Editor: There is something fundamentally wrong with the redistricting process which results in the butchering of Baltimore County. I cannot accept the old saw that this is the way it has always been done.
The purpose of redistricting has been ignored by the sitting legislators in their selfish attempt to choose their constituency rather than defining constituencies which need representation.
Maybe this travesty will awaken the voting public enough so that we take this important process from the politicians and place it in the hands of people. Otherwise, the foxes will continue to guard the henhouses.
Thomas W. Hourihan.
Editor: Gov. William Donald Schaefer has indicated that he will present a sweeping cost-cutting plan on Oct. 1 to deal with the state's budget deficit of $450 million.
The Maryland Appalachian Trail Protection Plan, prepared by the state Department of Natural Resources, recommends an annual project open space funding appropriation of $1 million for four to five years, combined with federal funding of $3-$4 million in order to relocate six miles of the Appalachian Trail. These costs will certainly increase due to the litigation involved in eminent domain and condemnation proceedings since most of the property owners will refuse to sell.
It is very evident that saving $1 million per year will not balance the budget by itself. On the other hand, the budget cannot be balanced by eliminating $450 million in one cut. It requires spending cuts in numerous programs by bold policymakers. Eliminating this $1 million per year expenditure should be one of many cuts made before the consideration of tax increases.
The Department of Natural Resources officials have been presented with an alternate route for relocating a part of the Appalachian Trail. It would cost the taxpayers nothing because it would be located on both Hagerstown watershed and state property.
It would even provide a much more beautiful view for hikers. It was rejected for three very weak reasons. Obviously, the state would rather spend than save money.
Needless and wasteful spending such as the Appalachian Trail Relocation Plan should be permanently abandoned. If legislators don't comply, vote the rascals out in future elections.
Michael D. Jacques.
Stadium Community Ignored
Editor: The Sun's Sept. 17 article about plans for the Memorial Stadium/Eastern High School site totally missed the fact that the consultants ignored recommendations of the Stadium Task Force.
In the report given out Sept. 16, the consultants outlined the task-force goals and plans, and then, with a patronizing pat on the head for a job well done, dismissed them all as not feasible.
As a homeowner and taxpayer on Ellerslie Avenue, I found the task-force ideas much more feasible and far-sighted than those of the out-of-state consultants.
The task force was firmly opposed to retail in the Memorial/Eastern site, due to the already struggling retail areas on Greenmount. The consultants ignored this, repeatedly referring to retail in the site and sneaking in comments about a "grocery store" at least three times in their report. There is already a supermarket on Gorsuch Avenue and another in Charles Village. There are two Giants within easy driving distance.
L Where's the need? Or are we not just talking property taxes?
The task force was strongly in favor of senior-citizen housing at the site. This was debunked by the consultants, who said that the area residents could not support its fees. Most senior housing that I've been involved with both personally and professionally does not draw its population from the immediate area. The need for senior housing will be the largest growing of all housing needs. Not all nice senior-living facilities are expensive. I know, having parents in one in Pennsylvania, that they can be both lovely and practical, while still within the reach of a retiree on social security and pension.
Tearing down Eastern High School is a terrible waste. What fabulous condos could be made, or a practical facility for government agencies. The city has restored far worse sites for its Department of Social Services offices. Just because short-sightedness has left the building empty and ignored for six years is no reason to overlook its potential now.
The community around the site is being ignored by the consultants. It is a racially and economically diverse group, and should not be silenced. Fifteen years is a long time to live with construction. I think we should at least get an end product we can live with.
Margaret L. Steiner.
Editor: Roger Simon's column of Aug. 30 concerning possible Japanese participation in the 50th anniversary ceremonies at Pearl Harbor was one of his best. The idea calls up long thoughts.