TV stations' success helps minorities and the communityI...

Letters to the Editor

April 28, 1999

TV stations' success helps minorities and the community

I read with interest The Sun's April 18 article "WNUV-TV owner a lightning rod for criticism."

The article detailed the successful relationship between television broadcast companies Sinclair and Glencairn in the context of misplaced criticism of Glencairn and its owner, Mr. Edwin Edwards, by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

Like many Baltimoreans, I grew up watching the three major networks on channels 2, 11 and 13. Today, television viewers have access to cable and satellite programming in addition to Sinclair's WBFF-TV (Fox 45) and Glencairn's WNUV-TV (WB 54). These stations are tireless supporters of community and charitable causes and offer alternative local viewing choices.

Sinclair Broadcasting pioneered the local marketing agreement (LMA), in which one station brokers a portion of its time to another local station, and has used it with numerous broadcasters, including Glencairn.

More than 80 LMAs exist today; they have been critical to the launch of the UPN and WB networks, helping generate additional news operations and more outreach to minority communities.

What I find troubling about your article is the hidden agenda of the Sinclair-Glencairn critics.

Instead of supporting a highly respected minority businessman who has spent more than two decades in the industry, the Rainbow/PUSH coalition targets Mr. Edwards because his success was accomplished without relying on the tactics of Mr. Jackson and his coalition.

For example, Carolyn Smith, a white principal investor in Glencairn, could have owned 100 percent of Glencairn but chose instead to give an ownership opportunity to a veteran broadcaster, who also happened to be a minority.

This, much to Mr. Jackson's apparent dismay, occurred without government benefits, incentives, edicts or mandates.

The Federal Communications Commission has approved the LMAs between Sinclair and Glencairn. The economic success and public contributions of these and similar broadcasters are proof that the system is working.

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Washington

The writer represents Maryland's 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Regulation, not land deal threatens state's foresters

While we who work for Chesapeake Forest Products Co. were flattered by The Sun's praise of our land stewardship ("Wooded realm to be sold on the Shore," April 20), some of the article's points were off the mark.

The way Chesapeake manages its land is not unique for the forest products industry. The forestry profession is by nature "conservation-minded."

While Chesapeake does have its own environmental guidelines that in some cases exceed state and federal regulations, the suggestion that without such policies critical habitats, cypress swamps, and other features of the Chesapeake land would go unprotected is ludicrous. Private forestland in the United States is among the most heavily regulated in the world, and Maryland is a national leader in environmental regulations.

At the federal level, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act strongly impact foresters.

From state authorities, we face erosion and sedimentation laws, the Critical Area Law, the Pine Seed Tree Law, as well as wetlands and natural heritage areas regulations.

In many cases these laws have stripped us of our right to harvest timber, regardless of how "conservation-minded" we, or any new landowner, might be.

The alarm sounded in your article was unfounded. "The forested face of the Delmarva Peninsula" is more seriously threatened by more regulations than by a simple business deal between two forest products companies.

Larry Walton

Pocomoke City

The writer is region manager of Chesapeake Forest Products Co.

Police need search powers to control highway crime

I found the April 11 letters to the editor "More police search power threatens more abuse," offensive to the men and women in law enforcement.

The writer's comment that police agencies are "manned largely by out-of-control cowboys" is totally objectionable.

In expanding police search powers, the Supreme Court weighed an individual's expectation of privacy while using our highways against the threat posed by the criminal elements our troopers encounter every day and night.

Because of increased security at airports and the Port of Baltimore, our highways have become major conduits for illegal drugs and related criminal activity.

Since January, troopers here at the Maryland State Police's Waterloo barracks, who patrol just 10 miles of Interstate 95, have recovered two vehicles used to smuggle drugs, more than 3 pounds of marijuana, $12,000 worth of crack cocaine and nearly $30,000 in drug money.

Criminal activity is constantly changing. Our laws are the tools and boundaries under which we conduct our business. As the need to change and amend the laws has arisen, the Supreme Court has made appropriate adjustments.

Lt. T. D. Gardner

Jessup

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