Preserve Loch Raven's watershedBaltimore City's record on...

the Forum

February 22, 1993

Preserve Loch Raven's watershed

Baltimore City's record on the protection of its water supply is singularly poor. Through the years, politicians have tried to make money from the watersheds by promoting one ill-conceived project after the other.

But instead of learning from past mistakes, the city seems intent on repeating them: Now it is considering an expansion of Pine Ridge Golf Course that will deforest almost 100 acres of Loch Raven Reservoir's protective buffer.

The city has been fortunate so far, in that concerned citizens have saved it from some of its worst follies. Imagine the expensive pollution problems that Baltimore would be wrestling with today if, for example, a former mayor had succeeded in permitting swimming and gasoline-powered boats at Loch Raven, along with a band shell for entertainment that would have drawn large crowds to the water's edge.

Or if city, state, and Baltimore County politicians had been successful in their efforts to extend water and sewer lines across the reservoir to a "new town" that a campaign contributor was to build right beside the reservoir--a town so big that it would have required its own school and post office.

Or if citizen groups had not fought many other battles to protect the water supply -- without any support from the city.

Isn't it time for Baltimore to wage its own war against exploitation of its watersheds, to become part of the solution, not the problem? More golf courses may be needed, but why should even one be built near a reservoir?

Ironically, the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation, a private corporation that operates Pine Ridge, is using the same propaganda to justify a second golf course that the developer used years ago to justify his "new town."

According to this strained logic, agriculture is the worst polluter of the reservoirs, therefore any other use must be better; ergo, a golf course (or a new city) will "improve" water quality.

Loch Raven is a beautiful area that will always be coveted by those who see nature as a dollar sign. But it should not be for sale.

Baltimore owns the reservoirs and their watersheds only in a narrow sense. More accurately, the city is the steward of an irreplaceable natural resource that it has been entrusted to preserve and protect for present and future generations.

It will be interesting to see how history grades the stewardship of the Schmoke administration.

Beverly C. Crook


Media abuses

I am not an apologist for General Motors, nor am I attempting to pass judgment on the vulnerability to explosion of the fuel tanks on some of the company's pick-up trucks.

However, I believe the recent "expose" in which NBC's "Dateline" secretly used explosive devices to simulate the effects of a crash was despicable.

The simple apology to General Motors which NBC gave on a subsequent program was totally inadequate and not necessarily seen or understood by all viewers who watched the original program.

Severe financial losses to innocent companies could result from such irresponsible acts. This type of intentional dishonesty cannot simply be excused as "freedom of the press."

Severe penalties should be enacted by Congress for media perpetrators of such abuses. I would think that much more responsible and truthful behavior would result.

Lawrence E. Kase


Give him a break

Everybody is talking about President Clinton, but I feel they should just give him a chance to try his program.

He has only been in office a few days and really has not had time to do everything that he promised.

Let's give him a chance and pray for him, then have the patience to wait, however long it takes.

I commend his wife, Hillary, for wanting to help. We could all take a lesson from her and get off our butts and help.

Beverly Thomas


Norplant debate

As a parent, community organization representative and citizen of Baltimore, I strongly object to Dr. Peter Beilenson's decision to make Norplant available to sexually active teen-age girls without parental consent. Obviously, teen-age girls who are already mothers are not very good at making decisions about their lives.

A prime example of the poor judgment exhibited by many of these "children" was the young woman who stated recently in a televised interview that "a lot of the boys I sleep with don't like to use protection" and that her using Norplant was none of her parents business because it was her body.

The speaker was a 17-year-old mother of two. It would be unfortunate for someone with her outlook to have more children before she does a lot more growing up, of course. But her attitude also poses a serious danger to the larger society.

With the current epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases -- AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, etc. -- rampaging through area communities, Dr. Beilenson's decision will exacerbate the STD problem by promoting a birth control method that discourages the use of condoms among young people.

Patricia Taylor


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