LETTERS

The Baltimore Sun

Use state's own data to manage crab catch

If commercial crabbers actually harvested more crabs than fisheries managers had anticipated, that raises questions about the accuracy of the data used to develop the state's crab management plan ("Questions arise over reports of increased blue crab harvest in '08," Jan. 29).

The state Department of Natural Resources uses "fisheries-dependent data," i.e., information supplied by commercial crab harvesters, as well as scientific data collected by its biologists, to develop its fisheries management plans.

If the harvest data commercial crabbers report are inaccurate, that will affect managers' decisions about future regulatory measures. And this raises questions about whether self-reported information from individuals who benefit economically from exploiting a common-property natural resource can be relied upon as a basis for management decisions.

The "fisheries-independent data" from the DNR's annual winter dredge survey of the crab population should be the standard for management of the resource.

Gov. Martin O'Malley budgeted $3 million this year to pay crabbers to work on bay restoration efforts to compensate them for income they were expected to lose because of an anticipated reduction in the crab harvest as a result of conservation regulations.

With this reported increase in crab harvest, will we taxpayers get our money back?

Kenneth B. Lewis, Baltimore

The writer is a member of the government relations committee of the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland.

Miller's meddling may distort selection

Why is state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller so upset over Magna Entertainment Corp.'s failure to submit a fully paid bid for the Anne Arundel County slots concession ("Senate president criticizes slots bidding," Feb. 6)?

The Anne Arundel slots license is the only one for which an attractive bid was submitted, not by Magna but by the Cordish Cos. However, it seems that to Mr. Miller, the fact that other locations failed to receive fully acceptable bids is of less concern than the failure by Magna to be a legitimate player in the Anne Arundel bidding.

Methinks he doth protest too much.

If the process is to be transparent and perceived by all as fully above board, I suggest that the Senate president should keep quiet or focus on areas where no attractive bid has been submitted.

He seems to be rooting a little too hard for one horse in a race where he should be merely an observer.

David G. Cronin, Owings Mills

Republicans right to reject spending

President Barack Obama's massive $800 billion-plus borrowing-and-spending package, the so-called stimulus bill, got off to a rocky start ("Obama: Crisis is nearing catastrophe," Feb. 10). The bill is so immense that it includes just about everything but the kitchen sink. But the one thing noticeably absent from the bill has been bipartisan support.

Having passed the House without a single Republican vote, the bill passed the Senate by a margin of 61 to 37, garnering only three Republican votes in the process.

Why only three Republican votes? Politics as usual? Republicans playing hardball? Hardly.

Republicans are right to question the size and scope of this bill. And why is Mr. Obama in such a rush to get it signed?

With such a massive outlay of funds, shouldn't a cautious approach be warranted?

Adam J. Carinci, Baltimore

Let the Phelps family just live their lives

I would like to thank Susan Reimer for her column on Michael Phelps and his mother ("A hard week for Phelps - and for Mom," Feb. 9). This young man's talent and commitment to his craft thrust him into the public eye, a spotlight that takes time and guidance to navigate.

He is so young and his life has been so graced and pressured. He made a mistake - can't we let him have that?

In a society that is so quick to judge others, I ask myself about my own poor choices and those my children have made and will make.

We are not judged so harshly because we are not famous - but fame does not erase one's humanness.

Mr. Phelps is a tremendous young man - let's leave him alone.

His mother obviously did so many things right - let's leave her alone, too.

Susan Bryant, Ellicott City

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