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The Baltimore Sun

Energy deal does little for consumers

Shame on the O'Malley administration for agreeing to a settlement with Constellation Energy Group that leaves little room for re-regulating utilities ("BGE's customers to get $170 rebate," April 8).

It seems that Gov. Martin O'Malley is more concerned about getting a political bump from taking credit for cash rebates to residential ratepayers than about addressing the root cause of this problem - the deregulation of utilities.

Maryland's Public Service Commission issued a report in January that concluded the 1999 deregulation deal was bad for consumers ("Electricity deal costs consumers, report says," Jan. 18).

The agreement with Constellation Energy will give residential ratepayers a one-time rebate of $170, which is small change for many families experiencing increases of up to $700 a year in utility bills, according to the watchdog group Common Cause Maryland.

The utility industry has too much power and influence in our political system.

It is time for our elected officials to stand up to special interests and legislate for the benefit of working families instead of for Constellation Energy.

Sarah Osmer DiMattina


How can fan of bay fight regulations?

I think the comments made by state Sen. Richard F. Colburn in Saturday's article "Senate passes bay bill" (April 5) pretty much sum up the reason for the lack progress in restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

"I am going to pour my heart out today," he said as he urged his colleagues not to further limit landowners' ability to build on shorefront property.

He spoke of the pleasure of watching bald eagles fly close to his waterfront home. "I didn't get much sleep last night thinking about this," he said.

Well, Mr. Colburn, I don't get much sleep thinking about senators who fight bills such as the Critical Area legislation that seek to control the sprawl that degrades the water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

How can someone who loves to watch eagles work against laws that would protect them and help them survive?

No wonder the bay is a mess.

George Osing

Ellicott City

Railroad abutments part of our history

In 2006, Historic Towson won landmark status for the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad abutments on the 300 block of York Road. But the purchase of the green space along Towsontown Boulevard and York Road for $1.9 million by Longwood Development LLC was surprising news ("Towson tract auctioned for $1.9 million," April 5).

We will watch closely to see that the historic abutment on that property will remain on the county landmark list and that this important remnant of Towson's history will continue to be a reminder of our past.

Carol Allen


The writer is president of Historic Towson Inc.

Don't blame system for teens' troubles

After reading a quote from an aunt of Sterling and Stephon Blackwell, who said, "My nephews, they might have done some things wrong, but that's what teenagers do," ("Missing teens search goes on," April 4), I wonder what world she lives in.

The teenagers I am familiar with do not rob, steal and spend time in the juvenile justice system.

The unfortunate thing in this situation is that the boys' parents did not provide them with proper role models.

Let's place the blame for their troubles where it belongs - on their lack of a proper upbringing, not on the system.

Michael Silver


Steiner's successor doesn't measure up

Marc Steiner gets a Peabody Award, a prestigious honor for excellence for "Just Words," a 55-part series that allowed addicts, ex-felons and homeless people to have their voices heard ("Steiner honored for series, 'Words,'" April 3).

Meanwhile, Dan Rodricks' program gets a B for "boring." It is a snooze.

Mr. Steiner consistently presented shows that made listeners think, evaluate and perhaps change their minds on every conceivable important subject, from war to poverty to global warming.

WYPR dumped the public when it dumped Mr. Steiner.

Now it's time to bring Mr. Steiner back, as WYPR's Community Advisory Board, which represents the public, has recommended.

Kay Dellinger


Army draws soldiers from the elites, too

In his column "Spring break or bleak spring?" (March 20), Dan Rodricks implies that military recruiters target only lower-class segments of the population.

This is untrue.

The Army targets its recruiting efforts at all Americans ages 17 to 24, regardless of income level or background.

Mr. Rodricks also implies that college students are uninvolved and unaffected by the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and talks about a young officer from West Point.

But while West Point produces many fine young officers, the 1,000 or so lieutenants who graduate every year are less than 25 percent of the total lieutenants who join the Army.

The majority of officers, almost 4,000 every year, are graduates of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). They are drawn from 273 colleges and universities across America, including Yale University, Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Our Army reflects our society, just as it has for more than 220 years; it is made up of people of all ethnicities, incomes and socioeconomic levels.

To imply that the brave young men and women fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan are less than the elite of our country is wrong; they are, in fact, the best of our society.

Indeed, of the 30 million Americans between 17 and 24 years old, fewer than one-third would even qualify to put on a uniform.

William Farthing


The writer is a colonel in the U.S. Army.

Debate exit strategy, not need for draft

After I read the letter "Who has the courage to call for a draft?" (April 6), my question is: Why is there such a need for a draft in the first place?

We know that the Bush administration misled our citizenry about the justifications for invading Iraq.

What we should be discussing is how we can get out of Iraq, without any more U.S. soldiers being killed, maimed or injured or any more innocent Iraqis getting killed.

Finally, we should be discussing whether our government should be in the business of imposing our political views upon another sovereign nation.

Olatunji Mwamba


'Hush-hush' sales keep outsiders out

Andrea F. Siegel's article "The Hush-Hush House" (April 6) fails to mention the true, underlying purpose of the practice of real estate agents selling homes in exclusive neighborhoods such as Ruxton off the market: keeping out so-called undesirables.

By not listing the property on the regional Multiple Listing Service, the sellers (and their agents) can control who gets access to the property.

D. R. Longway


Pick the candidates in one big primary

The current election season shows the reasons that our presidential nomination system is flawed and must be scrapped.

Some states have primary elections, some have caucuses and some have both.

Some states apportion delegates according to the vote count and some are "winner-take-all."

Some states allow crossover voting and some have one-party elections.

Let's have a uniform voting system for all states.

Let's do it with a one-day national primary and eliminate all the caucuses and the superdelegates.

That's the only way to go.

Sam Jacobson


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