Merge the CityEditor: In ''Baltimore and Beyond,'' Neal...


May 13, 1991

Merge the City

Editor: In ''Baltimore and Beyond,'' Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson speak of the need for ''a truly cohesive region'' in dealing with the problems and challenges facing Baltimore City and the five neighboring counties.

To achieve this cohesiveness, may I suggest we turn back to classical Greece and create a modern-day version of the city-state. Specifically, merging Baltimore City with Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties into a single political unit. A mega-city.

The city and neighboring counties are already an economic unit -- a clearly defined and nationally accepted trading zone. When marketing, sales or advertising professionals think of ''Baltimore,'' they envision not a small square of geography, but an area some ten times larger and with a seven-figure population. But when we overlay economic Baltimore with political Baltimore, it fragments.

Instead of ''a truly cohesive region,'' we have six bits and pieces. One city and five counties each trying to go its own way and denying their commonality.

Melding Baltimore City with the five neighboring counties would give the ''new'' city more clout in Annapolis and in other political arenas.

The city would become more competitive in securing new business and industry.

Regional planning and development could be simplified and improved.

Bureaucracy could be reduced, and with it the costs of government.

In fact, many costs could be reduced through simplification and elimination of duplication in services and programs. The benefits, I submit, could be many.

If Baltimore should become another Newark, another Detroit, the five counties will surely find themselves going down the tube with it.

During the American Revolution, someone observed that ''either hang together or we will surely hang along.''

Denny B. Beattie.


For Rich People

Editor: So many people, mostly Democrats, are screaming ''tax the rich.'' What they don't understand is that this country needs rich people.

Most of us work for rich people.

Rich people make this country run.

They control huge corporations which provide jobs and pump money into the economy. They invest in growing companies and start new ones. They finance the government by buying treasury securities. They make donations to charities, universities and finance needed research.

Should the rich be penalized for their success and ordered to pay higher tax rates than the rest of us? The ''tax the rich'' mentality of people like Barbara Mikulski kills the American Dream.

One day I, like many people in this country, dream of becoming rich.

Democrats say they are the ''working class party.'' But Republicans are the real working class party because they believe that people who work for their money should be able to keep it. Democrats just want to take most of what you and I earn and give it away.

Chris Ferro.


Jury Duty

Editor: I have just finished serving on a Baltimore City jury. I know this is my civic duty and have never shirked this responsibility through the years, but I think it is very unfair the way the names of jurors are selected.

It is my understanding that jurors' names are selected from the registered voters list. Why not include the Motor Vehicles Administration and other sources?

I am a retired person and I have served twice on a jury since my retirement, so you know that I am no youngster.

Wake up Baltimore! Give the civic minded citizens a break.

Frances A. Miller.


Managing Growth

Editor: I would like to comment on your recent editorial regarding Gov. William Donald Schaefer's efforts to implement growth management policies through state funding of water, sewer and other public facilities.

The state is well within its rights to require that local land use plans and ordinances conform to standards aimed at managing growth and containing sprawl.

Public facilities such as roads and sewage treatment facilities are major long-term investments that have tremendous influence future development patterns.

Poor planning and timing of public facilities results in costly and environmentally harmful development, either from an environmental or economic standpoint.

Some counties and municipalities in Maryland have adopted land use plans and ordinances designed to effectively manage growth. However, they represent a small minority of the total.

In fact, most county governments in Maryland have weak or ineffective zoning ordinances which permit low density development. In addition, this weak zoning is often further undermined by local officials granting variances or rezonings. The result is environmentally harmful and fiscally irresponsible sprawl.

The state needs to act now to set in place a mechanism to review local plans and ordinances as part of the public facility approval process. The state cannot afford to wait any longer.

The governor is right and these actions are entirely appropriate considering the magnitude of the problem.

obert J. Gray.


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