Clean air victory will also foster a cleaner bay The...


March 19, 2001

Clean air victory will also foster a cleaner bay

The Supreme Court decision upholding the Clean Air Act is indeed good news for the region ("Clearing the air," editorial, March 2). Marylanders will breathe more easily now that more aggressive action will be taken to stop air pollution.

What many Marylanders may not know is that stopping air pollution is also good for the Chesapeake Bay's health. A quarter of all the nitrogen pollution that destroys underwater grass beds and suffocates fish in the bay comes from the air, much from sources as far away as Ohio.

The solution to the region's air pollution problem should not come from the government alone. Since vehicles are the second-leading airborne source (after utilities) of nitrogen oxides in the Chesapeake region, we can all play a role by driving less and driving more fuel-efficient cars.

Clearing the air means cleaning the bay.

Michael Hirshfield


The writer is vice president for resource protection of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Cut city's wasteful spending to help fund our libraries

The Sun rarely departs from its support for tax increases. Yet, in its editorial "Pratfalls to navigate for city library"(March 9), it proposes -- as an alternative to adequate funding for the Enoch Pratt Free Library --that officials step up their dependence on corporate Baltimore's generosity.

The Pratt might well be city taxpayers' best bargain. However, for the past decade, threats of branch closings, layoffs, reduced hours and zero book budgets have been regular occurrences. Just as predictable has been the lip service given to the Pratt by politicians and The Sun.

Tax increases should be the last resort. What should be considered is the reining in of those extravagant expenditures The Sun has often documented in city agencies that neither qualify as a "city jewel" nor constitute part of the "community's soul."

The savings should allow the Pratt to fulfill its intended functions and perhaps assume some of the non-literary responsibilities others keep trying to foist upon it.

Strephon Johnson


Expanding library services could fight city's crime

While I agree that crime and drugs are a major concern for the people of Baltimore, attention must also be focused on alternative endeavors for our young people. Closing libraries is not the answer.

We have been guilty of under-utilizing the libraries we have, but their potential as educational and cultural havens for our youths is enormous.

Let's expand libraries' weekend hours, expand computer access and expand reading-related and career-training education programs, for young and old alike.

If we can find a way to develop libraries' potential, it may negate the future need for a high-priced war on crime.

Leslie Beard


Hold landlords accountable for allowing drug activity

I agree with the Maryland Court of Appeals decision overruling a holding that allowed a property used as a drug front to be razed ("Court rejects razing drug houses," March 3). Many illegal drug activities occur in homes where small children and grandmothers live, and razing the buildings would only displace them.

But new legislation is needed that would impose heavy fines on owners of properties proven to be fronts for drug activity. Such a law should hold landlords and management companies accountable for activities in their buildings, but also offer a way for landlords to evict individuals engaging in such activities.

It is irresponsible for landlords to say they don't know what happens on their property when they're collecting rent each month. Imposing heavy fines might entice their curiosity.

One fine of $1,000 could provide 100 addicts with a shot of methadone.

Karen A. Callahan

Ellicott City

A continuing effort to bring city crime-fighting resources

The Sun's thoughtful editorial "Spike in killings must be contained" (March 4) asked that I "advocate more federal involvement in the prosecution of important drug-related murder cases."

Permit me to say that I believe I already have. In December 1999, I offered full support for a proposal to bring additional U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency resources to Baltimore for enhanced investigation and prosecution of drug-related murders and other violence.

This effort, now as then, should be accompanied by increased drug assessment and treatment funding, as part of a full-court press.

These issues will be raised again, in due course, in connection with an overall review of federal law enforcement here.

Robert L. Ehrlich


The writer represents the 2nd District in the House of Representatives.

Don't presume to define the meaning of abortion

The recent letter "It's time to tell the truth: Abortion is simply murder" (March 10) asked, "Isn't it past time for The Sun to accurately state what abortion is?"

I must ask if the writer is qualified to define, for all humanity, exactly what the word "abortion" means?

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