25,000 BTUs of energy are required to reduce 1 ton of ammonia fertilizer using NG; 40 percent of the world's NG reserves are in the former Soviet Union, virtually unavailable to us. A USDA study reveals that as much as 90 percent of field applied nitrogen ammonia fails to reach crop roots, resulting in contamination of ground water and estuaries.

Hopefully, Mr. Avery in the future won't come down so hard on developing fertilizing methods that could show us the way to truly sustainable agriculture.

Worm castings are nature's most efficient means of delivering plant nutrients. Ultimately, humanity must rely on the recycled nutrients of current species rather than the fossilized remains of earlier inhabitants of earth.

Jeremy F. Criss

Sykesville

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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