Liquor licenses could be boost Towson needs
On behalf of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce and its many members, I am writing to support state Sen. James Brochin and Sen. Paula C. Hollinger's bill to authorize the Baltimore County Board of License Commissioners to issue six alcoholic beverage licenses for restaurants in the Towson revitalization district ("Liquor licenses focus of lobbying," Feb. 11).
Passage of this long overdue bill would serve as a catalyst for economic development in the revitalization district. By allowing for the transfer of alcoholic beverage licenses from other districts where they are overabundant, to Towson, the bill would create a strong incentive for premium restaurants to locate in Towson.
The licenses would be available only to restaurants with sit-down table service, which ensures that only restaurants of high quality, which could make a valuable contribution to the appeal and vitality of the revitalization district, could obtain the licenses.
The existing alcoholic beverage licensing system is a major impediment to revitalization efforts. The Prohibition-era system has led to a glut of licenses in some county districts and no licenses available for new restaurants in others.
If the system is not updated and revised, the new commercial revitalization districts will never have a chance to develop to their full potential.
Terry Slade Young
The writer is president of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.
Adding restaurants won't revive Towson
State Sen. James Brochin's attempt to fill vacant buildings in Towson with restaurants sounds good, but won't work in real life ("Liquor licenses focus of lobbying," Feb. 11).
Mr. Brochin wants to allow the transfer of liquor licenses only to sit-down restaurants. But too many businesses of the same type compete for the same dollars, and after a valiant try, some will usually go out of business.
What Towson needs to attract people is a good mix of restaurants, specialty shops and decent parking facilities.
J. Michael Collins
After reading the article about state Sen. James Brochin's proposal to move new liquor licenses into Towson to revitalize the sagging business district ("Liquor licenses focus of lobbying," Feb. 11) and Michael Olesker's insightful column "Towson merchants struggle as 'unthinkable' woes unfold" (Feb. 13), I am amazed that the real cause of Towson's economic blight is clearly missed - parking.
New restaurants and cosmetic refurbishing of existing businesses are absolutely not the answer.
Until adequate parking and a better means of circulation for people and traffic can be provided, the demise of Towson will continue.
Joseph L. Larson
Towson must offer more to visitors
As someone who works and lives in Towson, I can tell you firsthand that the shuttered buildings, closed gas stations, fleeing restaurants and bars, and lack of attractions lead to one conclusion - Towson is on life support ("Towson merchants struggle as 'unthinkable' woes unfold," Feb. 13).
Parking is not the problem, because we have that everywhere and it's more affordable here than in Canton, Fells Point or Federal Hill. It's about what isn't in Towson. We have no Avenue, no Antique Row, only a meager few bars and restaurants and a second-rate movie theater.
What is needed is a major commitment to turn around the decline.
When will Jim Smith provide an agenda?
Kudos to Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. In only a little more than three months since the election, he has almost completely assembled his Glendening-Ruppersberger administration ("Debate over nominee baffles veteran officials," Feb. 6).
Perhaps in another three months or so he will finish his campaign-mode listening tour of the county. Maybe then he will have some ideas and an agenda on which he and his administration can finally get to work.
Troubled by Oken's stay of execution
It is quite disgusting to know that a person can brutally murder three people and not be executed by the state ("Md. court delays execution of Oken," Feb. 12). And we, the taxpayers, have to pay for his free room and board.
I, too, had a family member murdered and know the pain felt by the victims' families. I hope the people who decided Steven H. Oken should live never know such pain.
Better to save a child than arrive on time
I was heartened to see the Amber Alert while on the roads on Feb. 11 ("Missing child prompts first Amber Alert," Feb. 12). I was aware of what it was and am glad it was implemented on such a broad scale so citizens could be on the lookout and give immediate assistance in the possible abduction of a child.
Time is of the essence when a child is missing. The more we know and the sooner we know it, the better all of us can help. And the potential benefit of saving a life far outweighs the mere inconvenience of some traffic delays.
I'd rather help save a child than get somewhere on time.
Rename Amber Alert to lessen confusion
Given the confusion that arose from the Amber Alert, I would like to offer a suggestion ("Missing child prompts first Amber Alert," Feb. 12).
Many people did not know that Amber was a missing child, and even fewer know that her name was turned into an acronym for America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response. In addition, the color amber was confused with the orange alert highly publicized earlier that week.
Therefore, I submit an acronym that every driver should understand even if he or she never reads the news. CHILD Alert could stand for Cooperative Help In Locating Darlings. And I think the word or acronym CHILD would serve to alert everyone without any question or confusion.
Gambling is no way to cure fiscal woes
One only has to walk a block or so from the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., to see what gambling has done for the citizens there - very little.
Gambling enriches the casino owners as it destroys the little guys - small merchants and the families of slots players. The revenue it generates is offset by the social cost of family crisis, immorality and bankruptcy.
As responsible citizens we must step up to the plate and give our new governor and our comptroller the proper tools to defeat the deficit the right way - by equitably raising taxes and lowering expenses.
Putting more money on the roll of the dice is not the answer. Better fiscal management is.