The Baltimore Sun

Transit service cuts will damage downtown

I applaud Gov. Martin O'Malley and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman for striking a deal that will continue commuter bus service between Downtown Baltimore and Howard County ("Fighting to save MARC's late trains," Dec. 11). And I certainly hope that similar concessions can be made to avoid the remaining proposed Maryland Transit Administration service cuts.

Welcome as it is, this deal does not change the underlying truth that it is shortsighted to cut transit routes to and from Downtown Baltimore, one of Maryland's most important economic engines, at exactly the moment when growth patterns, environmental concerns, personal budgeting and global fuel costs are convincing many people to embrace mass transit in record numbers.

The Downtown Partnership recently surveyed transit users who live or work in downtown Baltimore. More than 1,000 people responded, and they were overwhelmingly opposed to the planned MTA service cuts.

More than 75 percent of respondents indicated that, prior to riding transit, they had commuted by driving into downtown. If their transit lines are eliminated, 46 percent indicated that they would return to their cars and another 38 percent reported that they had no idea how they would get to and from work.

Some respondents stated that they will be forced to find a new job, while only 3 percent of respondents indicated they would use a different public transit alternative.

The impact the MTA's proposed cuts would have is thus not only predictable but confirmed by the survey results.

The Baltimore region will see more cars on its roads, and commutes will be longer. Downtown Baltimore will lose employees and could even lose companies. Our restaurants and retailers will suffer as we have fewer patrons enjoying our night life downtown.

The impact of these cuts would go beyond the inconvenience to the transit riders.

The MTA must reverse its decision and cancel its remaining planned transit cuts.

John B. Frisch, Baltimore

The writer is board chairman of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

Respecting boundaries isn't prudish at all

In her column about the phenomenon of teens electronically posting and texting nude and semi-nude photos of themselves, Susan Reimer quotes a gentleman in his 40s: "I don't want to sound prudish. Maybe in 10 years time this will be normalized" ("The brief indiscretion that never ends," Dec. 15).

Heaven forbid. Understanding the importance of respecting limits and boundaries is an essential life skill that we are responsible for teaching our children.

It is especially important to teach them to honor their own boundaries and to respect those of others.

Valuing fundamental respect has absolutely nothing to do with "prudery" or being "old-fashioned" or one's personal sexual "morals." Respect is a core human and ethical value.

If it ever goes out of style, so does the foundation of our society.

Just because a trend is new doesn't mean it's better, and change is not always progress.

If we're not clear on the real issues at stake here, how can we expect our children to be?

Deborah Roffman, Baltimore

The writer teaches human sexuality at the Park School.

Easing adoptions ultimately hurts pets

I was very sorry to read that the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter has cut adoption fees for the holiday season ("City animal shelter cuts adoption fees for holidays," Dec. 15).

The worsening economic situation is clearly having an impact on family pets, but the action by BARCS is ill-advised because it sends the wrong message and will put helpless pets in further jeopardy.

Acquiring pets as a holiday gift is a bad idea to begin with, and for the shelter to essentially make pets available for adoption at bargain-basement prices is asking for trouble.

Pets adopted under such circumstances are likely to be returned to the shelter, be abandoned, or worse.

Further, in this society, the value of an object - or, in this case, a pet - is often equated with its cost.

Waiving adoption fees for dogs and cats who are two years or older contributes to the false idea that older pets have less "value."

Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Silver Spring

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