Time to get serious about water-use limits and region's...


August 27, 1999

Time to get serious about water-use limits and region's drought

The Sun's article "Businesses ask state to ease water rules" (Aug. 17) indicated that sod farmers, swimming pool companies and golf courses want the same exceptions to water-use restrictions the governor gave to car wash businesses.

They properly point out that they have employees whose jobs could be lost, just as the car washes do.

I won't be surprised if the governor gives them the exceptions they want -- as they have the potential to hire lobbyists and make big political contributions.

But before the governor gives away more of our precious water, he needs to explain why I can't wash my car, but can pay a company to do it.

Why I can't water my lawn, but someone who just bought sod will be able to water his or her yard.

Why my neighbor who has a small wading pool can't fill it for a child, but my other neighbor who has a large in-ground pool serviced by a pool company can have his pool filled.

Why golf courses deserve a break from the restrictions -- other than that golf is the favored game of the wealthy and politically connected.

Is this drought a real emergency, or is it only real for those who lack the money to pay lobbyists and make large political contributions?

Anita Heygster


For eight years I lived in Los Angeles, where water conservation was a given and water bills could become outrageous.

This is unheard of in Baltimore, where water is so cheap most people don't even think about its cost. Higher water rates might give people some pause when they let the water run.

Perhaps the rates could rise only for customers who exceed average use and old rates could return after the crisis is over.

For now, I'm watering my potted plants with bath and dehumidifier water. I'm happy to let my yard go brown, as it takes less mowing and saves money.

But I do worry about the fertilizers that will be dumped on lawns when drought restrictions are lifted.

Those poisons will end up in streams and the bay. We should be considering the potentially hazardous by-products of the drought now.

Perhaps the only good that will come out of this devastating drought is that people will stop taking our most precious natural resource for granted.

Susan C. Ingram


Shark near Havre de Grace shows the bay's vitality

The Sun's front-page article about the bay's high salt level and three young boys who caught a two-foot dusky shark near Havre de Grace points to the bay's good health ("Saltier, warmer bay lures new fish," Aug. 19).

However, the shark they caught is a species protected by federal guidelines. And it was two and one-half feet too short to be kept, even if it were a legal species.

The article also noted that the shark was sold for $30 and stuffed. The sale of sharks by persons not holding a commercial fishing license is illegal.

But to know these things, the young men would have had to sift through more than 1,000 pages of regulations contained in four volumes of the "Final Fisheries Management Plan" the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published in April.

That agency will happily send anyone a copy of the regulations, free for the asking. But don't expect it to fit in your pocket or tackle box.

Wayne Croft


A bookstore forced from 25th St. by CVS

As a board member of the Baltimore News Network, which operates BNN Books, I have followed the debate on the letters page regarding building a CVS drug store at 25th and Charles streets.

It was puzzling to read in the letter from Steve Johanson, co-owner of Kelmscott Books, that "no bookstores were forced out by CVS" (" `Book Block' campaign creating some confusion," July 31).

BNN Books was indeed forced to leave, so that a developer could demolish 10 buildings and replace them with a drugstore. BNN Books opened at 12 W. 25th Street in Feb. 1993. About a year later, it moved to 10 W. 25th, where we remained until this June 15.

I do not think the neighborhood needs another drugstore. More importantly, the Charles Village community was given limited opportunity to participate in a dialogue with those intent on demolition.

It seems representatives of CVS Stores Inc., under pressure, acquiesced to meet with community members who wanted to present an alternative proposal. However, I do not believe CVS ever intended to consider that proposal seriously.

While the storefront on 25th Street awaits the wreckers' ball, BNN Books is still in business. Visit our booth at the Baltimore Book Festival Sept. 26.

Susan DeFrancesco


Abortion is a crime, not a cure for crime

Recent articles in The Sun and other publications have featured a theory by a University of Chicago economist, Steven Levitt, and a Stanford University law professor, John Donohue III, which argues that abortion reduces crime rates ("Abortion, crime linked in study," Aug. 9).

This is preposterous. No matter how the issue is camouflaged, abortion is murder of the unborn child and it should not be tolerated in any civilized society.

George T. Murray


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