In the recent election, the environment was strongly on the minds of Maryland voters. I was surprised at how often people brought up environmental issues at public forums.
As we begin the new legislative session, successful candidates seem to have heard the message. And one proposal many elected officials have been championing is the Clean Cars Act, which would raise emission standards for new cars and trucks in Maryland.
State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller pledged his support last week ("'Clean car' idea gains momentum," Jan. 6).
The chairwoman of the environmental committee in the House, Baltimore's Del. Maggie L. McIntosh, has been promoting the legislation.
And preliminary indications from incoming Gov. Martin O'Malley have also been supportive.
These stands show real leadership. The auto industry lobby hates being told what to do and will strongly oppose this bill.
The industry is well-connected politically. It's great to see so many elected officials make it known that they will stand up for the environment and our health despite industry opposition.
The writer is state director for Environment Maryland.
Let's make an effort to protect the Earth
Unfortunately, editorialist Will Englund offers a false choice by limiting his options for disposing of his banana peel to putting it in the garbage disposal or putting it in the trash ("Down, or out?" Jan. 6).
By giving composting only the barest passing mention, Mr. Englund dismisses one of the most environmentally responsible choices he has.
One of the reasons he cites for not composting - lack of space - is not valid for the majority of us. Managed properly, the average household can maintain a compost pile in just a small fraction of the space it uses for parking.
The other reason - lack of will - is closer to the real reason so few people use composting. But it could be better expressed as "unwillingness to be inconvenienced."
God forbid Americans should inconvenience themselves, exert themselves or sacrifice their most trivial of creature comforts to preserve the environment and the Earth's resources for future generations.
But as long as we are squandering a disproportionate share of the Earth's resources and energy and generating a disproportionate share of its pollution and waste, the only moral choice for Mr. Englund's banana peel is the compost pile.
Time to add troops is long past in Iraq
The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq was at the very beginning of President Bush's unfortunate, unnecessary war, as candid members of his military advised, but not now ("Battle lines drawn over Iraq policy," Jan. 9).
Mr. Bush's botched occupation and misguided initiatives to restore the infrastructure and the civil society whose destruction he caused have led to civil and guerrilla war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites that additional troops cannot remedy.
Sending in more troops would only be putting still more Americans in harm's way without a plausible strategy to win the violent multifaceted confrontation Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and their neoconservative colleagues have created.
Supporters of war can send their own
To all those who support or endorse this war, I say: If you really believe in the war, you should enlist or send your own loved ones there instead of using other people's loved ones to do your dirty work ("Battle lines drawn over Iraq policy," Jan. 9).
Take a harder line to stop the killing
It was distressing to read in Monday's Sun that four homicides occurred in Baltimore last weekend ("Deadly weekend in city brings four homicides," Jan. 8).
The story states that the pace of Baltimore's homicides has increased to nearly one slaying a day in the new year.
Mayor Martin O'Malley's strategy of staying the course in Baltimore obviously has not worked.
Yet I don't hear the local press calling for a surge in law enforcement officers to combat the out-of-control homicide rate or hear any suggestions that law enforcement withdraw from the streets of Baltimore as a means of lowering the violence in the city.
It is curious how the killing of nearly one Baltimore resident a day goes almost unnoticed, while a similar death toll among our troops in Iraq evokes outrage by the media and the left wing in Congress.
I believe a new hard-line approach is called for in both Baltimore and in Baghdad to lower the violence.
Enlist the churches to stop the shooters
The recent letter to the editor that discussed the city's homicide rate and the fact that we need to reach the shooters was right on the mark ("City's murder rate is still out of control," letters, Dec. 30).
Various agencies play a role after the crime is committed, but the only authority that can truly stop potential criminals before they kill and maim is our Creator.
Is it any surprise that we're in this mess?
We have pushed God so far out of our lives that we have a generation of people who don't know the difference between right and wrong and are clueless about the serious consequences of murder.
Any real solution to the homicide problem will not involve city government agencies.
We must look instead to the city's places of worship and faith-based nonprofits.
Only there can potential criminals truly change.
Applaud expansion of downtown anchor
Can't we focus on essentials and not on fa?ades ("Hospital might spare one house," Jan. 5)?
Mercy Medical Center saves lives and provides essential medical services. It is an anchor for downtown and for the city.
Let's applaud its expansion, and recognize that fa?ades are simply that - fa?ades.
Maggi G. Gaines
A happy ending to sad Colts saga
Dan Rodricks' front-page column on the Colts was dead-on ("Ravens, win this one for Unitas," Jan. 7).
I am a member of the generation that bled blue and white, and I was stunned and hurt by the team's departure.
We should face facts, however. Memorial Stadium was an outmoded dump. With exploding player salaries, no owner could have hoped to be successful in that facility.
And the Colts in their last years were dreary. Had they remained in Baltimore with the same ownership, they would have become the Arizona Cardinals of the East. Who would be pleased with that?
I cherish my memories of the old Colts. But it is time to put our grudge to bed.
And this story has a happy ending: "Go Ravens."