The Baltimore Sun

Sustainability plan will enhance the city

Mayor Sheila Dixon's draft sustainability plan is a major new tool for Baltimore to become a greener, cleaner, healthier and safer city ("'Greener' Baltimore plan to be unveiled tonight," Dec. 3).

Sustainability refers to the capacity of a social-environmental system to deal with threats and changes.

The city's sustainability plan can help Baltimore's government and citizens improve the city's environmental, economic and social conditions. Perhaps just as important, a sustainability plan will help the area confront change in the future.

The plan can also help link the city's efforts with the sustainability initiatives in Baltimore County and at the state level.

Steward T.A. Pickett, Millbrook, N.Y.

The writer is the director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study.

7-Eleven would sully Mount Vernon Square

As a concerned citizen who has lived in the Baltimore area for 40 years, I feel it would be a terrible thing for a 7-Eleven to be put right in the heart of historic Mount Vernon ("Bid to block 7-Eleven in Mount Vernon falls short," Nov. 25). It would forever change the flavor and safety of this beautiful area.

It would bring parking headaches and loitering to an otherwise charming place.

Mount Vernon Square, the Washington Monument and the Walters Art Museum should be treated with the respect they are due and the area treated as a historic site and kept free of a nearby low-end, high-traffic convenience store.

Many dedicated people have worked so hard to resurrect and revive the Charles Street corridor. But a new 7-Eleven would be a tragic and permanent change to the area.

Stephanie M. Cereijo, Towson

Rail ticket machines equally unreliable

I sympathize with the writer who said the MTA's fare boxes were broken for five of his 26 bus trips last month, which results in the patrons often riding free ("MTA can't even learn how to take our fares," letters, Dec. 4). Much the same thing happens on the light rail.

I use the light rail regularly, and its ticket machines are broken so often that the only way to use the system regularly and conscientiously is to buy a monthly pass.

Last year, nearly every ticket machine on the light rail seemed to be broken the entire weekend of Artscape, which is probably the system's biggest revenue-producing weekend.

Ideologically, I am about as far from being an advocate of the free market as is possible.

But there isn't a private sector business in the universe that would allow its ticket machines to collapse en masse during its biggest revenue-producing weekend of the year.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

Co-occurring disorders often go undiagnosed

The article by Kelly Brewington describing a study of college-age adults with co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorders points to the need for good screening and assessment skills among treatment providers ("Young adults hit by mental health issues," Dec. 2).

Many young people with multiple disorders seek help but are only diagnosed for one disorder or the other, often as a result of poor cross-training and collaboration between addiction specialists and mental health providers.

As a result, they often receive sequential treatment and are not treated for their multiple disorders simultaneously, and the treatment often fails.

Treatment providers should think of co-occurring disorders as the rule, not the exception.

Patricia Bayly Miedusiewski, Monkton

The writer is a registered nurse.

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