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The Baltimore Sun

Council endorsed development bill

In his article regarding Albert Lord's Nov. 29 fundraiser, reporter Phillip McGowan wrote of "a county bill that granted [Mr. Lord] a break" on his proposed golf course in Harwood ("Leopold is subject of ethics questions," Dec. 11). But the term "county bill" is misleading given that no administration bill was introduced.

The legislation in question was introduced by Councilman Edward R. Reilly, who began work on his bill long before Mr. Lord's fundraiser.

As the article itself noted, Mr. Reilly's bill was supported unanimously by the County Council and strongly supported by "the community organization representing Harwood."

Mr. McGowan also wrote that "the weight of the county executive is often critical in determining a bill's fate."

But Mr. McGowan knows full well that the council is an independent body, and does not always concur with my judgment on legislative initiatives.

Stormwater management and noise control legislation offer two pertinent examples.

John R. Leopold


The writer is the county executive of Anne Arundel County.

Grasmick's exit can stop this spat

State schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick should resign ("Despite critics, new deal for Grasmick," Dec. 12).

Why would a 68-year-old woman who has served as superintendent for 16 years, and is not wanted in the post by Gov. Martin O'Malley, wish to remain in office?

This surely isn't in the best interests of the children of Maryland.

This issue is another partisan political battle, typical of the kind that is constantly going on in Maryland, and I'm fed up with all this.

This whole controversy could end if Ms. Grasmick would simply resign.

David Boyd

White Hall

Do Democrats now back partisan firing?

I read with interest the front-page articles in Wednesday's paper about state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick ("Battle for Md.'s schools," Dec. 12). And I see that many of our lawmakers in Annapolis are threatening to either legislate or litigate the superintendent out of her job.

Are these the same legislators who were so strongly opposed to removing state employees for political reasons during the Ehrlich administration that they spent thousands of dollars of our money on state committees and panels to investigate such firings?

The funny thing is that there was not one mention of this irony in any of The Sun's articles on the issue.

George Hensler


Real question is why cruel kids abound

In The Sun's article "Interviews raise questions about race's role in bus attack" (Dec. 8), Rep. Elijah E. Cummings called for an investigation of the safety of the public transportation system.

I am amazed that none of the governing officials in this city, many of whom are mothers, is crying out for an investigation of why this city has so many young people capable of viciously stomping on a woman's face in the middle of the afternoon in a public space.

Mary Skeen


Forests already used for private profits

Thank you for the coverage of proposed wind farms in Western Maryland. However, I was surprised to see the article "State forests sought for wind farms" (Dec. 6) cite the objection that state forests should not be used "for the profit of private business."

Citizens may be confused about what protections are offered to state forests, but private businesses already use our state forests for logging.

By leasing land for wind power generation, Maryland would be providing a service to its people and promoting a cleaner future.

What is more harmful to the environment - building a wind turbine on a hilltop or removing mountain tops to mine climate-polluting coal?

Rebecca Schaaf


Wind helps propel clean energy future

I was very disappointed to read The Sun's editorial condemning the limited use of state land in Maryland for environmentally friendly windmills ("Gone with the wind," Dec. 7).

Wind power is clean, fights global warming and helps keep Maryland's tax dollars in the state instead of shipping them to West Virginia for energy generated in part by devastating "mountain-top removal" coal mining.

The editorial wrongly stated that the proposed wind farms would result in clear-cutting 400 acres of trees in state forests in Western Maryland. According to U.S. Wind Force, the actual area cut would be about half that amount - in state forests that already make tens of thousand of acres available to logging.

We're not talking about pristine wilderness here. We're talking about state land that already is regularly logged and with trees already stunted by acid rain from coal-fired electricity use.

The governor should ignore The Sun's advice and approve the limited use of windmills in Savage River State Forest - especially after the Maryland Climate Change Commission courageously called, just last week, for the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 90 percent by 2050 ("Drastic action on warming," Dec. 5).

To reach these ambitious targets, we'll need all the safe, renewable energy we can generate, and then some.

Alan Cohen


The writer is a volunteer for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Let state forests rest and recover

We should not be turning over state forests to private enterprise for any purpose, even one as "green" as wind turbines ("State forests sought for wind farms," Dec. 6).

We need the forests to protect the bay and the rest of the ecosystem.

Wind farms are one thing on, say, a farm in Wyoming that already has roads and has been disturbed by farming. They're quite another in a state forest with multiple levels of growth and complex ecosystems - even if logging and other abuse have already hurt these forests.

We need to help the forests recover, not hit them while they're down.

Sarah Lesher

Silver Spring

Noose was planted, but racism still real

Despite Donald Maynard's foolhardy, ill-advised actions, we must not ignore the fact that institutional, systemic racism still very much exists in all major institutions of this nation ("Righteous inherit a dearth of truth," Dec. 8).

We need only examine it in banking, insurance, education, health care and the criminal justice system and in the ways the media negatively portray African-Americans in news, movies, television, music videos, commercials, etc.

So, let's not try to ignore what is right in front of our faces.

The terrorism that African-Americans have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of bigots and the racist system that supports them is very real.

Olatunji Mwamba


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