The port must use Site 104 until other dump sites are...

Letters to the Editor

August 23, 1999

The port must use Site 104 until other dump sites are ready

The Belt's Corp., one of Baltimore's oldest family companies, is dependent upon a healthy shipping channel. This channel is threatened by the dispute over dumping dredge at Site 104.

The Sun's editorial "Dredging up the truth on proposed dumping" (Aug. 4) got to the heart of the matter: Open water disposal is a safe dredge disposal option that will do nothing more than move clean bottom material that is already in the Chesapeake Bay from one location to another.

Open water disposal was included in the dredging plan because it is cost effective, can be done more quickly than building another Hart Miller Island and is an environmentally safe option that has been used for years without harming other areas of the the bay.

As The Sun's editorial noted, every environmental resource agency that is now raising questions about Site 104 supported open water disposal in the port's plan.

Open water disposal is meant to meet the port's dredging needs while other disposal sites are built. It took 14 years to get Hart Miller Island approved. It has taken seven years to get Poplar Island under construction.

Dredging needs to be done every year and these two sites are not big enough to take care of the port's needs.

Recycling is years away from being a practical alternative and Aberdeen Proving Ground is a totally impractical storage site because of its contamination.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should take the next several months to check its facts and write a report that will clear up the questions, misinformation and distortions being thrown about by opponents of Site 104.

The port is too important to this state as a generator of jobs, business revenues and taxes to let it die because we cannot dredge our channels.

S. A. "Skip" Brown III, Baltimore

The writer is president and chief executive officer of the Belt's Corp., a local warehousing and real estate company.

State's real estate data could protect homebuyers

The Sun's articles on the practice of real estate "flipping" described home buyers paying far above market value for their houses ("Housing prices soar, sometimes in a day," Aug. 1; "Fraud fight in housing stepped up," Aug. 3).

Using public records may help prospective homebuyers avoid such fraudulent real estate transactions.

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation is the state's largest provider of real estate data.

We estimate the market value of each property every three years and record all real estate sales.

The public can view our data through the Internet at www.data.state.md.us or by visiting our local assessment offices. From these sources, a buyer can review our estimates of market value and research recent property sales in any neighborhood.

Properties typically sell at prices close to our estimates. If a house is priced far in excess of our values, a prospective buyer should find out why.

Ronald W. Wineholt, Baltimore

The writer is director of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Sen. McCain was right to avoid Iowa vote bazaar

I think the most sensible of all the Republican contenders for president is Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who did not attend the Iowa straw vote ("Counting straws in America's farm belt," Aug. 18).

Mr. McCain displayed beautiful American common sense by not participating in a circus where a Republican billionaire and a Republican millionaire competed to buy an election.

Robert S. Knatz Jr., Reisterstown

`Zero tolerance' policy wouldn't help Baltimore

In The Sun's article "Candidates plot strategy for drug battle" (Aug. 15), we are told that mayoral candidates City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III and Councilman Martin O'Malley, "both favor zero tolerance, a strategy based on aggressive policing that has reduced violent crime in cities such as New York and Cleveland."

As a supporter of mayoral candidate A. Robert Kaufman, I believe "zero tolerance" would not be good for Maryland. Crime began to decrease in New York City during the administration that preceded Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's implementation of "zero tolerance."

"Zero tolerance" is also responsible for New York's rise in police brutality, which doesn't seem like a good pill for Baltimore to have to swallow.

Scott Loughrey, Baltimore

Ministers for Stokes, accountants for Bell?

The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, which is presumably devoted to truth, has endorsed a liar, Carl Stokes, for mayor ("Ministerial Alliance gives Stokes boost with endorsement," Aug. 13).

Perhaps a group of accountants will now endorse City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III.

Paul Slepian, Baltimore

Mayoral debate will shed light on issues, not tactics

All of us at WBAL-TV appreciate The Sun's recognition of our efforts to bring the issues of Baltimore's mayoral race to the community we serve ("Notes and Comments," Aug. 15).

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