East-West Isn't BestI must respond to your editorial (Jan...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 21, 1993

East-West Isn't Best

I must respond to your editorial (Jan. 5) supporting the East-West Boulevard in Millersville. You declared this road the answer to Benfield's traffic problems and therefore a priority, but you cited no facts to support your case. This is because the facts don't support the case.

The state highway studies say that 26,000 cars use Benfield each day, and if the East-West Boulevard is built, the number would drop to 23,500. The sacrifice of $22 million and 25 acres of mature oak forest is a high price to pay for this minor reduction.

To reduce traffic on Benfield, we need to start by making the roads we have work right before we build new ones. . . . One mile north of Benfield, the existing Brightview/Obrecht Road runs east to west from Veterans Highway to within 500 feet of Route 2. With minor improvements, this would be a popular connector. It needs slight straightening, new pavement and a traffic light at Jumpers Hole Road, where traffic backups currently cause 15-minute delays at rush hour. Extended to Ritchie Highway, Brightview/Obrecht would give easy access to Route 2 and Route 10 for commuters.

In addition, West Pasadena Road needs a light at Jumpers Hole for morning and evening rush hours. This would prevent east-west traffic from going down to Benfield simply because it's impossible to cross Jumpers Hole at rush hour. Shipley's Choice residents should get their promised one-mile leg of East-West Boulevard, with a 25-mph speed limit. With direct access to Veterans Highway, this would take many Shipley's Choice residents offBenfield.

Benfield Boulevard actually flows quite well for the amount of traffic it carries. Let's make the surrounding roads work as well and traffic may be reduced by more than the 2,500 cars a day projected by the costly East-West Boulevard proposal.

Leonard M. Stinchcomb Jr.

Millersville

Victims' Rights

The time has come for our elected officials to start listening to the people, the citizens of Maryland who put them were they are at today. Our voices are not those of vigilantes, which we have been called in the past, but those of victims for equal justice under the law.

We need to enforce the laws already in existence, instead of being easy on criminals. The murder rate is out of control and until we enforce those laws to the fullest extent, nothing will change.

The criminals know that our judicial system has fallen apart, so they take advantage of our weakened system. Our elected officials . . . need to start listening to what the citizens want done to get the crime problem under control. . . . It is not the guns or

knives that are killing people. It's the monster behind that gun pulling that trigger or the one behind that knife. Are we going to put a ban on assault knives too? . . .

Maryland has had the death penalty law but we have not used it in over 32 years. Reduce the appeals for those on death row, stop letting these criminals earn "goodie points" for early releases. They are incarcerated in prisons, not nursery schools. They are violent criminals.

Our loved ones were denied a jury and appeals. They were given an instant death sentence and their families were given life without parole. Our hearts have been broken and our dreams shattered.

Betty Romano

Bel Air

The writer is founder of the Families of Murdered Loved Ones support group.

Jailing Dads

On Dec. 28, John Rivera reported the mid-December release of 61 so-called "deadbeat dads" from the Anne Arundel County Detention Center.

The article noted that public defender Alan R. Friedman said that a growing number of fathers were being jailed for increasing amounts of time during the last year, which exacerbated the overcrowding problem in the center. . . .

The men had been sentenced to a total of more than 15,000 days in jail at a cost of about $55 per father per day. How serendipitous then, that at this time a Circuit Court judge should discover that his colleagues had been wrongfully jailing fathers . . . unless they come up with an amount of back child support that they can't produce.

A lot of fathers were hit with high child support orders during better times, especially after the Lawyer's Relief Bill (better known as child support guidelines) was passed by the legislature. The economic downturn has thrown large numbers of them out of work and into jail.

Over a year ago, the Maryland Court of Appeals reversed a sentence of five years in jail imposed on a father who was in arrears in child support. The reversal was based on the very practice the Circuit judges just discovered, and wasn't new case law then.

Robert L. Denningham

Lanham

7/8

Welfare A Right? Come On!

I'm sorry, but I can't take it anymore. In the Anne Arundel section of The Sun on Jan. 21, there was a news brief titled "High court will rule on aid cuts to the poor."

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