Growth-control bill would fill sketch work of county...

Letters to the Editor

January 12, 1999

Growth-control bill would fill sketch work of county master plan

The Sun's editorial "Baltimore County in the `post-growth' era" (Jan. 5) about Baltimore County's master plan accurately noted that the draft of this plan is full of generalities. The master plan, however, is a plan; plans are meant to be general.

Master Plan 2010 will be loosely interpreted as the current master plan has been, leading to continued community disarray and continued erosion of trust that Baltimore County citizens have in their government's ability to maintain a desirable environment for themselves and their families.

This problem has only one solution -- an adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO). An APFO would establish specific minimal standards for all areas managed by government that have an impact the quality of life, such as schools, roads and recreation.

Such an ordinance is especially needed because "smart growth" will ensure only that the citizens of Baltimore County have fewer options to remove themselves from chaotic and overgrown suburbs. Baltimore County can no longer remain a developer's paradise, where big business and government have more to say about what the jurisdiction should be than its hard-working, taxpaying citizens do.

These citizens deserve the protection that an APFO would provide. Without it, "smart growth" and Master Plan 2010 will do little to maintain the quality of life that their generous taxes should guarantee.

Mary Pat Kahle Timonium

Maryland must awaken to shrinking trout waters

What a pleasure it was to see Charlie Gougeon's smiling face on the front page of the Maryland section, thigh deep in a trout stream as usual ("Small fish fuel big debate," Dec. 28).

Mr. Gougeon is one of Maryland's hidden treasures: a public servant who actually serves the public. I was amazed, however, that you slanted your article to make it seem that citizen activists trying to save their neighborhood trout stream were anti-social radicals.

Did Mr. Gougeon forget to tell you -- or did you just fail to print -- that of the approximately 15,000 to 20,000 miles of streams and rivers in Maryland, only about 800 miles still support trout? How could it be that Maryland, with thousands of miles of flowing waters that were once among the best trout habitats in the world, must spend enormous sums of money every year to raise trout artificially to stock our dead streams?

Maryland has to wake up before it's too late. Development destroys our environment.

Harold H. Burns Jr. Baltimore

Nonprofit groups could run drug-dispensing clinics

I was pleased with Gerard Shields' article "David Greene to run for City Council president" (Jan. 6).

Here are two points of clarification:

I am calling for drug dispensing, not by the federal government, but by medical clinics, independent of both federal and local governments, overseen by a commission composed of nonprofit groups such as the Red Cross, Health Care for the Homeless, Women's Housing Coalition, Associated Catholic Charities and Associated Jewish Charities.

The federal government would finance this program from the large savings it would realize by ending the failed "war on drugs." It is true that federal law must be changed to allow the City-Wide Coalition's proposed solution.

Taking the profits out of drugs, as proposed, would probably have cut Baltimore's 1998 homicide toll of 314.

David G. S. Greene Baltimore

Jerry Quarry's death shows boxing is too dangerous

Alan Goldstein's "Longest round ends for Quarry" (Jan. 5) offered a well-researched review of heavyweight contender Jerry Quarry's life.

A father who gave boxing gloves to a 3-year old son and placed him into competition with "leathered older brothers" for physical conditioning was an abusive father. Sadly, many parents continue to encourage dangerous and violent behaviors. One toy store sold out its holiday supply of boxing gloves.

Pediatricians warn parents not to toss their kids in the air to prevent possible brain damage. Doesn't that warn us against physical trauma? "Punch drunk" is not a laughable label.

Gregory Kane's column "Sad death shows need for boxing commission" (Jan. 6) takes a soft approach. Stop boxing for good. It's as archaic as facing lions in an arena. Let's use our brains to save our brains and redefine the word "sport."

Gwen Locke Gibson Towson

No need for witnesses to replay prurient details

It is inconceivable why the Senate needs to consider calling witnesses. Didn't we have enough prurient testimony before the grand jury?

Maybe the sessions are so boring that senators need voyeurism to pep them up.

Alice Anderson Towson

Mfume, studious students are pictures of the year

In response to your publication of favorite photographs of 1998, here are my two favorites:

The expression on Kweisi Mfume's face sympathetic to the many situations he faces with action and grace. Why can't someone persuade him that his leadership is sorely needed in Baltimore's mayoral office?

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