Western Maryland needs more than tourism to flourishIn her...


June 07, 1999

Western Maryland needs more than tourism to flourish

In her recent letter, "Greener development better approach for Western Maryland," (May 30) Ajax Eastman misrepresented recent development initiatives aimed at making Allegany and Garrett counties full partners in a healthy Maryland economy.

She unfairly suggested that House Speaker Casper Taylor is endangering natural resources through a narrow strategy of resource extraction.

Speaker Taylor's record supporting balanced preservation of natural resources is well-established. As co-chairman of the Maryland Wildlands Committee, Ms. Eastman should know that he sponsored the wildlands legislation.

It was a work group of the Western Maryland Economic Development Task Force that requested that Maryland investigate timber and mineral harvests on state lands. That recommendation was approved by a unanimous vote of the 75-member task force.

These initiatives were not the speaker's recommendations, but the clear and compelling voice of a distressed region.

Ms. Eastman contends few benefit from mining and logging in Western Maryland. This is clearly inaccurate.

The coal industry alone is responsible for the livelihoods of more than 5 percent of the local work force. Related economic activity has an annual impact of more than $50 million in Maryland.

Ms. Eastman would apparently have us all running bed and breakfasts and serving as nature guides for vacationing suburbanites, but the task force envisions a more vital and diverse future.

It has focused not only on developing our hospitality industry, but gaining access to the information superhighway, encouraging new technology and balancing job creation and retention with preserving our natural assets.

We value clean air and water every bit as much as Ms. Eastman. But we also understand her suggested strategy would leave our communities far short of full employment and economic opportunity.

David Thomas Oakland

The writer is a member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Work Group of the Western Maryland Economic Development Task Force.

Special education students need aid, compensation

The Sun's article on special education compensatory awards in Baltimore City left out information crucial to understanding the program (" `Going for the goods' instead of the grades," May 28).

Under the court order Baltimore's schools accepted in April 1998, an award must be relevant to the student's current educational needs or remedy the loss of services the student suffered.

If the school system believes that an award a parent selected does not meet that standard, it can submit the issue to an independent arbitrator, who will make a decision based on the court order.

However, the school system has chosen not to use this authority but, instead, to attack parents' choices in the press.

As the article points out, many parents are using the program to ensure that their children have access to educational technology as part of the remedy for their lost educational services.

It is hard to see how this decision can be labeled an "abuse."

Winifred De Palma Steven Ney Baltimore

The writers are attorneys representing students and parents in the Baltimore City special education lawsuit.

Criticizing Israeli schools was unfair, offensive

The Sun's Opinion Commentary page recently included an excerpt from a left-wing, secularist Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, attacking the curricula and philosophy of Israel's religious schools ("Orthodox approach challenged," June 1).

If The Sun wished to discuss Jewish religious philosophy in Israel, there might be a place for that on your pages.

But an attack on religious schools in Israel, without any explanatory discussion, is not merely irrelevant for your readers but deeply offensive to American Jews.

Arnold Blumberg Baltimore

Chinese misconduct taken too lightly

Spying by the People's Republic of China has weakened our national security, but none dare call it treason as President Clinton pleads ignorance.

China's military capacity has been enhanced, but none care to call it our enemy because that might offend the Chinese.

Much will be said about the Cox committee's report on Chinese spying, but little is likely to be done about it.

Wake up, America.

Douglas Hoffman Baltimore

Stop detouring on intrepid commuter

As a faithful reader of the "Intrepid Commuter" column, I wanted to let you know that it is sorely missed.

I feel insulted every Monday when The Sun says it will return shortly. Enough already with the ambiguity: Either bring the column back shortly at a specific date or tell us that it has been discontinued.

Marty Cohen Baltimore

Nothing but losers in Kosovo's conflict

The ink hasn't been put to the paper yet on a peace pact for the Balkans, but some of the Clinton administration's spinmeisters are already claiming victory for Bill Clinton and NATO.

If President Clinton and NATO are the victors, then who are the losers?

The clear losers are the Kosovar Albanians, the very people we were supposed to save.

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