Growth management conference echoes Smart Growth planIt is...

Letters to the Editor

March 27, 1998

Growth management conference echoes Smart Growth plan

It is encouraging to see Maryland homebuilders hold a conference today to discuss Maryland's future growth.

But from reading The Sun ("What Cities Should Do Now," March 22), it seems clear that Fred Siegel, the scheduled speaker, does not yet fully understand our Smart Growth initiative. If he did, he would embrace it because what he prescribed for ailing U.S. cities is precisely what our Smart Growth program is beginning to deliver.

The Sun described Mr. Siegel as someone who sees cities for "what they once were, what they are and what they can be." Gov. Parris N. Glendening has long seen cities and towns the same way.

That is why restoring the vitality of those older cities and towns is a central thrust of Maryland's Smart Growth initiative.

Under his Smart Growth plan, the resources of the state's $16 billion annual budget are targeted to older communities and to other locally designated growth areas where the infrastructure and services are already in place or planned.

This takes many forms: streetscape improvements in communities such as Catonsville; homeownership programs in neighborhoods such as Hillendale or Riverview; historic preservation projects such as the renovation and reuse by the Neighborhood Design Center of a Pratt Library branch; or a brownfields reclamation project such as the American Can Co. development in Canton.

Smart Growth operates under the same premise Mr. Siegel cites: That if the basic services of cities and towns do not function, residents will move elsewhere.

That is why Mr. Glendening has made such an extraordinary commitment to increasing state aid for education his No.1 priority. It is why he has redirected spending priorities of our school construction program so that now $8 of $10 the state spends to build schools goes to expand or refurbish older schools. It is why Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has identified 36 crime "hot spots" and targeted funds and crime prevention services to bring the rates down in those areas.

John W. Frece


The writer is special assistant to the governor for Smart Growth.

Orioles exhibition in Cuba is right for changed times

I read Kurt Schmoke's essay suggesting that the Orioles play an exhibition game next year in Cuba ("Let the Orioles play ball in Cuba," March 22).

I think it is a wonderful idea. It is time for the United States to thaw its relationship with Cuba.

The Cold War is over, and Cuba is no longer an agent country for the former Soviet Union. Therefore, the U.S. policy toward Cuba is as outdated as a map of the Soviet Union.

It is time we learn to live with our neighbor, which is 90 miles from our coast.

Vanessa Graham


A fond farewell to America's baby doctor

Goodbye, Dr. Spock.

And thank you.

Irwin and Edith Brown


Clinton and his supporters contribute to loss of dignity

It seems so typical of The Sun to have the editorial titled "Distracted White House" (March 19) and, of course, the KAL political cartoon. Clintonites are "true-blue" -- they "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" -- except to attack anyone who might be a threat to President Clinton.

They continue to attack special prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr, a man drafted into a process initiated by the attorney general and a panel of judges. They attack Paula Jones and so-called extreme right-wing conspirators, including the religious right. It's ironic that deeply religious people are extreme, and the likes of James Carville are not.

And so we read the editorial attack on the Supreme Court for refusing to delay the Paula Jones lawsuit against Mr. Clinton.

Loss of "the nation's dignity" merely reflects the long-term denigration of our culture by the liberal intelligentsia.

The Sun writes, "There are no good guys in this struggle, no winners." There may well be no winners, but to say there are no good guys in this cultural war is outrageous. President Clinton's problems are makings of his own and, in part, of his cohorts who think the end justifies the means in defense of their ideology.

People who voted to re-elect Mr. Clinton must also bear part of the shame for the nation's loss of dignity. I find some solace in the fact that he received less than half of the votes in each election.

Vincent Ciletti


How many hours of news time on radio and television as well as space in newspapers and magazines have been spent since 1992 discussing White House scandals? Some talk-show hosts have made careers of talking of very little other than White House problems. Is it not possible that if the amount of time devoted to what is essentially one subject were cut in half, we would be as well informed?

A quick resolution of the problems would certainly benefit all of us (lawyers excepted). It may be time to devote more research to perfecting the polygraph machine or some other lie detector system. If this can be done, it would dramatically shorten investigative and court time for all kinds of cases.

William H. Kelz


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