The Baltimore Sun

Protect consumers in electricity choices

I hope that all of our state legislators are paying close attention to the possibility of re-regulating Maryland's electricity markets ("PSC: No turning back," Dec. 12).

The current economic times are causing many taxpayers a great deal of pain. The Public Service Commission and the legislature must come up with a plan to deal with electricity that will prevent blackouts as well as bring cheaper electricity to ratepayers.

The article quotes one of Maryland's legislative leaders as saying, "as these negotiations go forward, you're going to get a flavor from MidAmerican or EDF [Electricite de France] on the report and whether they are open to the idea of utilities being in a partially regulated marketplace."

I hope that, as these discussions go forward, the focus of the PSC and our legislative leaders will be on how to keep the price of electricity as low as possible, and not on how a giant utility company may feel about their ideas.

In 1999, an error was made when the state decided to deregulate energy markets.

If there is going to be an error in 2008, let it be on the side of the consumer.

Cameron E. Miles, Baltimore

Congress must act first on choice bill

Frank Schaeffer's column "Healing a great divide" ("Commentary, Dec. 15) was both irresponsible and factually inaccurate.

Mr. Schaeffer wrongly postulates that President-elect Barack Obama will sign the Freedom of Choice Act shortly after assuming office.

The facts are that Mr. Obama cannot sign the Freedom of Choice Act until Congress passes the bill, and that neither house of Congress has passed the bill.

And indeed, the Freedom of Choice Act will have to be reintroduced in both Houses of Congress once the 111th Congress convenes.

John W. Nugent, Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland.

Let the banks loan money to carmakers

Here's a novel idea: Since we have loaned so much money to many U.S. banks to bail them out, without conditions of the kind many people want to impose on an auto industry bailout, why don't the banks lend the money to the automakers ("Car options," Dec. 13)?

That way, we know the money would be paid back.

Patricia McLaughlin, Joppa

Violent society reaps callousness it sows

Mayor Sheila Dixon has voiced outrage over the videotape of the man robbed and shot in the carry-out restaurant in Northeast Baltimore as patrons laughed ("Outrage at video showing disdain for wounded man," Dec.13).

She stated that there are "clearly mentally disturbed individuals in this city." I think the Biblical phrase "you reap what you sow" would be a more fitting response to this incident.

The United States has become a greedy, turbulent, Godless society where executions and abortions are legal and commonplace.

The mass media hemorrhages violence and hatred through the news, scripted television shows, movies, cartoons, music videos, The Jerry Springer Show, etc. We see loathing spewed forth in our partisan Congress, between football teams, from Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and in road-rage incidents.

So before we criticize the young people who laughed in that video, I think we need to look at ourselves.

Jim Henry, Finksburg

Will child's death prompt any change?

With the tragic death of young Ronald Jackson last week as he delivered fruit to a neighbor, I believe that Baltimore has reached a new low ("A mother's plea," editorial, Dec. 10).

Any untimely and violent death is a tragic loss. This one, however, I find particularly hard to stomach. This was a good kid who stayed out of trouble and was set to grow up to be a good person. Now this chance has been taken away.

Will this murder be investigated as thoroughly as it should be? Will police protection be increased for this challenged neighborhood?

Or is Ronald Jackson going to just be another number, another statistic? Are we truly too numb to care?

I believe that anyone who votes to cut the city police budget right now has blood on his or her hands.

Ruth Middleman, Baltimore

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