Plans for Rosewood imperil open space

The Baltimore Sun

Although this fact may not have been apparent to readers of The Sun's recent article on the future of the Rosewood Center site ("Hospitals' acreage is lure for developers," June 15), this land is situated directly across the road from the Caves Valley conservation area.

The Maryland Environmental Trust and the Caves Valley Land Trust jointly hold conservation easements that cover nearly 1,500 acres in the area, including a 116-acre parcel of surplus Rosewood Center property that the state donated to the Irvine Nature Center eight years ago in response to a conservation proposal from the land trust.

In making our case to the Glendening administration for this donation, we articulated a clear and compelling vision for preserving the Caves Valley.

As we explained to then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening at the time, the surplus Rosewood parcel was literally the last piece of the puzzle we needed to assemble the large, undeveloped tracts on the valley floor into a contiguous expanse of open space.

The state's gift to the Irvine Nature Center enabled the land trust to establish Garrison Forest Road as a bulwark against development as the road now defines the western boundary of a Priority Agricultural Preservation Area, the Caves Valley National Historic District and Baltimore County's Urban-Rural Demarcation Line.

In other words, we had a plan to preserve open space in this area and, with the support of the Glendening administration, that plan was realized.

It would be a shame if this achievement was undercut by short-sighted local zoning decisions that bring intensive development right up to the edge of Garrison Forest Road, where it would loom over a conservation area many have worked so long and hard to protect.

Mitch Kolkin, Owings Mills

The writer is president of the Caves Valley Land Trust.

Time to reorganize Juvenile Services

It has become apparent that, after long years of ineffective operations, the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services has reached an all-time low ("Judges push for juvenile services," June 16).

This raises many questions concerning the responsibilities of this department for so many of the state's confused and troubled youths who often seem to be lost in a maze of paperwork before the department finally makes a decision on their placement.

The security supervision of some of the confined youths has also often left much to be desired.

To try to salvage the lives of these youths, major actions should be taken immediately by state authorities to reorganize the Department of Juvenile Services from top to bottom and to replace Juvenile Services Secretary Donald W. DeVore and other high-ranking official in his department.

Quinton D. Thompson, Towson

Campaign spending way out of control

I don't get it.

Gas is more than $4 a gallon, and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. bills have gone up almost 80 percent in the last year or so. Foreclosures are skyrocketing. People are having to choose whether to buy medicine, food or energy. Even middle-class families with two wage-earners are finding it hard to make ends meet - and forget single parents trying to pull their weight even with minimum-wage jobs; they just cannot survive.

So it appalls me to see the amounts of money the presidential candidates are spending on their campaigns.

I recently read that Sen. Barack Obama had raised $272 million for his campaign through the end of April, and Sen. John McCain had raised $122 million. And from the money people donated on their tax returns, Mr. Obama would have had another $84 million in public funds available for his campaign - although he has chosen not to use that money ("Obama skips public finance," June 20).

People are losing their homes, stress is breaking up families, people are dying for lack of affordable health care and candidates are zipping around campaigning on private jets.

What's wrong with this picture?

Gregg Trestman, Baltimore

Obama becoming ordinary politician

Sen Barack Obama just lost me ("Obama skips public finance," June 20).

I am afraid Mr. Obama's handlers have convinced him that winning at any cost is more important that keeping his word. He made a commitment on public financing, and now he is breaking that trust.

In so doing, he has given his opponents the weapon they can use to defeat him.

Mr. Obama was "change." Now he is evolving into just another politician who will say anything and mean nothing.

John Matthew McGlone, Baltimore

Bay issues matter most for 1st District

The Sun's article "Group backs Kratovil's run" (June 19) implied that whoever can raise more funds will be the winner of the First District congressional race. While I understand that money helps get a candidate's name out, I do not believe we should pick our leaders based on who can raise more money.

How long are people going to concentrate on the question of funding rather than on what truly matters - the issues?

And, having lived on the Chesapeake Bay my entire life, state Sen. Andy Harris' track record worries me.

According to the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Mr. Harris has a lifetime rating of just 9 percent on environmental legislation.

In the 2007 legislative session, Mr. Harris voted against a ban on the harmful practice of hydraulic dredging in coastal bays, against a ban on phosphorus in dishwashing detergent, against solar energy and against tightening auto emissions standards.

Mr. Harris may have more money than Mr. Kratovil. But will he be better for the First District?

Laura Sargent, Arnold

The writer is an intern for the Sierra Club.

Church has right to enforce views

The column "Don't play politics with Communion" (Commentary, June 9) and the letter "Keep sacraments untainted by politics" (June 16) show a lack of understanding.

To the Catholic Church, abortion is not a political issue but a moral issue.

And it is certainly the prerogative of the church to censure church members who do not publicly follow the church's moral teachings, whether they are politicians or not.

Stanley G. Piet, Bel Air

The writer is a retired deacon of the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Protect the public from scam artists

Congratulations are due to federal prosecutors for arresting individuals involved with the mortgage scams featured in the article "8 accused of loan scheme" (June 13).

As a result of the efforts of the Maryland Homeownership Preservation Task Force, which the Maryland Association of Mortgage Bankers is part of, the General Assembly passed the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Protection Act this year, which makes this very type of scam a felony.

We supported this law and hope it is used to put people who would prey on their own communities behind bars.

The article also highlighted the drastic need for financial education.

Consumers who understand the basics of personal finance would be less likely to fall under the spell of such predators.

The mortgage bankers group also supported legislation that attempted to include financial literacy curriculum in Maryland high schools. Unfortunately, that bill failed.

But the mortgage mess the country is facing right now will never be fully resolved unless we prosecute those committing fraud and educate citizens to recognize a scam when they see one.

Thomas Shaner, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Association of Mortgage Brokers.

It's the executive who defies the law

I agree with the writer of the letter "Justice usurp president's power" (June 18) that articles of impeachment should be drawn up - but not against the Supreme Court justices who actually supported and confirmed the U.S. Constitution in their recent habeas corpus decision.

Rather, they should be drawn up against a president and a vice president who, after manipulating the country into a war for which there were no legitimate reasons, have spent subsequent years tap dancing around our system of checks and balances and attempting to eviscerate our Constitution whenever it suits their megalomaniacal aims.

Ann Power, Catonsville

Let no one meddle with prescriptions

I don't want the federal government, the state government, local government, pharmacists, the pharmaceutical companies, Del. Barbara Robinson or the insurance prescription plans to interfere in the prescribing of my medication ("Cost of medicine could increase," June 17).

My personal physician is quite capable of writing either the name brand medication or the generic medication on the prescription.

Rita Sperling Costello, Arnold

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