Smoking is a choice people makeThree Baltimore smokers...

LETTERS

June 19, 1996

Smoking is a choice people make

Three Baltimore smokers, acting for ''millions of Maryland residents,'' sued the tobacco industry claiming that cigarettes are made intentionally to cause addiction and destroy one's ability to quit.

Don't these people know that when you put a burning stick of smoke-producing tobacco to your mouth and breathe in, not only are you committing an act against nature but you might also enjoy it and yes, if you do it enough, you might become addicted to tobacco?

A lot of enjoyable things in life are unnatural, and can even be considered harmful or addictive, but it's the individual who decides what to do or not do. No one has ever put a cigarette in my mouth and told me I had to smoke it.

The smoking war will rage on and I don't propose to solve the problem for either side. However, I am a smoker who is tired of all the hogwash concerning the matter.

The smokers I know have never made nonsmokers conform to their standards of life. Most of them are even considerate enough to accommodate the nonsmoker when they know or are informed that the smoking is a problem for the nonsmoker.

There are enough problems in our world, country and state to keep lawmakers busy. We don't need them wasting time and money on personal agendas.

Instead of passing laws banning smoking, we could pass laws accommodating smoking, as has the restaurant on York Road that installed its own smoking berth, completely enclosed with a modern ventilation system.

Not only are the three Marylanders not representing me as they )) wage their war with a private industry for their own stupid mistakes but neither are the officials taking away yet another right and probably contemplating their next move while smoking their own cigarettes in members-only luxury clubhouses courtesy the taxpayers.

Jack Sawyer

Baltimore

New dream homes create nightmares

I was surprised by The Sun's two-part series on the problem of declining space in Baltimore County and the subsequent need to revitalize older communities.

The latter point was treated as an afterthought in a second, smaller article and not as an integral part of the problem.

Every day I listen to the ear-splitting beeps and roars of bulldozers building a road to yet another new development in the Greenspring Valley. When the road is done, 30 beautiful, densely wooded acres will begin to fall to make way for some new "luxury homes."

Our community voiced its opposition to this development through several public hearings. However, we were discouraged our lawyers from even mentioning the large number of other houses for sale in the neighborhood. This was considered irrelevant.

Reading The Sun's series, one would think that our valleys had been zoned so strictly that they remain untouched by developers. A drive through the Greenspring and Worthington valleys reveals that the opposite is true. Huge new houses, most built with no regard for the architectural styles of their communities, dominate every vista.

New "gated communities" are everywhere. These developments do not, as the articles implied, offer hard-to-find affordable housing; they offer overpriced, ostentatious living to those who think a custom-designed house is a mark of success. From the perspective of an entire society, this insistence on owning a new house is as senseless and wasteful as buying a new car because the old one is dirty.

The dream of building one's own home is an old and understandably attractive one. But in Baltimore County, at least, it is a dream whose time should be past.

Come listen to the bulldozers smash down a forest and you will know what a nightmare a dream house can be.

arrie Montague

Owings Mills

Success recalled in school planning

In the midst of all the disturbing news about facilities management at the Baltimore County public schools it is important to provide another perspective.

Over the past two months, I have been a part of a Baltimore County public schools team charged with the programming and design of New Town Elementary/Middle School and Sparks Elementary School. Heery International, a construction management firm, has guided the process. Judy Scheper and Dale Janney have represented the facilities division of the school system. Top education managers for the system and a parent advocate have also participated.

We have devoted many, many hours in all-day meetings to developing specifications. We visited schools around the state and selected architects and engineers of extraordinary talent, always mindful of the need to provide the best possible environment for each community at the lowest possible cost. Ms. Scheper and Mr. Janney have constantly prodded the group to be mindful of cost and a need to stay on budget.

The group, with Heery's expertise, has developed comprehensive manuals for each school from which the architects will design. In addition, we have developed guidelines which can become new prototypes for elementary and middle school construction.

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