Government Shouldn't CompeteOnce again, The Baltimore Sun...


January 24, 1993

Government Shouldn't Compete

Once again, The Baltimore Sun is wide of the mark with its editorial, "Who Owns The Blue Crab?" (Dec. 11) . . .

Your editorial takes the position that state government should be in direct competition with small business. I didn't know that was the role of government in our democratic society.

Perhaps you don't realize it, but the Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee held hearings on House Bill 1218, "Procurement-Unfair Competition," which specifically addressed this issue in March of 1991. At that time, it was brought to light that there were state institutions in direct competition with private industry by using their staff and facilities for catering, lodging, selling computers at discounted prices and, since then, at least one of the state universities has gone into the commercial fitness business.

Tax problems need to be addressed, but the solution is not in government agencies, quasi-government agencies or tax-exempt organizations working to increase market share to the detriment of private tax-paying enterprises . . .

R. Floyd Jones


Majority View

After reading the editorial titled "Need For Mixed Use Won't Go Away" (Dec. 20), I must comment. The points missed in this editorial are numerous. Charles Feaga was elected by his constituents to carry out their wishes. Their wishes now as the majority of Howard County voters is "slow growth." Moreover, Mr. Feaga, as all other council members, it is hoped, realize this is a key to re-election, as well as correcting the tremendously flawed General Plan. . . .

Howard County does not need "mixed use" to attract more business. The assumption made that business people find attractive . . . "a mix of housing types at various prices and in close proximity to the jobs being created" is incorrect. . . . The bashing of Columbia does occur when you drive on Route 29 at 5 p.m., have children in portable classrooms, need 10-plus new schools, spend $23 million on one cloverleaf, etc., etc. Whether this is Columbia-bashing or growth-bashing, I am not sure, but the average voter does not want the problems growth has caused in other areas. . . .

The vocal majority for controlled, slow growth has nothing in mind but the best interest of our county. Stop trying to twist Republican vs. Democrats, majority vs. minority, mixed use vs. slow growth. . . .

Wilbur F. Coyle


Cars, Transit And Clean Air

I am writing about your editorial Jan. 5 entitled "Poor Planning in Montgomery," in which you blame the congestion problems in the Route 29 corridor on poor planning by Montgomery County.

While there is no doubt that some of the traffic problems can be laid on . . . Montgomery County, the county should not take all of the blame. . . .

Part of the blame can be laid at the foot of the federal government and its past transportation policies which encouraged road building and automobile use, a situation that has changed with the passage of the 1992 Federal Transportation Act.

The situation is best summed up by . . . an editorial entitled "Kowtowing to the No-Growth Crowd" in your Dec. 28, 1992, paper saying: "For too long suburban growth has been allowed to occur haphazardly, without regard to the link between long commuter rides, pollution and the destruction of wetlands."

You further commend Howard County for making improvements to Route 29 that encourage automobile traffic and chide Montgomery County for encouraging commuter buses. I would remind you that the Washington metropolitan area, including Montgomery County, is not in compliance with the federal Clean Air Act and the only way Montgomery County will ever come into compliance with the Clean Air Act is to . . . reduce auto usage. . . . The Route 29 situation between Montgomery and Howard counties points up the need for a strong mechanism to coordinate land use planning between jurisdictions, something the General Assembly has not been willing to do.

The pages of your paper have given excellent coverage to the need to reduce nutrients running into Chesapeake Bay and the steps that must be taken by all jurisdiction to meet the 40 percent nutrient reduction goal, a goal supported editorially by you. You cannot help but be aware of the research that shows a substantial amount of the nitrates entering the bay are from airborne sources such as automobiles . . .

Reducing automobile traffic in the Route 29 corridor is a top concern of both state and county officials from Montgomery County. It should be a top concern of Howard County officials, and we would hope The Sun, because reducing auto traffic is the only way we are going to meet the clean air standards and clean up Maryland's great natural resource, Chesapeake Bay.

James W. Clarke


The writer is a member of the Montgomery County group of the Sierra Club.


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