Editorial erred on appointment of LennonYour journalism is...

LETTERS

January 18, 1998

Editorial erred on appointment of Lennon

Your journalism is slipping again.

I just read your Jan. 12 editorial, "Whose ethics are really in question?" In it, you chastise Carroll County commissioners for not making better choices when appointing members to the planning commission.

You point to what you think is a fact -- that Robert H. Lennon was appointed by this 55th board of commissioners of W. Benjamin Brown, Donald I. Dell and myself -- when in reality Mr. Lennon was appointed by the 54th board of Mr. Dell, Julia W. Gouge and Elmer C. Lippy.

If you have a problem with facts, please give us a call. We'll help you avoid those little mistakes in the future.

Richard T. Yates

Westminster

The writer is a Carroll County commissioner.

Additional methods needed to curb deer

The Jan. 4 Maryland section had an article about an effort to reduce deer herds in Howard County ("Shooters ready for managed deer hunt").

Although I would prefer that the deer not be hunted, it sounds as if this hunt was about as well-planned as possible, with one glaring exception.

A hunter interviewed in the article talks about getting "at least one buck with a 20- to 24-inch rack," getting "a really nice deer," being "confident he'll get his prized deer," and saying, "There's some very big trophy deer in there. My main goal is to shoot one of them."

My problem with using hunters to reduce the deer population is that, as the previous statements emphasize, their goal is to take out the biggest, strongest, most genetically desired males.

Those should be the ones left to mate with the does. Natural predators, on the other hand, typically eliminate only the sick or weak individuals.

If hunting must be used as a "tool" for reducing deer herds, Howard County is on the right track by requiring that two does must be killed before a buck can be. But I believe the county should instead use paid hunters, Department of Natural Resources employees or others willing to kill the smaller, less desired males.

As the article said, the purpose of the hunt is "to help reduce the exploding deer population." This is not the same as eliminating the best and strongest animals.

If the best bucks are eliminated, the weaker, smaller ones that remain will still mate with the remaining does. As mating will continue anyhow, the herd should be left to continue with the genetics of the strongest bucks.

Because no single, best solution exists for the overpopulation of deer, the DNR, county officials and concerned citizens should work together to develop as many ways as possible, to be used concurrently, to slow the population growth of deer.

James Clark

Finksburg

MVA files open to public unless drivers close them

I just received my renewal notice for my driver's license. At the bottom of the notice was a black bar with the statement, "The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is offering residents an opportunity to keep their MVA driver records and motor vehicle records private."

I found that statement to be quite disturbing, because I was under the impression that my records were not open to public review. So I did a little investigation and here is some of what I found:

$5 bought access

Since 1943, the records of registered drivers in Maryland have been accessible to the public for a fee. For $5, anyone can view someone's record if that person has not closed them to commercial and private interests.

Now, federal law, under the Driver Privacy Act, directs state motor vehicle agencies to offer drivers the opportunity to close their records to public and commercial use as of Sept. 13, 1997.

If you restrict your records, only government officials, law enforcement personnel and those who have a need to know (as it pertains to driver or motor vehicle safety, theft, emissions and recalls) will have access to them.

Maryland Senate Bill 260, which was passed last year and signed into law, requires the MVA to conform to the federal mandate by giving record holders the opportunity to restrict access to their records to public and commercial interests. What is the significance of this?

In today's computer world, this information can be used to do great harm. To quote MVA Administrator Anne S. Ferro, "It is well-known what can happen when what seems like innocent information falls into the hands of people who have harmful intentions. Any criminal or angry driver has the ability to obtain vital information about you that they can use to stalk or harass you, open bogus bank and credit card accounts in your name or even change your mailing address. All they need is your vehicle tag number."

For example, the credit bureaus, which track your credit history, update your database using your Social Security number. You could find yourself denied a loan because of bogus information that had been added to your credit record.

1943 law erred

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