Assembly finds cure for our energy woes

Kudos to the General Assembly for finally coming to grips with the planned 72 percent Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. rate increase, which the Public Service Commission had approved without any meaningful inquiry ("Rate bill passes," June 15).

Praise is also due to House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who shepherded the legislation through the recent special session.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan has been stalwart and consistent in his demand that the Public Service Commission members either do their jobs or resign.

And, as many members of the legislature acknowledged, it was Mayor Martin O'Malley's and City Solicitor Ralph S. Tyler's brilliant strategy of challenging the PSC's ruling in court that was the impetus for the special session.

But where was the governor?

According to published reports, he spent most of the day that the legislature was meeting visiting with his favorite talk-show hosts and complaining that the new legislation would be damaging to Baltimore Gas and Electric and Constellation Energy Group and claiming that the legislation was "going Constellation's way against consumers."

Is this what the governor calls leadership?

Benjamin Rosenberg


Is this the best deal lawmakers can find?

Given this energy "deal" brokered by our General Assembly, I urge all voters to cut out the list printed June 15 in The Sun of how the legislators voted on this deal and vote against all those who voted for it ("Rate bill passes," June 15).

I am appalled that this is the best our legislators can do for us.

At least the governor tried to solve the problem. All the rest is just politics.

Also, I'd like to thank Mayor Martin O'Malley for letting the voters see just how he can mess up a good deal for the consumer by taking that deal to court.

John L. Grumbach


Democrats betray hypocrisy on hiring

Reading The Sun's coverage of the electric rate bill, it was obvious that state Sens. Brian E. Frosh and Thomas M. Middleton were two of the biggest champions of firing the members of the Public Service Commission ("Rate bill passes," June 15).

These two legislators sat for 20 months on the legislature's "special committee" investigating how the Ehrlich administration supposedly fired state employees for political purposes.

Now, when they have the power to make political firings, Mr. Frosh and Mr. Middleton gleefully cheer the firing of officials and staff appointed by the Ehrlich administration.

I have only one word for Mr. Frosh and Mr. Middleton: hypocrite.

Chris Cavey


The writer is chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Party.

Mandatory fee hurts state's consumers

Let's see if I have this right: I am being forced to pay an extra monthly fee for my electric bill for 10 years, which I equate to an "interest" charge - even though I always pay off my credit card bills monthly to avoid having to pay an interest charge.

I'm wondering if my legislators had my best interest at heart when they concocted this bill?

I don't think so, and I will remember that come November.

I hope all of my fellow citizens will do the same thing.

Ed Whitesell


Democrats don't get basic economics

This whole issue of energy deregulation proves one point beyond a shadow of a doubt: the Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly are ignorant and uninformed when it comes to basic economic principles ("Rate bill passes," June 15).

The citizens of Maryland should be scared to death that this group crafts and passes our laws.

Jim Pelura


Treating addiction just isn't enough

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells us that 7 million to 10 million individuals in the United States have at least one mental disorder as well as an alcohol or drug disorder ("Survey backs drug treatment," June 4).

The U.S. Surgeon General, in a 1999 report on mental health, revealed that 41 percent to 65 percent of individuals with a lifetime substance abuse disorder also have a lifetime history of at least one mental disorder, and that about 51 percent of those who have one or more lifetime mental disorders also have a lifetime history of at least one substance abuse disorder.

So how can we talk about addiction treatment without including treatment for mental health issues, especially in the prison system, where the prevalence of co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems is even higher?

In 2005, out of the 23,320 addicts who received drug treatment in Baltimore, what happened to the 41 percent who had a co-occurring mental disorder?

We need to reconsider the way we use resources and focus on developing dual diagnosis capability, not just addiction treatment.

There are pockets of good treatment, but we need a better system of care.

Patricia Bayly Miedusiewski


The writer is state program administrator for co-occurring disorders for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Photo op won't alter the situation in Iraq

The war in Iraq drones on, the sectarian and ethnic killing continues, with the government in Iraq working out of little more than a well-fortified bunker. And President Bush shows up stealthily in Iraq ("A surprise visit to Iraq," June 14).

The visit is the latest gambit to support the president's "stay the course" policy in Iraq.

According to Anthony H. Cordesman, a national security specialist at the Center of Strategic and International Studies, this surprise visit could be seen as a stunt or "as grandstanding" if conditions do not improve and the insurgency is not contained by the Iraqi government ("Security worries dictated ruse to keep trip secret," June 14).

This president resorts to such measures because he is desperately searching for any means to reverse his slide in the eyes of the American people.

If one is deceived into believing this latest photo op will change the reality of the civil war that rages in Iraq, one must also believe in the "reality" of the reality shows on television these days.

Dave Lefcourt

Ellicott City

Mayor should raze station statue first

So Mayor Martin O'Malley says the Rochambeau apartment building must go ("Rochambeau has to go, mayor says," June 10).

While the mayor is in a tearing-down mood, why doesn't he go a couple miles up Charles Street to Penn Station and tear down that monstrosity, the "Male/Female" sculpture?

R. A. Bacigalupa


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