Sprawl from a throw-away societyAs I travel the roads of...

the Forum

April 28, 1992

Sprawl from a throw-away society

As I travel the roads of Maryland, I am struck by their constant expansion and proliferation. Expanding suburbia, in the face of harder economic times, continues to amaze me. Nothing has changed, despite all the changes.

People continue to move outward, seeking larger homes, using more automobiles, burning more gasoline, throwing more chemicals upon their lawns that eventually seep into the ground water, polluting as they go.

We build new, we build flimsy, we plow the woods and countryside under. As fast as we build outward, that fast are things collapsing behind us. There is always money to build new and cheap, rather than new and long-lasting. There is never any money to repair, and repair comes more quickly, when you build cheap in the first place.

Finally, the greatest joke of all, huge sums for public transport to take people from never-ending suburbia, back to where they originated, to work.

The cycle continues and no one sees the idiocy in it all. You cannot run from crime and commitment and concern. Sooner or later, you can no longer avoid responsibility.

And, sooner or later, the state of Maryland must begin to say "no" to the construction trade, those sweet souls who foster all this, who lie awake nights worrying that somehow, somewhere, a blade of grass, a single tree, may yet stand. Sooner or later, all those in construction need specialize in repair to existing structures, not new construction. We need trees and people who communicate with each other, not another development, for heavens sake.

Douglas B. Hermann

Baltimore

Rational skeptic?

In a column appearing in the Raleigh News & Observer on Easter Sunday, written by Phillip A. Stahl for The Evening Sun, Mr. Stahl attempts to debunk the supernatural and uses Paul Kurtz as one of his experts.

Anyone who really has an open mind and has ever heard Paul Kurtz debate knows that Mr. Kurtz is always made mincemeat of by his opponents. Mr. Stahl also says that a critical thinker is more likely to be a rational skeptic. Who is he trying to fool? Rational skeptics scoff at any evidence they are unable to refute. This is what they call an open mind! Please Evening Sun, could you print a column that makes sense, rather than nonsense?

Marie Kevensky

Raleigh, N.C.

Protect the kids

I am astounded that the state president of the Family Child Care Association, Novella Sargusingh, would defend a day-care mother whose license was revoked by the state because she put a 22-month old child in a bathroom for "quiet time," a nice phrase for punishment.

The parent who reported this care-giver was certainly correct in doing so. Any responsible person would absolutely never leave a toddler alone in a bathroom. Was here a lock on the toilet so the child would not fall in head first and drown? Could the child have turned on the hot water, resulting in a burn?

The parent of the child in this case supported the day-care provider and Ms. Sargusingh criticizes the state for intervening. Perhaps she should think about the title of the agency she berates -- the Child Care Administration. Putting a baby in isolation in a bathroom for punishment purposes is appalling and does not indicate proper child care in my opinion. I applaud the state agency for its efforts to protect children.

Mary B. Tawa

Ellicott City

Wrong priorities

I find it ironic that the news media beat the drum for a baseball stadium paid for by state taxpayers with plush facilities for millionaire baseball players and VIP spectators while the roofs leak at schools in Essex. Reminds me of the attitude of Marie Antoinette before she lost her head.

Peter J. Woytowitz

Essex

Land: It can only be lost once

In light of a recent surge of development proposals here, we Baltimore area residents must ask ourselves what lifestyle choices we are making for our children.

In the past 20 years Baltimore's suburban sprawl has replaced thousands of acres of farms and woodlands. Townhouses, condos, malls, warehouses, office buildings and parking lots dominate our once beautiful county.

The loss of forest and cropland is a grave danger to human society. Felling trees and paving over farms here have the same negative ecological impact they would have in Asia, Brazil or Alaska. Multiply what we have lost by the thousands of cities on Earth and you'll see we're facing a very serious problem with global consequences.

The 1990 Baltimore County Master Plan designates Owings Mills, Hunt Valley and White Marsh as growth areas. It restricts development outside these communities. Unfortunately, developers are building throughout the protected areas, using zoning upgrades and variances.

Consider these four proposals, out of hundreds before the Zoning Board:

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