The Baltimore Sun

Striking a balance on 'green agenda'

The Baltimore Sun's editorial "The green agenda" (Feb. 2) properly lauds Gov. Martin O'Malley's "green" commitments, from fully funding Program Open Space to reducing greenhouse gases.

The editorial also claims that his current legislative proposals don't go far enough to "steer counties and towns in a responsible direction" to control growth.

However, a task force worked through 2008 to make recommendations on land use, growth and development to the governor and General Assembly, and its initial recommendations formed the basis for the governor's proposals.

The task force will continue its work through 2010. Our work, and presumably that of the governor, is not yet complete as we seek to ensure that Maryland remains a leader in smart and sustainable growth.

Maryland's growth challenges were not created overnight and will not be solved overnight. But while some believe initiatives from the task force and governor do not go far enough, others believe they have gone too far.

With criticism coming from both sides in this important debate, one might better conclude that the governor is steering a reasonable middle course as we continue to tackle critical growth and development issues.

Jon M. Laria, Baltimore

The writer is the chairman of the state's Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland.

ICC mars effort to stop sprawl

The Baltimore Sun's editorial on the governor's environmental credentials was right on ("The green agenda," editorial, Feb. 2).

He deserves kudos for protecting land and for moving us further on the global warming bill (but not far enough, in my opinion). But when it comes to the health of the bay, Gov. Martin O'Malley needs to signal his intent to do the right thing by immediately canceling the sprawl-inducing Intercounty Connector.

That highway is not only taking us in the wrong direction on growth but also eating us alive financially. It needs to go - now.

Betsy Johnson, Chevy Chase

The writer is a member of the executive committee of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club.

Smaller slots parlors can still harm public

As someone who opposed the slots referendum, and lost, I cannot gloat about the pull-back of the casino-builders who bid for smaller quantities of slot machines than the state expected ("Bidding on slots falls short," Feb. 3).

There will still be plenty of community degradation and human ruin generated by fewer slots machines.

Dave Thompson, Elkton

The writer is Cecil County chairman for Stop Slots Maryland.

State still needs ultimate penalty

Gov. Martin O'Malley wants an up-or-down vote on repealing the death penalty in Maryland ("Leadership on repeal," editorial, Feb. 1).

The fixed study on the death penalty that the state conducted found that it is used unfairly based on race and jurisdiction. But the fact remains that when you cut through the smoke and mirrors from the defense attorneys and anti-death penalty activists, the death penalty still has a place in our society.

You only need to ask one question to see this point: If the death penalty is repealed in Maryland and the ultimate punishment becomes life without parole, what would we do with an inmate who kills a correctional officer or another inmate while in prison?

If the governor gets his way, we would give that inmate another life sentence and hope for the best.

Jerry Charles, Westminster

Israeli aggression blocks path to peace

The writer of the letter "Arab intransigence is the real obstacle" (Feb. 2) claims to correct the editorial "Listening post" (Jan. 28).

But I cannot help thinking that he is clearly a biased observer. What he calls "facts" about Israel's interest in a fair solution are really discredited propaganda.

Over the years, Israel's so-called interest in peace over the years has been a cover for its aggressive acts of expansion and other actions that create obstacles to a just solution to the conflict.

Its recent horrible war crimes in Gaza are just one more obstacle.

Najad Tuffaha, Columbia

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