Enforce the rules to secure light rail
My heart goes out to the family of the young woman killed leaving the light rail system ("8th grader charged in girl's killing," Nov. 18). And as a daily user of the system, I hate to say it, but I think that something horrible like this incident was bound to happen.
Ask anyone who rides the light rail after dark home from work or school and he or she will tell you it can be an uncomfortable ride.
There is an easy way to avoid potentially dangerous situations: The Maryland Transit Administration needs to see that all riders are checked for tickets, something it currently fails to do. In the last month I have only had my ticket checked three or four times.
When New York City and Boston cracked down on turnstile jumpers in their transit systems, they found that some of those arrested for failing to buy tickets had outstanding arrest warrants or were carrying concealed weapons.
The presence of police officers and a policy of aggressively fining those without a ticket should keep the system safer for those of us who have a legitimate reason to ride the light rail and especially for those like Nicole Edmonds and her brother - who ride the system out of necessity and in the hope of bettering their lives.
Bus depot would add to county congestion
Rumors about the proposed school bus depot in the Jacksonville area began to surface much earlier than The Sun's article "Bus depot plan slipped through, auditor says" (Nov. 17) reported.
I personally asked Councilman T. Bryan McIntire about it after a Greater Jacksonville Association meeting in June. At that time, I expressed my opposition to the plan.
Aside from fuel storage issues, the depot poses a threat of possible groundwater contamination as a result of such bus maintenance operations as oil changes, not to mention leaks of oil and antifreeze.
The safety and traffic issues are also of great concern.
Elected officials seriously misjudged the state of mind of area residents when they developed this scheme.
They need to reconsider.
And I suggest County Executive James T. Smith get behind the wheel and drive to Jacksonville at 4 p.m. rush hour soon on some weekday.
Elizabeth H. Lehmann
The writer is an officer of the Greater Jacksonville Association.
Reducing run-off can save the bay
In a Nov. 14 article, Rona Kobell reported on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's recently released State of the Bay Report, in which we scored the health of the bay at 29 out of 100 ("Chesapeake Bay health rated slightly better," Nov. 14).
While Ms. Kobell's article was thorough and presented accurately the current plight facing this national treasure, she mistakenly reported that Pennsylvania had adopted a transferable tax-credit program for on-the-ground pollution reduction practices for farmers.
Despite broad bipartisan support for this pro-farmer, pro-bay initiative, Pennsylvania has yet to adopt it.
Maryland needs to consider similar legislation.
Ways of helping farmers reduce run-off which use business incentives and embrace changes in tax programs can help implement cost-effective practices that reduce nitrogen pollution.
And we must continue to look for new ways to save the bay and save our farms.
The writer is Maryland executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Bellicose rhetoric undermines security
With Iraq steadily descending further into chaos, President Bush is continuing to spread global insecurity with his bellicose rhetoric about North Korea and Iran ("Bush ends Korea trip," Nov. 20).
The United States does not have the men, materiel, money or the will to support Mr. Bush's agenda of global conflict and domination.
Michael J. Marsalek
Who will keep us safe here at home?
We have the Department of Homeland Security to protect us from terrorists from abroad. How about protection from the terrorists within?
Terrorism exists on the state and local level too, and seems to be getting worse.
In Baltimore so far this year, we have seen more than 240 homicides and the number is still rising.
And it seems hardly a day passes without news on television, and in the papers about shootings and deaths, not only in Baltimore but in the rural counties as well.
We see on TV scenes from Baghdad, with civilians walking the streets with guns of all shapes and sizes and using them. Are we soon to become another Baghdad?
Our incoming legislators must make it a priority to come up with solutions to the violence. Otherwise, there may be few constituents alive to cast votes for them.
Richard L. Lelonek
Transition team primarily partisan
What's wrong with this picture?
Governor-elect Martin O'Malley introduces his 42-member transition team - and they're almost all Democrats ("O'Malley introduces his transition team," Nov. 17).
Lt. Gov.-elect Anthony Brown promises to make the transition about performance, not politics and pledges to make a bipartisan effort in shaping the new administration. Then Mr. Brown has the audacity to joke about leaving it to reporters to find the Republicans in the transition group.
Yet The Sun treated these proclamations as business as usual and noted nothing untoward about the blatant partisanship of the O'Malley-elect administration.
Golda Meir also a female pioneer
Sunday's feature on women who have become president or prime minister, thus breaking the political glass ceiling, strangely overlooked Israel's first woman prime minister, Golda Meir ("Women in politics," Nov. 19).
Ms. Meir was prime minister from 1969 to 1974, and passed away in 1978.
She is one for the ages.
Internet follows television's lead
On May 9, 1961, former Federal Communications Commission member Newton N. Minow proclaimed commercial television a "vast wasteland."
The same description fits today's Internet. My computers at both home and work are constantly being choked with worthless junk mail.
In fact, the junk mail I receive far exceeds the relevant, important communications that I rely on by at least five to one.
What a waste of such a valuable tool.
A letter to the editor ("Light Rail murder not mayor's fault" ) published yesterday cited the wrong agency that polices subway and light rail stations. The Maryland Transit Administration police have that responsibility. The Sun regrets the error.