Girls may need pepper spray for protectionGov. Parris N...


June 17, 1996

Girls may need pepper spray for protection

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has strongly supported Jodie Ulrich, the young woman who was expelled from Chesapeake High School because she carried pepper spray for her defense. Clearly, the governor seems sympathetic to the idea that we live in a dangerous era and that it is not unreasonable to wish to protect oneself.

However, the ''Gun Violence Act of 1996,'' which takes effect Oct. 1 and which Mr. Glendening championed, declares among its other provisions that, ''A person may not sell, rent, or transfer a firearm . . . pepper mace, or other deadly weapon to a minor.'' The penalty for violating this provision of the law is a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

Which Parris Glendening are we to believe: The one who thinks school girls have the right to defend themselves or the one who wants to put their parents in jail for giving them the means to do so?

Giffen B. Nickol

Bel Air

Bicyclists don't belong on some roads

Recently while traveling a rural, two-lane highway with a posted speed limit of 50 mph, I happened upon a group of bicycling enthusiasts who were biking along at a speed about one half that posted for motor vehicles. The center line was solid and there was oncoming traffic, which prevented me from navigating a safe distance around them. After braking to avoid a mishap, I sounded my horn to alert the bikers to my presence. I assumed that they would yield the right of way, but they didn't.

It seemed that the bikers considered my suggestion to yield as a personal affront, since they demonstrated their disapproval with popular hand signal. At the first opportunity available, I safely passed these two-wheeled road hogs and proceeded to my destination none the worse for wear except for a slightly elevated blood pressure.

I can appreciate the bikers' desire to pursue their hobby and enjoy the scenic views, but I question their common sense in creating a road hazard and safety question not only for them but also the baby strapped on one of their backs, my passengers and myself.

Most of our road system was designed for motor vehicle use and not for such dual duty. I believe that it would be in the best interest of public safety to assign or designate certain roads, beyond interstate expressways, that are safe for bikers and certain roads that -- due to their design, width, level of traffic or other considerations -- would be persona non grata to these wire-wheeled wizards.

red Metschulat


It makes sense to change parking tax

It really got my goat when I read the comments made by individuals representing (or closely associated with) the operators of parking facilities in regard to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's proposal for increasing the parking lot tax.

The tax, which is levied against the person parking the vehicle, was last increased to 45 cents per transaction in July 1991. How many times have the parking lot operators increased their charges in the past five years?

I had occasion to go to the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse at Calvert and Lexington streets a month ago and parked on a nearby commercial parking lot. I returned to my car within 35 minutes. The charge was $5.50. I couldn't believe it.

In reviewing their posted fee schedule, I found that the charge increases in 20 minute segments: 1/3 -hour -- $3.50; 2/3 -hour -- $5.50; 1 hour -- $7.50; 1 1/3 -hours -- $9.50; 1 2/3 -hours -- $11.50. This type of fee schedule is not unique downtown. And these guys are telling people that the mayor's proposed tax increase will drive everyone from the city? Come on, now.

Levying the parking tax as a percentage of the fee charged, rather than as a flat amount per transaction, is a more equitable method of taxation, making it more comparable to the method used to collect sales taxes, income taxes, inheritance taxes and most other taxes.

Increasing the parking lot tax is a better alternative for the people who live in Baltimore than an increase in either the local income tax rate or the real property tax rate, both of which hit only city residents. The parking lot tax is paid by city and county residents, commuters and other visitors and tourists who park their cars in the city for a fee.

Bill Reiley


Mass transit gulps state gas tax dollars

The May 29 letter from Iver Mindel of Cockeysville, ''State raises cost of motor fuel,'' raises an interesting but largely neglected issue. The comparison between Virginia's and Maryland's gasoline tax levels may be summed up in four words -- public transit operating deficits.

Virginia is a large state with only northern Virginia requiring heavy expenditures in the area of public transit. Maryland is a small state that finances the operations of two expensive transit systems largely through motorist fees or gasoline taxes.

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