Detention center railroaded by Ruppersberger Your...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 18, 2000

Detention center railroaded by Ruppersberger

Your article extolling County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger's management style ("Towson jail plan is show of power," July 13) left me, and I'm sure many of my neighbors, livid.

While it may be true that Mr. Ruppersberger is a good manager, the way the county detention center expansion plan was railroaded through, with very little consultation with neighborhood leaders (essentially after the fact), was hardly a good example of representative government.

We residents of Riderwood Hills take pride in our neighborhood, and the last thing we need here is more traffic on Kenilworth Drive, which already has much more traffic than it can handle, or which it was ever designed to handle.

We are already dealing with congestion, noise, excessive speed and the rumbling of Mass Transit Administration buses that shake houses along Kenilworth Drive to their foundations.

This proposed prison expansion can only serve to add to the deterioration of the quality of life in our community, and is a further example of the continuing trend of urbanization that is epidemic in the Baltimore suburbs.

I urge all informed voters to vote against this plan in November when the time comes to borrow the money to finance it.

Kevin Cardiff

Towson

The writer is a member of the Riderwood Hills Community Association.

Troopers use cars off-duty but provide valuable services

The July 7 letter from Marty Silvert accused Maryland state troopers of getting a "free ride" and lying to the public about their off-duty use of patrol cars. He obviously has no idea about the public services troopers provide while using their cars off-duty.

Off-duty use is a benefit and a privilege, but it does not come without restriction or obligation. Each time troopers use a car off duty, they must be armed, must notify the local barracks they are in the car and, most importantly, must take appropriate police action on any situation they encounter. This includes traffic enforcement, assisting disabled motorists, or responding to assist with serious calls for police service in the area through which they are traveling.

Each day, people across our state benefit from off-duty troopers who assist them or take other police action. The action troopers take while off-duty is on their own time. They are serving for free and are not reimbursed.

Because of this policy, troopers are able to drive their patrol cars to and from their duty assignments. Coupled with troopers using their cars off-duty, there is a greater police presence on our highways and in our communities. This does have a deterrent effect -- on traffic violators and criminals contemplating where their next crime will be committed.

Yes, our troopers drive their cars to and from work and sometimes off-duty. But in doing so, they face risks. Off-duty use by Maryland state troopers is one of the best returns taxpayers will ever receive on their investment.

David B. Mitchell

Pikesville

The writer is superintendent of Maryland State Police.

Taxpayers forced to pay for Delaware absurdity

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say taxpayers should be held responsible for the idiocy of government officials, local, state or national.

Why should American taxpayers foot the bill to rebuild a beach in South Bethany, Del., because a few misguided city officials allowed houses to be built on their dunes years ago("Sands of Delaware slipping away," July 3)?

The owners of those houses have been fighting the rising tide since Day One of construction and they knowingly took a risk. A good northeaster or a hurricane will wipe them out for sure. Of course, then they will want the taxpayers to help them rebuild.

It would be cheaper in the long run, and more sensible, to condemn the properties, compensate the owners and haul the houses away.

Then the dunes can be rebuilt (Why not use the dredge from the harbor?) and nature may takes its course, as it always does.

Sharon B. Wharton

Baltimore

City workers can get raise if they join police department

Our hats are off to Mayor Martin O'Malley for showing the courage of his convictions in offering the pay raise for Baltimore police officers.

As for other municipal employees hoping to cash in on taxpayer largesse by riding on the coattails of someone else's effort, the solution is really quite simple.

The mayor's office should make every effort to see that all municipal employees are put at the top of the list of applicants who wish to apply, train or transfer to the police department, and afford themselves the opportunity to earn a share of any additional monies that may be available.

When they pass the hat, put an application in it. Nothing could be more fair.

B. David Quinn

Sparks

Protect roadless forest from logging, destruction

I was glad to see The Sun's coverage of the U.S. Forest Service's draft proposal for protecting pristine wilderness areas ("Proposal would ban road-building in vast areas of forest," May 10).

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