Baltimore County's east side benefited from many projects
Jackie Nickel made some erroneous and misleading statements regarding Essex and Middle River and eastern Baltimore County in her July 13 letter ("Baltimore County's east side recipient of many rotten apples").
She stated that all the east side got were a sewerage treatment plant, low-income apartments and MTO relocations.
The Back River Wastewater Treatment plant was built in 1903 when the area was a remote marsh surrounding Baltimore City. The low-income apartments were built to house workers at Martin Aircraft during World War II and others were built as middle-income apartments in the 1960s.
As far as Moving To Opportunity, that was a federal government program put together by former President George Bush. No one moved to Essex and Middle River as a result of it.
Baltimore County and state governments have spent $800 million on the east side of Baltimore County during the past six years.
Baltimore County invested $5 million for a new Essex Elementary School, $5 million for a new Martin Boulevard Elementary School, $8 million for Kenwood High School renovations, $650,000 for Hawthorne Elementary renovations and $1.5 million for the Altenburg regional park.
It spent $5 million for street renovations on Eastern Boulevard, $15 million to purchase the Tall Trees Apartment complex (4,800 police calls per year), $1.5 million to demolish the Riverdale Apartments (5,000 police calls per year), $2 million to purchase the Shapiro property in Back River Neck as an environmental area, $5 million for a new Earls Road bridge, $2 million for the Dundee-Saltpeter nature center, $30 million for new sewer construction in the waterfront communities, etc.
The tough job will be to get elected officials from other parts of the county to continue to support these revitalization efforts on the east side after they read this letter.
Vincent J. Gardina, Towson
The writer represents the 5th District on the Baltimore County Council.
County condemnation bill violates property rights
I am clearly on record in strong philosophical opposition to Senate Bill 509, which I view as an unconstitutional violation of the right of individuals to be secure in their private property. I signed and collected signatures on the petition to put this bill to referendum.
I was therefore concerned to read in your July 20 article an ineptly worded sentence that could create the impression that I was "holding out hope that [C.A. Dutch] Ruppersberger could emerge victorious if the county government out-organizes its opposition" ("Ruppersberger's support at risk in land seizures").
It would have been accurate to state that I expressed concern that this was a possible outcome if the opponents of the bill do not wage a major countywide education campaign.
Baltimore County voters must understand that this is a significant broadening of the county's authority to condemn property under eminent domain.
Clearly, I hope that the citizens overturn this bad bill when they go to the polls in November.
Ellen R. Sauerbrey, Baldwin
MTA Cold Spring parking lot plans minimum disruption
It was dismaying to read Myles Hoenig's inaccurate characterization of the Mass Transit Administration's plan to construct a parking lot at the Cold Spring light rail station as an "assault on the environment" ("Save city's greenery," July 17).
The MTA has worked hard to balance the need for parking along the light rail line with the need to protect the Jones Falls watershed. The design presented to the community accomplishes both goals.
The new lot will mostly occupy the current site of a gigantic, unused natural gas storage tank that has blighted the valley for nearly 70 years. This means that barely 11 percent of the area has trees on it today.
The facility will include innovative bioretention ponds to treat runoff. It will be available for anyone who wants to enjoy walking and biking in the valley along the future Jones Falls Greenway.
The new parking lot will supplement overflowing lots at the Mount Washington and Falls Road stations, and give the option to ride light rail to dozens of additional communities. I am certain that expanding these lots would be far more disruptive to the watershed and surrounding communities.
The MTA has worked with community representatives on this project for over a year, and we welcome any community input on this or any other project.
Henry M. Kay, Baltimore
The writer is director of MTA's Office of Planning and Statewide Transit.
Traitor Pollard mercenary, not foreign secret agent
Jonathan Pollard is a U.S. citizen who betrayed his country by selling extensive and extraordinarily damaging military secrets to a foreign government. He sold them for money.
His treasonous acts put our military personnel, and our nation's interests, in greater peril. Few high crimes are more repugnant. ("Is Jonathan Pollard a Camp David bargaining chip?" July 14)
Jonathan Pollard is not a foreign national or a spy who risked his life in the service of his own country or an ideology.
He isn't eligible to be exchanged or used as a bargaining chip. The CIA, Naval Intelligence and the heads of all defense and intelligence agencies are unanimous on the extent and seriousness of the damage Pollard caused to U.S. security.
There is no basis for ever setting Pollard free and any president who pardons Pollard would face mass resignations, congressional outrage and the severe judgment of history.
Roger C. Kostmayer, Baltimore,
Christian principles made U.S. life better
In contrast to Dan Bridgewater's accolade for the Supreme Court's decision on school prayer (letter, July 15) I regret the court's decision that it is unconstitutional to offer prayer before a football game in the school stadium.
America's foundation was based upon Christian principles. These principles have made life better for non-Christians, agnostics and atheists alike.
I do not believe that it will get to a point of "the government deciding when and where you are to pray," as suggested by Mr. Bridgewater's letter.
However, Mr. Bridgewater's very objection is the type of mentality that denies a person's freedom to pray, thus the probable result is a government doing the very things that Mr. Bridgewater seems to fear.
So, why should Mr. Bridgewater or the Supreme Court fear prayer?
Jo Ellen C. Lofton, Baltimore
Commuter-unfriendly aspects mar city's allure
It should be easy to lure Washingtonians to Baltimore. I moved here a year ago, partly because of the low real estate prices.
Many of my co-workers in Washington tell me they'd love to join me in Baltimore -- what they call "a real city."
For that to happen, however, two problems need to be fixed: the notoriously unreliable service on MARC's Camden line and the fact that it's almost impossible to find parking at the in-town MARC stations.
The Camden Yards lots are not usable by commuters in the summer and the Penn Station lots are not ... well, where are the Penn Station parking lots?
Baltimore's got it all over Washington as a home town. Once we become truly commuter-friendly, the possibilities will be endless.
Mary Macdonald, Baltimore