Growth-control bill would fill sketch work of...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Growth-control bill would fill sketch work of county master plan

The Sun's editorial "Baltimore County in the 'post-growth' era" (Jan. 5) about Baltimore County's master plan accurately noted that the draft of this plan is full of generalities. The master plan, however, is a plan; plans are meant to be general.

Master Plan 2010 will be loosely interpreted as the current master plan has been, leading to continued community disarray and continued erosion of trust that Baltimore County citizens have in their government's ability to maintain a desirable environment for themselves and their families.

This problem has only one solution -- an adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO). An APFO would establish specific minimal standards for all areas managed by government that have an impact the quality of life, such as schools, roads and recreation.

Such an ordinance is especially needed because "smart growth" will ensure only that the citizens of Baltimore County have fewer options to remove themselves from chaotic and overgrown suburbs. Baltimore County can no longer remain a developer's paradise, where big business and government have more to say about what the jurisdiction should be than its hard-working, taxpaying citizens do.

These citizens deserve the protection that an APFO would provide. Without it, "smart growth" and Master Plan 2010 will do little to maintain the quality of life that their generous taxes should guarantee.

Mary Pat Kahle Timonium

Maryland must awaken to shrinking trout waters

What a pleasure it was to see Charlie Gougeon's smiling face on the front page of the Maryland section, thigh deep in a trout stream as usual ("Small fish fuel big debate," Dec. 28).

Mr. Gougeon is one of Maryland's hidden treasures: a public servant who actually serves the public. I was amazed, however, that you slanted your article to make it seem that citizen activists trying to save their neighborhood trout stream were anti-social radicals.

Did Mr. Gougeon forget to tell you -- or did you just fail to print -- that of the approximately 15,000 to 20,000 miles of streams and rivers in Maryland, only about 800 miles still support trout? How could it be that Maryland, with thousands of miles of flowing waters that were once among the best trout habitats in the world, must spend enormous sums of money every year to raise trout artificially to stock our dead streams?

Maryland has to wake up before it's too late. Development destroys our environment.

Harold H. Burns Jr. Baltimore

Nonprofit groups could run drug-dispensing clinics

I was pleased with Gerard Shields' article "David Greene to run for City Council president" (Jan. 6).

Here are two points of clarification:

I am calling for drug dispensing, not by the federal government, but by medical clinics, independent of both federal and local governments, overseen by a commission composed of nonprofit groups such as the Red Cross, Health Care for the Homeless, Women's Housing Coalition, Associated Catholic Charities and Associated Jewish Charities.

The federal government would finance this program from the large savings it would realize by ending the failed "war on drugs." It is true that federal law must be changed to allow the City-Wide Coalition's proposed solution.

Taking the profits out of drugs, as proposed, would probably have cut Baltimore's 1998 homicide toll of 314.

David G. S. Greene Baltimore

Jerry Quarry's death shows boxing is too dangerous

Alan Goldstein's "Longest round ends for Quarry" (Jan. 5) offered a well-researched review of heavyweight contender Jerry Quarry's life.

A father who gave boxing gloves to a 3-year old son and placed him into competition with "leathered older brothers" for physical conditioning was an abusive father. Sadly, many parents continue to encourage dangerous and violent behaviors. One toy store sold out its holiday supply of boxing gloves.

Pediatricians warn parents not to toss their kids in the air to prevent possible brain damage. Doesn't that warn us against physical trauma? "Punch drunk" is not a laughable label.

Gregory Kane's column "Sad death shows need for boxing commission" (Jan. 6) takes a soft approach. Stop boxing for good. It's as archaic as facing lions in an arena. Let's use our brains to save our brains and redefine the word "sport."

Gwen Locke Gibson Towson

No need for witnesses to replay prurient details

It is inconceivable why the Senate needs to consider calling witnesses. Didn't we have enough prurient testimony before the grand jury?

Maybe the sessions are so boring that senators need voyeurism to pep them up.

Alice Anderson Towson

Mfume, studious students are pictures of the year

In response to your publication of favorite photographs of 1998, here are my two favorites:

The expression on Kweisi Mfume's face sympathetic to the many situations he faces with action and grace. Why can't someone persuade him that his leadership is sorely needed in Baltimore's mayoral office?

The faces of the third-grade boys from Harford Heights Elementary School, well-prepared for their assignment to find what makes up a community and intent on accomplishing it. Even without the teacher's picture, it is obvious what kind of person the teacher is: one of extraordinary competence to motivate and lead young people to learn. I have a feeling there are more teachers in Baltimore like this than critics of education suggest.

Joy G. Wheeler Towson

People banking less money because interest is too low

Your editorial "Spendthrifts?" (Jan. 2) makes the observation that savings are at their lowest rate -- people are spending more and saving less.

Missing from the equation is little incentive to save when interest rates are at their lowest in the banks.

Fifty years ago, banks paid 5 percent interest. Now savers are lucky when they get 2 percent. Inflation and cost of living adjustments never touched the savings interest rates.

Richard L. Lelonek Baltimore

Creating safer skies for flight crews

Imagine going to work each day with the expectation you may be screamed at, threatened, kicked, punched or hit. Welcome to the ugly reality an increasing number of flight attendants face ("A calm flight at 10,000 feet, then -- people were screaming," Jan. 5).

An alarming increase in the number of attacks on cabin crew members has occurred in the 1990s. Recently, a flight attendant reported that a passenger violently kicked her after she asked him to stop blocking the aisle with his legs.

The Federal Aviation Administration should respond to incidents of air rage by coordinating law enforcement and action by airlines.

The FAA should require education of passengers through airport announcements and posters and provide for screening at ticket counters.

Such actions would be a significant deterrent to these dangerous acts of violence against crew members.

Pat Friend Washington

The writer is international president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Keep Orioles out of Cuba and nation's foreign affairs

As a Cuban-American I am deeply saddened to learn that the Baltimore Orioles are planning to play exhibition games in Cuba ("Orioles play a role opening door to Cuba," Jan. 5).

This is a great insult to all Cuban people whose loved ones were executed by dictator Fidel Castro.

Although Americans think this is a goodwill effort toward the people of Cuba, the first to benefit will be the Castro government.

With all due respect, please keep the Orioles playing ball in the United States, and let elected officials work out foreign affairs.

Peggy Ruiz Marquez Baltimore

Pub Date: 1/12/99

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