Rent-a-CopAs an organizer of the voluntary Bolton Hill...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 11, 1993

Rent-a-Cop

As an organizer of the voluntary Bolton Hill Security Patrol and an active member of my community, I was keenly interested in your editorial "From Public Safety to Rent-a-Cop" (Feb. 3) expressing the opinion that "a mandatory, tax-like surcharge" is the "wrong approach" to easing neighborhood concerns about crime.

While you dismiss the concept of the special tax district proposed by Del. Kenneth Montague Jr. and Sen. Julian L. Lapides, you fail to suggest any alternative except waiting "until the nation's cities find the financial wherewithal to perform necessary governmental functions for all their citizens."

The citizens of Bolton Hill, Guilford, Lower Charles Village and the downtown business district have chosen not to wait.

Taxes that directly and efficiently address the concerns and priorities of local jurisdictions -- even neighborhoods -- are an indication that citizens are not only ready to solve their own problems but increasingly impatient with bloated bureaucracies and inefficiencies in the "public" management of these issues.

Innovative solutions to today's tough problems should be encouraged.

Yes, crime rates have risen, and answers are harder and harder to come by. But decrying the initiative of individual communities that have the courage to help themselves strikes me as short-sighted and detrimental to Baltimore. We cannot afford to wait for government to solve our problems for us.

Paul J. Hinkle

Baltimore

Golf and Water

Over 1.6 million people depend on Baltimore City to provide them with "as clear, abundant, and pure" a water system as is possible.

On Jan. 27, the city's Board of Estimates listened to the arguments for and against allowing the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation, a private corporation, to begin studies which may lead to the addition of 21 holes of golf at Pine Ridge. The expansion would cause the deforestation of nearly 100 acres of watershed buffer.

The mayor said the meeting was to shine sunlight on the process, but permission to conduct the feasibility study had already been granted by George Balog, the public works director, to the BMGC last year.

How will the expansion of the golf course improve the water quality? To say that it will not harm the water begs the question.

In 1988, Mr. Balog stated: "My department has investigated this matter and issued a report which indicates that this proposed expansion could create harmful environmental effects."

Why is the expansion any less harmful today? Perhaps the only change is that it may be more profitable.

Who will pay to clean up any chemical spills or ground water contaminations? To say that no accidents have happened yet is ludicrous.

Who will pay to dredge the lakes from the increased sedimentation that occurs from on-site deforestation and nearby development?

If there is over-development in the surrounding counties, then the importance of maintaining the reservoir buffer is even greater.

The mayor claimed that the city was not legally bound to follow Baltimore County's development and zoning regulations.

There was only silence when the board was asked what stopped the city from building a football stadium, a concert hall or a prison on the watershed property. Apparently, nothing prohibits this.

Finally, why doesn't the city follow the state of Maryland's 1908 mandate to "afforest" its watershed lands?

Why doesn't the city put a notice in our water bills that important changes are being decided that will affect our municipal water system?

The answer to these questions is very clear: The special interests of the few have been put before the best interests of the many.

Michael A. DeFilippi

Long Green

Somalia and Haiti

It is incongruous that we have committed nearly 30,000 American military personnel and spent over $600 million to feed starving people in Somalia, 6,000 miles away, while at the same time contributing to the starvation of 6 million Haitians by establishing an economic boycott of that country, which is less than 500 miles from the U.S.

While our argument may be that we are trying to bring a democratic government to Haiti, this does not excuse the accompanying misery wrought on its ordinary citizens.

This has caused many to flee, with an international embarrassment to the U.S. as they are turned back because they are not political refugees.

I do not know the answer to this problem, but surely if we are willing to expend so much time and money in a very distant country, we should make a greater effort to alleviate the problems in a country that is so close geographically. We are not trying to control the political system in Somalia at the expense of possible starvation. Let us be reasonable about alleviating the misery in Haiti.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

AH Too Many Lawyers

It is very disturbing to observe that all branches of government are now dominated by lawyers. The Supreme Court (naturally), Congress and now the president and the first lady, too.

Where are we heading? From gridlock to paralysis? I'm concerned.

Frank Cummings

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