Baltimore County's east side benefited from many...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 26, 2000

Baltimore County's east side benefited from many projects

Jackie Nickel made some erroneous and misleading statements regarding Essex and Middle River and eastern Baltimore County in her July 13 letter ("Baltimore County's east side recipient of many rotten apples").

She stated that all the east side got were a sewerage treatment plant, low-income apartments and MTO relocations.

The Back River Wastewater Treatment plant was built in 1903 when the area was a remote marsh surrounding Baltimore City. The low-income apartments were built to house workers at Martin Aircraft during World War II and others were built as middle-income apartments in the 1960s.

As far as Moving To Opportunity, that was a federal government program put together by former President George Bush. No one moved to Essex and Middle River as a result of it.

Baltimore County and state governments have spent $800 million on the east side of Baltimore County during the past six years.

Baltimore County invested $5 million for a new Essex Elementary School, $5 million for a new Martin Boulevard Elementary School, $8 million for Kenwood High School renovations, $650,000 for Hawthorne Elementary renovations and $1.5 million for the Altenburg regional park.

It spent $5 million for street renovations on Eastern Boulevard, $15 million to purchase the Tall Trees Apartment complex (4,800 police calls per year), $1.5 million to demolish the Riverdale Apartments (5,000 police calls per year), $2 million to purchase the Shapiro property in Back River Neck as an environmental area, $5 million for a new Earls Road bridge, $2 million for the Dundee-Saltpeter nature center, $30 million for new sewer construction in the waterfront communities, etc.

The tough job will be to get elected officials from other parts of the county to continue to support these revitalization efforts on the east side after they read this letter.

Vincent J. Gardina, Towson

The writer represents the 5th District on the Baltimore County Council.

County condemnation bill violates property rights

I am clearly on record in strong philosophical opposition to Senate Bill 509, which I view as an unconstitutional violation of the right of individuals to be secure in their private property. I signed and collected signatures on the petition to put this bill to referendum.

I was therefore concerned to read in your July 20 article an ineptly worded sentence that could create the impression that I was "holding out hope that [C.A. Dutch] Ruppersberger could emerge victorious if the county government out-organizes its opposition" ("Ruppersberger's support at risk in land seizures").

It would have been accurate to state that I expressed concern that this was a possible outcome if the opponents of the bill do not wage a major countywide education campaign.

Baltimore County voters must understand that this is a significant broadening of the county's authority to condemn property under eminent domain.

Clearly, I hope that the citizens overturn this bad bill when they go to the polls in November.

Ellen R. Sauerbrey, Baldwin

MTA Cold Spring parking lot plans minimum disruption

It was dismaying to read Myles Hoenig's inaccurate characterization of the Mass Transit Administration's plan to construct a parking lot at the Cold Spring light rail station as an "assault on the environment" ("Save city's greenery," July 17).

The MTA has worked hard to balance the need for parking along the light rail line with the need to protect the Jones Falls watershed. The design presented to the community accomplishes both goals.

The new lot will mostly occupy the current site of a gigantic, unused natural gas storage tank that has blighted the valley for nearly 70 years. This means that barely 11 percent of the area has trees on it today.

The facility will include innovative bioretention ponds to treat runoff. It will be available for anyone who wants to enjoy walking and biking in the valley along the future Jones Falls Greenway.

The new parking lot will supplement overflowing lots at the Mount Washington and Falls Road stations, and give the option to ride light rail to dozens of additional communities. I am certain that expanding these lots would be far more disruptive to the watershed and surrounding communities.

The MTA has worked with community representatives on this project for over a year, and we welcome any community input on this or any other project.

Henry M. Kay, Baltimore

The writer is director of MTA's Office of Planning and Statewide Transit.

Traitor Pollard mercenary, not foreign secret agent

Jonathan Pollard is a U.S. citizen who betrayed his country by selling extensive and extraordinarily damaging military secrets to a foreign government. He sold them for money.

His treasonous acts put our military personnel, and our nation's interests, in greater peril. Few high crimes are more repugnant. ("Is Jonathan Pollard a Camp David bargaining chip?" July 14)

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