County land use program is wise policyJohn C. Erickson's...

the Forum

October 01, 1993

County land use program is wise policy

John C. Erickson's letter "Our taxes subsidize Greenspring Valley" (Sept. 9) completely misses the point. Citizens from all over the Baltimore region care deeply about preserving both private and public open space in northern Baltimore County -- open farmland valleys as well as forested watershed land.

This open space is what makes life in the Baltimore area bearable, and it is in fact touted in economic development brochures as part of the attraction of living here.

Government cannot afford to own all the forest and green open space that citizens need for our enjoyment, and which the world needs for wildlife habitat, watershed protection, stream buffers and productive farmland.

Instead, government must develop incentives and regulations to preserve lands in private ownership.

While some government ownership is essential and desirable, it is ridiculous to suggest that the county buy the entire Greenspring Valley. The cost of purchase would be prohibitive, compounded by maintenance costs and loss of all tax revenues.

Instead, many jurisdictions nationwide have embraced the concept of tax incentives for those willing to decrease the value of their properties by giving up development rights on their land.

The land is no longer as valuable to the owner, who therefore pays lower taxes, but in return the land is preserved as farmland or open space. This is a benefit to all of us, and we applaud Baltimore County's programs in agricultural and forest preservation.

Polly Walker Wirth

Towson

Free trade gain

The North American Free Trade Agreement would get rid of trade barriers between U.S., Mexico and Canada. It would open markets for American industries in aerospace, autos, agriculture and communications.

Our five living former U.S. presidents support the free trade program. Too many of us are not aware that Uncle Sam could cancel the agreement with six months' notice. Therefore, there is little risk involved in this agreement.

I feel that jobs will increase in the long run, and Mexicans will have more money to buy U.S. goods.

NAFTA may cause us to suffer some short-term pain. But long term, the U.S. economy will absorb a big gain. Those who oppose the plan are content to defend the status quo, long after the quo has lost its status.

Joseph Lerner

Baltimore

Ban bullets

At what point will the American people say "enough!" and stand up to the gun lobby?

The epidemic of random, mindless murder and mayhem is increasing daily, and the dispensers of death are younger and younger. A violent subculture has developed that is immune to threats of punishment or even rational cause and effect.

Cries for revenge in the form of capital punishment miss the mark. More police, who are increasingly outgunned, is not the solution. More jobs, less drugs and better education would certainly help -- but only in the long run.

Unless and until deadly weapons, from "Saturday night specials" to Uzi machine guns, are effectively removed from our society (as they are in England) neither innocent citizens nor visitors will be safe.

A common sense reading of the Second Amendment exposes the National Rifle Association's claim to constitutional protection for what it is -- hogwash.

If legislators don't have the courage to outlaw handguns and military weapons themselves, why not ban simply the ammunition for them?

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Give Baltimore the ball!

In response to Brian D. Vismale's letter, "Why we don't need football" (Sept. 16), I offer 10 reasons why we indeed do need football:

1. Taxes for the city, more money for downtown merchants.

2. Minority representation is part of the deal.

3. Year-round and seasonal jobs.

4. Plans for Memorial Stadium include turning it into senior citizen housing and shopping areas, thus generating more taxes for the city and more jobs.

5. The Bullets left for more money. Although a losing team, the Colts still drew sellouts. The Colts left because of one man, Bob Irsay.

6. Rumors of the Orioles leaving was a business ploy to get a better deal with the city -- and it worked.

7. Give Baltimore the ball and there's no way we'll ever drop it.

8. Comparing getting a football team to the Fishmarket and the Power Plant is like comparing eggs to oranges.

9. Rhinos do not work at the zoo, they live there.

10. What the heck has Ross Perot or Rush Limbaugh got to do with us getting a football team?

John W. Johnson

Baltimore

Year-round schools

I am writing this letter in response to the Sept. 22 Evening Sun article concerning year-round schools. I'd like to point out some of the many pros and cons concerning this issue.

Some pros: Students would definitely remember more if they were to have an extended school year. Over the summer, most kids tend to get lazy (eating, sleeping, watching TV). A shorter vacation might prevent this. Students would strive to accomplish more because they wouldn't have as much time on their hands.

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