LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Smart Growth is good sense in tough times

It is with increasing dismay that I have read recent headlines about Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s efforts to dismantle our state's Smart Growth office ("Smart Growth may be in peril," June 23).

Granted, the majority of Marylanders elected Mr. Ehrlich on a platform of change and an end to the heavy-handed regulatory approaches of the Glendening-Townsend administration. However, Smart Growth is one legacy of that administration that should be strengthened.

Our state is at a precarious crossroads. Do we want to preserve our remaining family farms, forests and open space, or promote continued, unsustainable growth that will result in sprawling subdivisions, congested roadways and overcrowded suburban schools?

This unchecked sprawl stands in contrast to the plight of many older, inside-the-Beltway communities that are characterized by declining and abandoned housing stocks and infrastructure.

Smart Growth makes economic and environmental sense. In these dire economic times, we have better uses for our state's limited funds than subsidizing the new schools, sewer and water infrastructure and roads required by the sprawling subdivisions popping up in cornfields from Finksburg to Bel Air.

Instead, let us work to enhance our established communities and protect our diminishing natural heritage.

Jon E. Kallen

Butler

City schools need the mayor's help

The article about Mayor Martin O'Malley venturing to the state school board and offering to be of "tremendous help" to our city schools reads like a dream waiting to come true ("O'Malley seizes an opportunity," June 29).

The elitist Bush administration's Republican tax-slashing policies seem to be having an effect on our state now, as our governor refuses to generate added income from taxes, and the threat to funding the Thornton bill continues.

The lack of federal and state funding for our schools will burden an already broken city public school system.

It will take the leadership of our mayor and the support he can muster from political and business leaders, community activists and regular folks in this city to forge the partnerships necessary to make our city schools work.

Michelle Hart

Baltimore

Decline of Poly mirrors the nation's

I have been following the articles about Ian Cohen's leaving as principal of Baltimore's Polytechnic Institute ("Retiring is right equation," June 30). And it is a sad indictment of our society that it allows a bloated, self-serving bureaucracy to fester and foster the destruction of what was once the premier technical high school in America.

The dumbing down of American youth by the equalizers and the removal of God from our culture by the existentialists continues to ensure our decline as a nation.

Gary Gamber

New Windsor

Assuming ethnicity of applicants is racist

I'm astonished to read that college admission officials "make educated guesses on students' race judging from what high school they attended, or from their name or the subject of their application essay" ("A question of acceptance," June 29).

Are we to believe, as this would seem to imply, that all black students attend the same type of high school, have similar names and write about identical subjects?

I would not call this making "educated guesses." I would call it racism - and it is wrong.

John Tully

Glen Burnie

Check the box marked 'human'

I noted with interest the "ethnic information" check-off form above "A Question of Acceptance" (June 29).

When I was employed at the University of Maryland, I would have to complete such a questionnaire annually. Under "ethnic information" I would skip past "Asian or Pacific Islander," "African-American," "Hispanic," "American Indian or Alaskan Native" and "White" and, following the "Other" category, I would write in the word "Human."

Leon Reinstein

Baltimore

Philippine people ousted Marcos

No one can deny that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz played a role in the ouster of Saddam Hussein ("Regime change revisited," Opinion Commentary, June 25).

However, it would be utterly untenable to credit him for the regime change in the Philippines in 1986 and claim that "the point man who engineered the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos was Mr. Wolfowitz, then an assistant secretary of state."

The credit for the dishonest dictator's downfall belongs to the millions who participated in the persistent but peaceful rallies during the "people power" revolution. President Marcos actually banked on the support of the Reagan administration until the last moment. And he and his cronies were eventually evacuated by U.S. helicopters from the palace in Manila to Clark Air Base, and then flown to Hawaii, where Mr. Marcos remained in exile until his demise in 1989.

This piece of history is a reminder that regime change can actually be achieved by the local populace through a peaceful process, without so much death and destruction.

Alvin Sanico

Baltimore

Change regime here at home

The Sun's glaring headline "Bush wants new regimes in Africa" (June 27) implies that he believes that his regime rules the universe.

However, more than a few of us want a regime change in Washington.

Robert L. Reynolds

Bel Air

Christians love all their neighbors

Thank you for The Sun's effort to write a pleasant piece about Amish families moving to Cecil County and for the wonderful photo accompanying the article ("Match made in Cecil County," June 27).

Unfortunately, the effect was spoiled by the writer's use of the word "despite," as in "Despite their strict religious code of dress and conduct that deliberately sets them apart ... the Amish have charmed their neighbors."

While the writer was trying very hard to favorably portray the Amish, his use of "despite" betrays his own unfamiliarity with "conservative" religious beliefs in any form, including the strongly held Christian belief among "conservatives" that we are literally commanded to love our neighbors (and enemies), even if they don't love us.

Patricia Shirley

Timonium

Stop winking at settlements

G. Jefferson Price III hit the target with his article "Stop winks, nods on settlements" (June 29).

The beauty of this article is its pertinence, simplicity and courage. And I totally agree that "a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is of critical importance to Americans."

Frank Smor

Baltimore

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