The Baltimore Sun

Endless growth dooms efforts to save bay

Rona Kobell and Timothy B. Wheeler's two-part series describing why the Chesapeake Bay is degraded was a worthy successor to similar series published by The Baltimore Sun and other papers for three decades now ("Tainted Waters," Sept. 28-29).

The bay is no better, and may be worse, they say, after billions of dollars spent and millions of hours of government and private effort. What's missing?

Mr. Wheeler hints at it: "The bay is barely holding its own against the tide of people who have moved into the region - drawn to the very body of water they're fouling."

But no one - scientists, media or environmentalists - dares to ask whether in the face of rapid growth, the best we can do is still doomed to fail.

The notion that our well-being is dependent on rapid, unending growth of the economy and population is never questioned, let alone subjected to reasoned debate and analysis.

So I look forward in a few years to the next series on why the Chesapeake is doing poorly.

We could write it now.

Tom Horton, Salisbury

The writer is a former Baltimore Sun columnist and the author of a recent report from the Abell Foundation on the impact of population growth on the Chesapeake Bay.

Compromises ruin the bay's vitality

We always seem to be cutting a deal on bay conservation as soon as we enact new legislation - whether it is on municipal waste, growth regulation or chicken manure flowing into our rivers ("Tainted Waters," Sept. 28-29).

We could save the bay in a heartbeat if we really enforced the federal Clean Water Act.

If we don't want to pay attention to a living Chesapeake, we most certainly will have to pay attention to a dead one.

John R. Wennersten, Washington

The writer is a member of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin and a member of the board of the Anacostia Watershed Society.

Do dairy farms threaten kids?

For goodness' sake, I hope those in the Long Green Valley who oppose an organic dairy stand in their area don't visit Broom's Bloom, a Harford County dairy farm and stand outside Bel Air ("To preserve the farm, you also want to preserve the farmer," Sept. 28).

Their kids might just abandon their video games and chicken nuggets and clamor for a Sunday afternoon trip to get some ice cream in a cone and eat it at a picnic table overlooking pastures on preserved agricultural land.

We certainly don't want to expose impressionable youths to the pleasures and values of rural living - or let our local secret get out.

Wilma Sutton Carol Sutton, Belcamp

Wage freeze hurts Balto. Co. teachers

As a media specialist at Westowne Elementary in Catonsville, I have more than 34 years of experience as an educator. This year, veteran teachers in Baltimore County did not get step raises, and no county educator received a cost-of-living adjustment.

On Sept. 23, the school board denied us the 2 percent cost-of-living raise an arbitrator had recommended.

My pension contributions have increased. Dues deductions have increased. I take home $31 less each pay period this year than I did last year. That's more than $600 less in my pocket for the year.

Next year, with no step raises for veteran teachers, no cost-of-living increases, increased pension contributions, increased health deductions, increased dues deductions and, no doubt, increased taxes, my take-home pay will again plummet.

It is disheartening and morale-busting that my skills and dedication are not even worth a 2 percent COLA increase.

MaryLee A. Stritch, Abingdon

McCain overlooked need for oversight

Sen. John McCain championed deregulation, which lined the pockets of the rich while the working class struggled to make ends meet. Now he criticizes the system he protected.

Mr. McCain reminds me of the bribe-taking police chief character in Casablanca, Captain Renault, who exclaims in a raid on Rick's Bar: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here" as the cashier matter-of-factly says to him, "Your winnings, sir."

Agnes Merrick, Baltimore

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