Time to reclaim river from polluters
Kudos to the O'Malley administration, to Shari T. Wilson of the Maryland Department of the Environment and to state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler for making enforcement of environmental laws a priority in Maryland ("Md. taking on polluters," June 6).
For far too long, Maryland has failed to enforce its existing laws, allowing polluters to dirty our water, air and land with impunity.
Just look what happened last weekend: We got proof positive of the pollution in our own Patapsco River and in the Baltimore harbor when 7,000 fish died overnight ("Harbor water reeks of dead fish and algae," June 6).
We still don't know whether the fish kill was caused by an algae bloom from a flush of lawn fertilizer as a result of last weekend's rain or by something more catastrophic such as a sewage or chemical spill.
What we do know, however, is that the river's pollution level is off the charts.
For years, Maryland has allowed pollution to run into local waterways, making the Patapsco River virtually unusable.
We can't eat from it, we can't swim in it and, apparently, many fish can't live in it, either.
The time is ripe to reclaim our river from the polluters.
We, the people of Maryland, will all benefit from clean and usable rivers and streams.
Eliza Smith Steinmeier
The writer is executive director of Baltimore Harbor Waterkeepers.
Unfair to cancel Kent Island project
We are supposed to be governed by a system of laws, rules and regulations, not by politically motivated edicts put forth by Gov. Martin O'Malley and state Comptroller Peter Franchot.
And indeed, state Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp got it right - as she usually does - when she voted for the Kent Island development project at the recent Board of Public Works meeting ("Kent Island project developers to appeal denial of permit," June 2).
In this situation, we have a major national corporation playing by the rules, investing tens of millions over the past decade in a project and having met every environmental standard while gaining the approval of the state Critical Area Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers - only to be denied a wetlands permit by Mr. O'Malley and Mr. Franchot to appease a group of eco-radicals.
These are the same kinds of radicals who have created our energy dilemma by opposing nuclear power, refinery construction and drilling for oil in the Arctic.
Let's all get back to good old common sense.
This project would be good for senior citizens, it would be good for Kent Islanders because of the huge tax base it would create, and it would have little impact on schools because it would be a retirement community.
And, I might add, it would not have a significant impact on the bay, particularly when its impact is compared with the impacts on which we should focus - wastewater plant and agricultural waste discharges.
Richard E. Hug
The writer was campaign finance director for former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
Convene legislators to re-regulate power
My question is: Why hasn't Gov. Martin O'Malley called for a special legislative session to reinstitute electricity rate caps or re-regulate the market ("Utility help increased," June 7)?
This idea of devoting more funds to help people pay their power bills is only a stopgap measure at best.
I guess Mr. O'Malley has forgotten that he ran for governor on the premise that he would not cave in to special interests such as Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. or Constellation Energy.
Or did he just say this to get elected? It sure looks like that's what he did.
Governor O'Malley doesn't seem to get it, but we need re-regulation, and we need it now.
Put 'murder meter' on the front page
Instead of burying many of the murders of the day deep inside the Maryland section, The Sun should create a "murder meter" that would be prominently displayed on the front page. Perhaps this would help elevate the attention of our city and state officials to our local crisis.
Peace still eludes us, at home and abroad
Senseless deaths, random killings, a weary and bewildered people desperately praying for peace and stability, amid the constant threat of violence.
Such a sentence could describe the situation in Baltimore (with seven separate shootings reported in the Maryland Section's "Crime Watch" on June 6) just as easily as it could describe a scene from war-torn Iraq ("A snapshot of war," June 6).
Ironically, one wonders if Baltimore's service women and men stationed in Iraq desperately comb through the daily online edition of The Sun, worried about the welfare of their loved ones back home, in what could be described as Maryland's own "Triangle of Death."
Alas, the question remains: How can we expect to create peace abroad if we cannot secure it for our own homeland?
It is time to re-evaluate our efforts.
Local teachers boost the county schools
I was very pleased to see The Sun's article regarding the use of college scholarships in exchange for a commitment to teach in the Baltimore County public schools ("'Grow-your-own' teachers," June 3).
This effort by the county schools is an innovative step to deal with our ever-present teacher shortage.
The League of Women Voters of Baltimore County applauds the school system for seeking creative solutions to the problem of finding well-trained teachers who are committed to teaching in the county schools.
And we applaud reporter Gina Davis and The Sun for focusing on this very positive action by our school system.
The writer is president of the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County.
Lending laws' gaps harm a homeowner
Thank you for the article on the gaps in our foreclosure laws that allowed a totally blameless person to lose his home because of the mistakes of corporations ("Out of townhouse, but not by choice," June 7). This is a case in which the power of a corporation to dissolve itself means that some people (those who own the title company involved) are treated better than others (the homeowner).
I hope our General Assembly will remedy the problems with notice and burden of proof that this article has exposed.
It is the job of our representative to control the power of corporations - entities whose owners are often exempt from personal liability for debts or wrongful actions of the corporation.
I also hope that The Sun will establish a fund to help the family of Kwaku Atta Poku.
I'm sure many Marylanders would want to help restore the life of this family.