A mom's concern about Annapolis' anti-loitering bill
I read Norris West's column in The Sun on Sept. 19 ("Annapolis could take a lesson from Baltimore") and decided to write.
I am a single mother who lives in public housing. I have a son. Like many African-American parents, I am concerned about my son's future. I have been very concerned about the ordinance proposed by Alderman Herbert McMillan. Frankly, given the way that young black males are treated in our society, we all should be concerned.
Mr. West's suggestion that Mr. McMillan meet with black leaders in the community and come up with legislation that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Black Clergy can agree on is an excellent suggestion.
I do not believe that it is constructive to have an alderman attacking community leaders who raise legitimate issues.
It appears that Baltimore City Councilman Martin O'Malley was successful in the recent mayoral primary because he "listened" to the African-American community. Why hasn't Mr. McMillan been able to get the support of aldermen Cynthia A. Carter and Samuel Gilmer or Police Chief Joseph S. Johnson. If he sits down with these leaders, a suitable compromise can be worked out.
Marilyn D. Scott
Police, destroy all seized guns
We do need one more gun law to stop the largest un-licensed gun dealer in this country from selling used guns: police departments from all over the country.
Ninety percent of used guns sold at gun shows come from police departments. A gun dealer bought 133 handguns, 198 shotguns and 42 assault rifles from one police department; some were used to kill the children at Littleton. The police chief said, "He did not know his men were selling assault rifles," as if the handguns and shotguns were OK with him.
I saw a report on TV that the police have more than 70 million guns in their property rooms. If those were destroyed, it would make a large dent in the 250 million guns in this country.The police take in more guns than are sold in a year in this country.
Regulators lax about pollution in North County
Your recent editorial in The Sun in Anne Arundel ("Life among the smokestacks," Sept. 23) offers some much-needed insight into the issue of industrial pollution in northern Anne Arundel County.
Indeed, we who live in the area have reason for serious concern since we have seen the fate of our neighbors to the north. Wagners Point, Fairfield, Curtis Bay and Hawkins Point all have been rendered unhealthy, unsafe and in some cases uninhabitable in the name of "economic development" fueled by an intense concentration of smokestack industries.
What is even more frightening to North County residents is that state and county regulators now seem inclined to ignore the folly of those examples by continuing to funnel noxious industry -- most recently, an asphalt plant and a waste transfer station -- to an area already pushed to the environmental edge.
Regulators appear ready and willing to write off the health and future of yet another community and another generation of children.
However, residents of northern Anne Arundel County don't want or need The Sun's or anyone else's sympathy. What we urgently need are county planning officials with the foresight to make environmentally wise land-use decisions.
If that isn't possible, we need state and federal environmental officials with the backbone to protect the air and water quality of all the people of Anne Arundel County regardless of age, race or socioeconomic status.
So, if we don't want any more smokestacks and landfills, what do residents of northern Anne Arundel County want? Well, this resident would welcome new economic development efforts that include high-tech, growing businesses instead of outdated, polluting industries. Imagine telecommunications centers instead of tar trucks; microchips instead of medical waste.
Unfortunately, North County residents will be forced to continue to battle to receive minimal consideration while they are callously treated as expendable human pawns in the name of economic prosperity, while an uncaring, uninterested government stands idly by.
Marcia E. Drenzyk
Your editorial, "Life among the smokestacks," makes some excellent points about how the people of northern Anne Arundel County have been forced to bear a disproportionate share of the environmental burden associated with economic growth.
But another point needs to be made: Government regulators' failure to control the march of smokestack industry through southern Baltimore and northern Anne Arundel County is taking a toll on the health of us all.
It's puzzling that Maryland air-quality officials, who went out of their way to criticize construction of natural gas-fueled power plants in Virginia, seem to have no problem giving the go-ahead to yet another smokestack industry (an asphalt plant) in northern Anne Arundel County, an area already teeming with emissions from coal-fired power plants, chemical factories and a medical incinerator.
The odor, noise and truck traffic associated with the proposed asphalt plant may be limited primarily to nearby communities. However, the volatile organic compounds released during asphalt production and loading would add to the serious air-quality problem that plagues our region.
For most of us, the relentless advance of smokestack industry into northern Anne Arundel County is "out of sight." However, for anyone concerned about the quality of air in Central Maryland, it certainly should not be "out of mind."
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