'Can't refuse' offer seemed to be missing to keep Piper in...

Letters to the Editor

October 10, 1998

'Can't refuse' offer seemed to be missing to keep Piper in city

The "it's not our fault" letter from the Baltimore Development Corp. raises two interesting points ("Learning lessons from Piper's move to suburbs," Oct. 6).

Where is the leadership at the city that would have made the "offer you can't refuse" to Baltimore City Community Colleges?

Secondly, there is only one way to "address all the hurdles" to get new office development in downtown: Create an environment that will attract tenants.

That means a school system in which tenants can feel that their children will receive an effective education; a school system that will graduate people who can work efficiently for tenants; places for tenants to park their cars safely, conveniently and economically; an environment where tenants can walk without being hassled; and a coordinated transportation system that will bring tenants from the suburbs to the city.

It's not rocket science, and there are no short cuts.

Find the tenants and the buildings will be built.

Ken Gelbard

Baltimore

American oligarchy is aim of the Republican Party

From the front page of The Sun, "Russia's oligarchy tumbles downward" (Oct. 5): "Fewer than a dozen men amassed enormous wealth, strung together far-flung empires, bought the press outright and came to wield tremendous power. They rose through connections, patronage, charm, intimidation and an adroit use of other peoples' money. They maneuvered the government into handing out vast portions of the economy, through privatization. They were called the oligarchs."

These words were written of the post-Soviet Union. They could apply to the United States if we allow Republicans to gain complete control of the House, the Senate and the presidency.

W. K. Lester

Severna Park

Straw purchase crackdown aims to gets guns off street

One of the reasons I recently joined the ever-increasing flow of residents moving out of the city to the surrounding counties is because I was fed up with the gun-related violence.

I was extremely pleased to read that the Violent Crimes Task Force of Baltimore City was going after "straw purchases" of guns (" 'Straw purchases' of guns targeted by authorities," Oct. 2). The tracking of guns that get into the hands of criminals is paramount if we want to stem the tide of handgun-related violence.

Knowing that the task force is aggressively targeting this practice and arresting those involved is comforting to those of us who have grown tired of the inaction by city officials once legislation is in place.

The article says that "the felon and the man who sold him the guns were arrested . . . and are being held without bail." Let's be ever vigilant about these arrests and assure the law abiding citizens of Baltimore City that these crooks don't get just a slap on the hand.

Throw the book at them. Our children deserve nothing less.

Wanda R. Reese

Edgewood

The writer is a board member of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.

Homebuyers need warning of environmental hazards

I read with interest your editorial "The American nightmare" (Oct. 2), decrying the sad case of Howard County homeowners whose houses are contaminated with explosive methane gas from an abandoned landfill beneath the homes.

The editorial correctly says that "buyer beware" is no help.

Zoning maps and master plans are of no help to prospective homebuyers because they do not indicate the land use before development.

Homebuilders and developers have access to documents relating to prior land use and should be compelled to disclose the presence of environmental hazards on the property or state that there is no guarantee that no known hazards exist.

At the request of many constituents, state Del. A. Wade Kach, of District 9A, introduced a bill in 1995 and 1996 to the Maryland General Assembly that would have required builders of new homes to disclose any such hazards. Each time, the House of Delegates passed the bill only to have the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee stop it from being voted on by the full Senate.

At the public hearings held for this bill, lobbyists for homebuilders and developers stated that such a bill is unnecessary because homebuilders are held to a high standard. Is the Calvert Ridge subdivision in Elkridge the high standard they are talking about?

Mr. Kach introduced a bill in 1993 requiring real estate agents to disclose environmental hazards on the property of homes they sell. The bill was passed and signed into law by former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, but does not apply to homebuilders or real estate agents selling new homes without an agent.

This situation punishes the innocent homebuyer who must disclose the presence of environmental hazards to future homebuyers of the property.

After the fiasco of the latest Howard County case, I fervently hope that The Sun and our representatives will support a bill for this purpose that is expected to be introduced in the next session of the Maryland General Assembly.

Richard W. McQuaid

Parkton

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