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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Baltimore Sun

Right to reject wind power plan

While it was a tough call, I believe Gov. Martin O'Malley made the right decision to not allow wind generation in state forests ("Wind farms to be barred," April 12).

We do have an obligation to future generations to protect open space first. Once it's gone, we cannot make any more. But there are other options for renewable power.

Perhaps a better solution to the problem of providing renewable power would lie in a more grassroots approach.

There are already many cell phone towers around the state. So why not provide incentives for their owners to place smaller, less-obtrusive wind generators (like the ones used for private residences or boats) or solar panels on those towers?

If these power generators can at least power the towers themselves, that would reduce demand on the power grid; at best, if they could feed excess power back into the grid, that would provide a net energy benefit.

You can't swallow an elephant in one bite.

A more rational plan would be to build renewable power capacity slowly, and couple that progress with sensible conservation measures.

Craig Herud, AberdeenAny self-styled environmentalist who thinks that destroying trees is a good way to fight global warming has rocks in his or her head.

We should be adding more trees, not clear-cutting the ones we have.

The place for wind farms is in open areas, not in the middle of forests.

Thank goodness the governor had sense enough to reject this foolish proposal.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam, Baltimore

Enforce standards so kids can learn

After reading The Sun's "Attack highlights 'chronic problem'" (April 13), I'm puzzled by the shock and surprise being expressed over recent instances of school violence.

How can we be surprised that students physically attack teachers when there often is no real penalty for such acts?

And if school administrators don't back teachers in attempting to run an orderly classroom, what message does this send to the students and their families?

Without standards, chaos is the only logical outcome.

Let's reinstall some basic standards for behavior, rigorously enforce them, and then see if the situation gets better.

David Buttner, Baltimore

Blaming victims of school violence

Many of the articles that appeared in The Sun in the aftermath of the beating of city teacher Jolita Berry echo a theme that is all too familiar: that teachers need more training to deal more effectively with the students ("Attack on city teacher highlights training gaps," April 11).

At the same time, the concept of student and parental responsibility is barely mentioned.

The hardworking, dedicated, bright men and women who step into city classrooms every day are doing a job no one else wants, and certainly are not there for the money.

Then, when a deplorable episode of violence against a teacher erupts, the teacher is told by the principal that she used a "trigger" word, suggesting the incident was her fault.

That is just blaming the victim.

And what message does that send to the students in city schools who truly are there to learn and to their parents who want a safe environment for their children?

Shame on the leaders of Baltimore's public schools.

Anne Groth, Perry Hall

The writer is a librarian for the Baltimore County public schools.

Why hasn't student been arrested?

What I am not reading about the recent attack on a teacher in Baltimore is that the girl who beat the teacher on the video was arrested and charged with assault ("Attack highlights 'chronic problem,'" April 13).

I am so tired of hearing that such children need help, understanding, etc.

The schoolchildren in this case made a video of this violent assault and found it entertaining.

Until we start charging these children with crimes, they will continue to act violently and, I would imagine, the situation will only get worse.

Kathy Riley, Baltimore

Looks like Cheney is the real 'decider'

So, Vice President Dick Cheney and other "top officials" signed off on using harsh interrogation tactics against terrorism suspects, while shielding President Bush from the discussions ("Top officials approved interrogation tactics," April 11).

This, it seems to me, illustrates all too well that Mr. Cheney is our real commander in chief and, in fact, "the Decider."

So instead of his self-designated title of "the Decider," perhaps we can call Mr. Bush "the Responder."

Mark Silbergeld, Baltimore

Polls do matter to war's backers

While Richard E. Vatz is correct that we do not have a system based on plebiscite ("Why Cheney was right: Polls shouldn't make policy," Commentary, April 14), it is interesting to note two contradictory impulses evident in the Bush administration.

On one hand, as was evident in Vice President Dick Cheney's arrogant response of "So?" when he was asked about public opposition to the war in Iraq, we have a presidency that feels itself above the law, and certainly above public opinion.

On the other, if Mr. Vatz is correct that public opinion polls should not be the barometer of presidential policy, why did the administration go to such extraordinary lengths to present a bogus and now totally discredited case for war?

The repeated lies it made, and continues to make, regarding Iraq were and are most certainly designed to influence public opinion. And when the president and his surrogates seek to influence public opinion, they cannot make the argument that public opinion does not matter.

Tim Eastman, Baltimore

Act to redress school crowding

Towson-area elementary schools are overcrowded by 451 students, enough students to fill a new school - and this situation is projected to worsen in the next 10 years ("Parents protest school growth," April 10).

The county Board of Education has already recommended that a new elementary school be built in the Towson area.

The Sun has explained in an editorial that the idea of expanding the Ridge Ruxton School would not solve the problem of Towson's school overcrowding ("Wrong fix for school crowding in Towson," March 12).

What we need in Towson is for County Executive James T. Smith Jr. to support a new school in Towson.

The county executive, the Board of Education and the County Council need to work together to find a solution to the overcrowding problem, and they need to do it now.

Yara Cheikh, Towson

The writer is the mother of several children who now attend or will attend Hampton Elementary School in Towson.

Tax hikes help pay for services

The Sun has received letters complaining about recent state tax increases and advocating deeper cuts in state programs (e.g., "Turn big taxers right out of office," April 11).

These readers should be praising Gov. Martin O'Malley and members of the General Assembly for finally eliminating the chronic and long-festering structural budget deficit this governor inherited from prior administrations.

This was achieved through a reasonable combination of tax increases and further reductions in public expenditures.

Recently enacted tax increases will increase revenues for state and local programs essential to the well-being of Maryland citizens in areas such as education, health care, the environment and infrastructure - areas that have long been starved for resources and that remain underfunded.

Complainers should understand that a functioning democracy requires responsible behavior, including support of reasonable taxes.

Jack Kinstlinger, Baltimore

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