Explore alternatives to open-bay dumping of port's...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 01, 2000

Explore alternatives to open-bay dumping of port's dredge spoil

The Sun's editorial "Bay channels needed for city port to thrive," (March 18) concurred with state Transportation Secretary John Porcari's statement that the decision open-water dumping at Site 104 "should be based on science."

Since when has the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers produced highly regarded information, much less good science?

The corps is an engineering body; it likes immediate, man-made projects. Many of those projects have, to say the least, overlooked long-term impacts.

For instance, almost a billion dollars, much of it taxpayers' money, is being spent to reverse the corps' channelizing of a Florida river, which helped cause damaging water-drainage changes in the Everglades.

Indeed a March 21 Sun headline states: "Corps of Engineers to investigate doctored-data charge."

It is my understanding that reform of the Army Corps of Engineers is underway. This will be extremely welcome.

But in the meantime, be sure to look at who is making these so called good scientific pronouncements about dumping dredged spoil in open water, particularly in a semi-contained bay.

Solidifying solutions are possible; they're expensive, but possible in these economically flush times.

Maryland has been a model for containment of dredged material in the past.

It could show the way with innovative solutions to the disposal of dredged spoil, just as it has with innovative concepts about smart growth.

Ellen H. Kelly, Baltimore

Saving jobs is important to Baltimore, as is having Baltimore become a major port again.

But how does the dredging the C&D Canal and the Port of Baltimore benefit the bay, the watermen and the ecosystems dependent on our not dumping any more filth in the bay?

It is to the city's advantage -- and really not to anyone else's --that these projects be completed.

As a resident of the ever-provincial Eastern Shore, I feel irritated enough to call for The Sun to offer alternatives that involve Baltimore and its suburbs.

Why not build a factory to make brick from dredge spoil? How about dumping in your backyard?

Why not make it your problem also?

Marc Castelli, Chestertown

GOP did what it could to promote open primary

I take strong exception to The Sun's comment that "the state Republican Party has put a lid on drumming up interest among independents"("Independents can vote!" editorial, March 5).

I believe The Sun should compliment the Republican Party for allowing independents to vote in this year's primary election in an effort to broaden voting interest.

The Democratic Party did not offer the same opportunity to independents.

And, contrary to The Sun's comments, the Republican Party did aggressively promote the fact that Independents could vote in its March primary.

Party chairman Richard E. Bennett was on Maryland Public Television, on radio talk shows and wrote letters to editors, including one to The Sun ("Independent voters can participate in Republican primary," Feb. 26) regarding this matter. Papers throughout the state have publicized this fact.

Mr. Bennett and other party leaders, including myself, not only took the bold step of including independent voters in our elections this year, but promoted this concept within the limited financial resources available to us .

Richard E. Hug, Baltimore

The writer is Finance chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.

Community efforts create a safe place for kids to play

I want to thank The Sun for its fine article on the greatly improved situation at the playground of the Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School ("Crime at bay, pupils play," March 16).

The police presence there has indeed made a difference. And it is encouraging to see what happens when community groups work together to improve a neighborhood.

In this case, thanks go to the Baltimore police, the Police Athletic League, the school, its parents and the Head Start and Child First programs -- all of which have helped this to be a safe playground.

Lynette Anderson, Baltimore

Editor's note: Ms. Anderson wrote this letter the day before she died on March 22.

Don't blame the courts and prosecutors for crime

The Sun and Mayor Martin O'Malley are wrong to treat the courts and state's attorneys as primarily responsible for crime control in Baltimore City.

According to a special committee of the American Bar Association, 91 percent of serious crimes go without an arrest.

It is irrational to treat prosecutors and judges -- who have influence on about 9 percent of serious crimes -- as the primary problem, as The Sun has done in its months-long, highly public campaign.

The mayor and his police department have a far larger share of the responsibility for crime control than do the courts and prosecutors. People who fail to report crimes also contribute to the problem.

Still, people are right to insist that courts and prosecutors pursue justice diligently and consistently.

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