Carroll County needs to cooperate in area's...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Carroll County needs to cooperate in area's water-supply solution

On behalf of Baltimore County government, I want to respond to some issues raised in The Sun's article "Carroll threatens to abandon reservoir pact with Baltimore" (Sept. 1).

It is unfortunate, at a time when it is requesting to use several million additional gallons per day of water from the Baltimore metropolitan system, that Carroll County is placing its own interests above those of the region and its water supply.

It is unfortunate that Carroll County is unwilling to continue a 20-year commitment to protect the water source and has threatened to withdraw from the regional reservoir management program.

At issue are commitments made by Baltimore City and Baltimore and Carroll counties in 1984, and reaffirmed in 1990, not to decrease agricultural and conservation zoning or increase urban development zoning in reservoir watersheds.

Carroll County balked in 1996 during discussions for a reaffirmation of that agreement, because it wants to expand industrial zoning for several hundred acres of land in the watersheds of Liberty and Loch Raven reservoirs.

Carroll County's unbridled growth is causing problems because of treatment plant discharges in the reservoir watersheds and is making that county the poster child for unmanaged growth.

Now Carroll County is asking the other governments to change their commitments to sound land management.

At a time when the challenges of providing a high-quality water supply for the region are becoming more difficult, weakening the reservoir agreement is clearly not in Baltimore County's interest, nor is it welcomed by Baltimore City.

Since its 1996 objections to reaffirming the reservoir agreement, Carroll County has not put specific proposals on the table for regional discussion. It has apparently not even conducted any environmental studies on this issue.

Meanwhile, the regional reservoir program has been paralyzed by the inability to overcome this setback.

We appreciate that Julia Walsh Gouge, a former Carroll County representative to the reservoir program, is at least at the table after Carroll County representatives were absent for some years.

But Carroll County must demonstrate some leadership in crafting workable solutions.

George G. Perdikakis Towson

The writer is director of the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management.

D.C. suburbs' water is subject to regulation

In its coverage of the proposed sale of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), The Sun has several times suggested that the WSSC is the only water utility in Maryland not subject to the authority of the Public Service Commission ("Water utility sale debated," Sept. 13).

In fact, with respect to government-owned utilities, the opposite is true.

Maryland, like other states, regulates investor-owned utilities but has no jurisdiction over the government-owned systems, which account for 85 percent of the water industry.

The only exception is a law that allows WSSC customers, under some circumstances, to appeal rates and charges to the PSC.

This makes the WSSC the only government-owned utility in Maryland which is subject to the authority of PSC.

John J. Boland Baltimore

The writer is a professor in the department of geography and environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Don't rush to dismiss a fine police commissioner

I find it difficult to understand why both mayoral candidates have indicated they will replace Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier ("Mayoral hopefuls to clean house," Sept. 16). I have heard no rational arguments from either candidate to support their positions.

On the other hand, I see that crime in Baltimore is steadily and slowly declining and I know Mr. Frazier to be a man who cares about our community.

Embattled by often frivolous accusations since the day he took office, Mr. Frazier has steadfastly put the safety of the citizens of Baltimore in the forefront. His revival of Police Athletic League centers in the city will have a lasting impact.

I, for one, will rue the day he's forced to leave office.

Sharon B. Wharton Baltimore ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. has backed Indonesia's brutality in East Timor

The United States' newfound concern for the people of East Timor is enough to make one sick.

After spending decades as the military and financial supporter of those who oppress the East Timorese, the United States (and its allies) now claim to act as rescuers.

The U.S. government gave the bloody regime of President Suharto the "all-clear" to invade East Timor in the 1970s, supported the Indonesian military with billions of dollars, trained Indonesian military officers and special police and supplied weapons to the Indonesian army.

The U.S. government and the media behave as if the violence and oppression in East Timor were new. The degree of atrocity has clearly been magnified in recent weeks, but violence by the Indonesian military against the people of East Timor has long been well known.

Yet the United States has refused demands that it change its policies.

As has been the case in so many other humanitarian catastrophes, this one could have been avoided if the United States had stopped its active support of Indonesia's dictatorship years ago.

We are led to believe that the United States is the humanitarian policeman of the world, when the truth is that it is the world's leading arms supplier and this bloodshed is the natural consequence.

Terry Fitzgerald Baltimore

Baptists' prayers for Jews: helping find a savior . . .

I have been reading in The Sun about opposition to Southern Baptists praying for Jews during the "Days of Awe" ("Southern Baptists urge prayer to convert Jews to Christianity," Sept. 10). As a Southern Baptist, I am saddened that our intentions have been misunderstood.

Our message is one of love, not hate -- of inclusion, not exclusion.

Southern Baptists believe that it does not matter what color you are or how good you are; you can become part of God's family if you put your faith in Jesus and make God the boss of your life.

I, too, believe it's wrong to force one's religion on another. But I'm not sure why it's wrong to pray for the Jews.

Since Biblical times, Jews have been looking for the messiah. It is because of our love for the Jews that we're praying they'll find him.

Jo-Ann Hofmann Kingsville

. . . or a chance to renew Jewish identity, belief?

Is Southern Baptists' desire to convert Jews intolerance of their faith? ("Southern Baptists are on the offensive against Jews, others," Opinion Commentary, Sept. 14)? Yes.

But are the Baptists anti-Semitic in issuing a proclamation of conversion? Not necessarily. While some Baptists are undoubtedly anti-Semitic, the call to mission is not inherently anti-Semitic.

It is basic to Christianity that Jews (and other non-Christians) are damned unless they accept Jesus as their messiah.

If one believes this, one must view Jews' refusal to accept the Christian messiah either with pity or contempt, or a combination of both.

Baptists are honest about their intentions. I much prefer this to those who perform their evangelical missions "discreetly," which is much more dangerous to unsuspecting and unaffiliated Jews.

Jews who observe the Torah's tenets and who have a strong sense of who they are are not the least threatened by Southern Baptists praying for them to convert.

The Baptist directive is a wake-up call for Jews -- to examine themselves, their identity, their ignorance of their own religion -- and do something about it.

Galia Berry Baltimore

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