Watershed QualityBaltimore Municipal Golf Corp. will soon...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 14, 1993

Watershed Quality

Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp. will soon be presenting the findings of the KCI feasibility study to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for approval. The 21 additional holes of golf it plans along the water's edge would result in loss of forest buffer and threaten water quality.

Recent publications: the November National Geographic, and articles in Audubon, the New York Times, and U.S.A. Today, alert and alarm us concerning threats to and disintegration of our water bodies, particularly our drinking water sources.

A number of myths exist concerning Pine Ridge and the city-owned watershed in Baltimore County:

1. That the city's golf courses were deeply in the red, prior to their being privatized, is misleading. In fact, the monies earned by the city's five courses were placed in the general fund and supported many city recreation and park projects as well as other endeavors.

The courses were unable to use their profits for their needs. BMGC's contract with the city allowed it to keep and use profits from the courses, which have indeed accumulated.

2. It is claimed that over 60,000 rounds of golf are played at Pine Ridge. The assumption is that 60,000 people use the course. Actually, between 8,000 to 10,000 golfers (about 80 percent county residents) play these rounds as members of groups that frequent the course several times weekly.

3. An organization called the Audubon Society of New York State -- unrelated to the National Audubon Society -- which works with golf corporations, has stated, ''In the case of Loch Raven Reservoir, it appears that the present state of land is seriously degraded, eroded, littered and abused."

4. Many people assume that their water supply is safe because it uses a filtered system. A recent outbreak in Milwaukee found Cryptosporidium in the filtered water supply which made 370,000 people ill. Chlorine could not kill it.

In contrast, the reservoir of Chester Morse Lake in Seattle, which supplies most of its drinking water, is surrounded by 100,000 acres, and these acres are off-limits to the public. This is a protected watershed system that works.

Citizens have a right to clean and safe drinking water. Their public officials should guarantee it and insure it.

We urge Mayor Schmoke to reject this proposal, as he did in 1988.

Jo Owen

Timonium

The writer is a member of the Watershed Protection Coalition.

Housing Numbers

As I read the Dec. 4 article, "Rebuilding public housing project,'' some 800 existing units will be replaced by a smaller number at a total project cost of $115 million. My arithmetic says this divides through at $143,000 per existing unit.

Why not give each existing household a voucher for $75,000 or so to find and purchase a home of their choice, with $40,000 committed to a fund for property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance?

The existing buildings would not be torn down but abandoned as a haven for drug users, dealers and other miscreants who seem to like it there. Perhaps some of the shoot-outs can be kept from the neighborhoods.

The ire of contractor/political contributors, brothers-in-law and other hangers-on who missed out on project participation will have to be assuaged. Use the property taxes from these replacement properties to fund an annual annuity. The take won't be as large, but they won't have the irritation of filling out all the forms.

The article also describes a future, presently unfunded project for $293 million to replace 1,116 existing units with some 40 percent fewer units. My arithmetic says this divides through at $262,000 per existing unit.

These lucky folks can find themselves a cul de sac in Montgomery County, where the public schools are well-reputed.

Robert V. Barton, Jr.

Baltimore

Comptroller

Hymie Pressman, where are you now when Baltimore City needs you most?

J. N. Woolford

Towson

Organ Donors

It has come to my attention on several occasions that articles have been written and published regarding donor families paying for the recovery of organs. I read with great interest the Nov. 25 article, "Organ donor's mother stuck with $41,000 bill for work that saved five lives.''

This is indeed an unfortunate incident and, in turn, leads me to explain the organ donor payment system here in Maryland.

When a family consents to organ donation, it is only responsible for that part of the hospital bill that pertains to costs incurred prior to the declaration of brain death.

The organ procurement organization bears all other costs associated with the evaluation, management, and surgical recovery of the organs.

It is the Transplant Resource Center's (TRC) policy to audit each hospital bill immediately after a donation to identify those charges for which it is responsible. These charges are removed from the bill prior to it being sent to the family.

However, donor families are always instructed to notify TRC at once if there is any charge on their hospital bill that they suspect is donor related.

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