State efforts to save environment lead way to a greener...


April 22, 2001

State efforts to save environment lead way to a greener future

The state is leading by example with "green" design and construction and the procurement of green energy for state-owned buildings. Gov. Parris N. Glendening's executive order setting a new Maryland green standard points toward more environmentally sound facilities and requires energy-saving features in new state facilities and those the state leases.

However, Michael Dresser's article on green buildings mistakenly identified the former Montgomery Ward facility in Southwest Baltimore as a green building developed by the state ("Senate OKs tax credits for `greener' buildings," April 7).

The developers for this high-tech office center are Samuel K. Himmelrich Jr. and David F. Tufaro. The state will lease 262,300 square feet of space for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) headquarters.

The Montgomery Park lease, procured by the Maryland Department of General Services for the MDE, includes extensive use of green-building techniques, including recycled materials and water conservation systems as well as a state-of-the-art energy-monitoring system.

Reduced wattage lighting, occupancy and light-level sensors and an ice-pond cooling system will contribute to this location having the lowest energy consumption of any facility in the state's inventory.

State government has a responsibility to maximize its resources and minimize the impact on the environment.

We, too, applaud the developers of Montgomery Park -- for with this exciting project, they are helping us do just that.

Peta N. Richkus


The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of General Services.

No-bid contract shows city must manage funds better

First, Mayor Martin O'Malley grants pay raises to the highest-paid city employees. Then, City Council President Sheila Dixon gives a no-bid contract to her campaign aide for work that allegedly could have been accomplished through an existing contract ("No-bid pact pays Dixon aide $95 an hour," April 12).

And the mayor and city council president are calling for tax increases and layoffs of city workers.

No wonder people are leaving Baltimore. The ordinary person can't afford to live here any more.

It is past time for those in charge to exercise fiscal responsibility.

Eve E. Prietz


As a Baltimore resident, I am angered at the City Council President Sheila Dixon computer-guru saga.

How ironic that Dale Clarke's firm gets a whopping $95 an hour when the work might be done for 25 percent less, while Mayor Martin O'Malley is looking to "boost city revenues" because of the budget deficit ("Mayor to ask for boost in city revenue," April 12).

While I applaud Mr. O'Malley's attempts at tighter management, it is very clear there is still much work to do on oversight of how our tax dollars are spent.

Rita Mastroianni


Budget lacks funds for better transportation in Baltimore

The mayor's improved cache from the state legislature should not result in the unqualified praise given in Tom Pelton's article "Assembly smiles on city as O'Malley learns lessons" (April 11).

I don't see a cent going to improve transit in Baltimore City, where it is most needed. But I do see $5 million in state funds devoted to building an interchange at the old Montgomery Ward building and Interstate 95.

This comes at a time when the legislature already cut $30 million in transit funds from the governor's original transit proposals and after President Bush's announced budget cuts that will particularly affect transit projects.

The mayor should be pressed hard to explain the need for another interchange on I-95 when the light rail-system languishes with one track and broken ticket machines (shoving paper money in during a rainstorm is a Sisyphean ordeal).

The new interchange will benefit citizens from the counties who wish to get out of Baltimore faster, rather than residents of Baltimore City without cars.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.


What's wrong with making traffic move more slowly?

J.H. Snider seems to think it is bad policy for neighborhoods to erect traffic-calming devices or privatize streets, as it would (heaven forbid) slow down traffic and create gridlock ("Time for policy to end gridlock on streets," Opinion

Commentary, April 12).

It appears to me that his only con- cern is getting to his destination faster, pedestrians and other motorists be damned.

On my street, at residents' request, Anne Arundel County has installed speed humps.

A person doing the speed limit (25 miles per hour) doesn't even need to slow down for them. The only ones inconvenienced are those speeding.

So what's Mr. Snider's point? That he should be allowed to zip through residential neighborhoods even though there are kids playing and people pushing babies in stroller? Maybe he's only driving through our neighborhood, but we live here.

Instead of building more thoroughfares, perhaps we need to build better-planned communities that aren't dominated by automotive transportation.

Peter Olsen


The city needs to do more to combat crime and drugs

The crime rate has dropped somewhat, but that is not good enough.

Just a month ago an officer was killed in the eastern district of Baltimore. My dad works in the eastern district as a police officer, and I am scared of anything happening to him. There have been five officers killed in the past year, and I think something needs to be done.

I think more officers need to be stationed in the city and there should be more done to eliminate drugs, violence and underage drinking.

If more is done, fewer people will be hurt or killed, especially police officers.

Erin Krause


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