The Baltimore Sun

Speed cameras distort driving

The editorial regarding the proposal to allow expanded use of speed cameras by local jurisdictions and in work areas treats the concerns people have about increased government oversight of our daily lives in a cavalier fashion ("Auto opportunity," Feb. 26).

Are we to go the way of Great Britain, where video cameras look down from virtually every street corner?

I've driven in England many times, and I've experienced how drivers have coped with the speed cameras there. On any of Britain's "M" roads, their equivalent to our interstate highways, you can figure out where the cameras are located because there is a rush to brake, followed by a dramatic speed increase.

This yo-yo effect seems to increase congestion, and it only lowers speeds for a short distance. The speeds between cameras were faster and the driving more erratic.

It's as if a race mentality has taken hold as drivers sprint from camera to camera. I would hate to see the same situation here.

I would also hate to see us become a country in which increased government oversight becomes the ready answer to whatever problems arise.

Instead, let's use more aggressive traffic calming tactics in work zones, increase penalties and have more officers show up for speeding trials.

Jason Lee, Baltimore

New parking garage another eyesore

Sadly, preservation has lost again in Baltimore ("Design panel OKs garage with elevator lift," Feb. 27).

What was the city's architectural review panel thinking when it approved this inappropriately sited eyesore?

Not only is the proposed high-rise parking garage banal in its own right, but juxtaposed next to the stately 1791 Old St. Paul's Rectory, it is an insult to that graceful historic structure.

That's bad design, a bad decision and bad for Baltimore.

Melanie Anson, Baltimore

How can we credit Obama's optimism?

The editorial "A budget gamble" (Feb,. 27) concludes: "The nation has good reason to hope that the economy will follow [President Barack] Obama's optimistic forecast."

Yet the editorial provides no rationale for such a conclusion. Can The Baltimore Sun please clarify what good reasons we have to support Mr. Obama's assumption that in 2010, the economy will grow at twice the average rate of growth we saw during the Bush years?

The Bush years, you might recall, also saw continuing deficit spending.

Ben Frederick III, Baltimore

A death penalty for innocent unborn

Please help me understand how Gov. Martin O'Malley can want to abolish the death penalty for vicious murderers but not the abortion "death penalty" on innocent, unborn human beings?

Is this political correctness or just plain intellectual dishonesty?

Janet Witman, Towson

Make executions legal but rare

We should take a practical approach to the death penalty issue ("Death penalty repeal may go to full Senate despite committee vote," Feb. 28). The state of Maryland should retain the death penalty but limit it so that it would rarely, if ever, be used.

In the event that a prisoner serving a life-without-parole sentence commits another murder, the death penalty should be imposed. For other death-eligible alleged murderers, the state should be required to offer the life-without-parole option as a plea bargain along with the stipulation that the sentence cannot be appealed.

This could be a cost-saving measure since the state could be saved the expense of a trial and endless appeals.

Mark Campbell, Millersville

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