Gestalt of WaterThe editorial of Aug. 28, "The Gestalt of...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 15, 1993

Gestalt of Water

The editorial of Aug. 28, "The Gestalt of Golf," misses the point when it states that Baltimore City and County are ready to go to blows over whether the city can build a new course on land it owns in the county.

It is not the city, but a private corporation, Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation, that wants to expand Pine Ridge by 21 holes.

BMGC has accumulated $4 million managing the city's five courses. If the City of Baltimore was benefiting from this profit, it would not have been forced to lay off numbers of Recreation and Parks personnel because of budget cuts or to allow parks to go to seed for lack of maintenance workers.

This city-owned land around Loch Raven Reservoir Watershed already has a designated purpose -- and it isn't golf.

In 1908, the General Assembly authorized the condemnation of county residences and properties to create a lake -- Loch Raven -- fed by the Gunpowder River, to provide a water supply. The city was charged with the duty to "afforest" its watershed lands and to provide "as clear, abundant and pure" a water system as possible. No other purpose was authorized by this law.

Your editorial refers to demographics as a determining factor. "Accommodating growth" appears to be the new political escape clause from responsible environmental policies. Demographics would also dictate that biking, hiking, jogging, tennis, basketball and every other sport is primed for a growth spurt. What these sports lack, however, is a well-heeled lobbying group of wheeler-dealers putting pressure on government to provide them with their so-called "needs."

A vast difference exits between needs and wants. Potable drinking water is an absolute need for everyone. Golf is a want and a luxury for a few. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service recognizes that, "Forested watersheds are the generally accepted benchmark of quality for water resources."

Responsible city stewardship of this property would insist that the present forested buffer remain. Much forest in Baltimore County once surrounded this city-owned property, but unprecedented growth in Baltimore County eliminated that forest, making it imperative that the present forested buffer of this city-owned watershed remain to protect and provide the quality of water needed and mandated for present generations, future generations and predicted growth.

Demographically speaking, Loch Raven serves the need of at least 1.6 million water customers; whereas Pine Ridge serves the pleasure of only 60,000 golfers. Your demographic argument just doesn't hold water.

Jo Owen

Lutherville

Execution

The Sept. 6 letter by Peter C. Sotiriou, in reference to the Rodney Solomon sentencing editorial of Aug. 23 was well thought out and reasoned, except for his concluding paragraph, which said, "Solomon was given life without parole, not because we do not want him to do it again, but because we do not want anybody to do it the first time."

Mr. Sotiriou could just as easily concluded, "Solomon was given death because we do not want anybody to do it the first time."

TTC Execution is for "payment" of a crime committed -- not prospective -- and acts or should act as a deterrent to others, and not for the reason that an individual "might" do it again.

Joseph K. Rosenblatt Jr.

Baltimore

Merged Interests

It is probably no mere coincidence that Maryland will now have Keno dispensed in vending machines in such places as the Giant supermarkets since the same lobbyist who represents Keno also represents the vending machine industry.

That same lobbyist, Bruce Bereano, also happens to represent the tobacco interests, which promote early addiction to their products.

For an industry to capitalize on unhealthy addictions is deplorable enough. But for a government to sanction gambling where minors can become addicts is morally reprehensible.

Ajax Eastman

Baltimore

D-day for Cable

Your article "D-day for cable subscribers" (Sept. 6) failed to mention the most important financial factors of the retransmission equation:

Broadcasters earn revenue by selling advertising time. The amount they can charge is directly proportional to the number of viewers they can produce. Are they really ready to cut 500,000 or more viewers out of their audience in the Washington-Baltimore area? Are the major networks ready to drop millions of potential viewers across the nation?

What about their contracts with major league sports? How much leverage will they lose if they cannot produce the viewing audience they promised when the deals were made?

I think the cable companies have the upper hand in this dispute. Cable will hold out and the broadcasters will either have to come around or accept major reductions in their financial bases.

G. Bowman Thompson

Laurel

Who Is Olesker Writing For?

I am responding to Michael Olesker's Sept. 2 column which described increasing crime and the (presumed) dissolution of a neighborhood.

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