Scorning legislation to clean state's waters isn't good...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 20, 2002

Scorning legislation to clean state's waters isn't good government

How disappointing that the chairman of the state's House Environmental Matters Committee suggests he did not even look at bills that would have raised fines for polluting our water before voting to kill them ("House panel kills 2 environmental bills," March 13).

Since the bills would have raised Maryland's fines to the same levels imposed by Pennsylvania and Delaware, the House's decision invites polluters to discharge their waste in Maryland's rivers and streams rather than in the waters of neighboring states.

This decision, along with those to kill funding for recycling and to clean up illegal garbage dumps, is not good government.

Once again, the economic gain of business has been placed before the good of the people. But that gain will likely be outweighed by the loss to Maryland taxpayers, who will bear the future expense of cleaning up the polluted waterways.

It's much more economical to prevent pollution than to clean up rivers and streams that have been polluted.

Kristen A. Burger

Monkton

Screening flight personnel is a proper precaution

The writer of the letter "Proposed background check for flight students goes too far" (March 11) objected strenuously to two proposed bills before the Maryland House that would require background and criminal checks on commercial pilots, ground crews and related airport positions, as well as screening and fingerprinting of all current and future private pilots.

The writer refers to these proposals as "bizarre," since no commercial or general aviation pilots have engaged in terrorism.

I retired after a 40-year career in intelligence, counter-intelligence and security, and such naivetM-i completely astounds me.

The writer has forgotten that a bomb or weapon can be placed on an aircraft by someone other than a passenger. Any individual with access to an aircraft can sabotage it and must be properly screened.

The old "better safe than sorry" approach is mandatory, rather than "bizarre," in coping with modern terrorism.

William G. Volenick

Ellicott City

Time for Ashcroft, Ridge to turn to the real issues

It is time for U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge to get off their conservative high horses and desist from the sanctimonious language, draping of statuary and playing with color codes ("U.S. to offer states a five-level, color-coded terror warning system," March 12) -- and get down to real work on the people's business.

Rafe Pilgrim

Baltimore

Massachusetts' gun laws help reduce murder rate

Susan Reimer told us about Christie Caywood, a college student new to Massachusetts who formed a Second Amendment Sisters chapter at Mount Holyoke College ("An armed campus: the goal of a new generation of woman activists," March 3).

But the Second Amendment debate is irrelevant. Courts at all levels have established that states have the constitutional right to restrict and limit access to guns under the Second Amendment and no state unduly limits law-abiding citizens' access to guns.

Ms. Caywood should know that Massachusetts, which has gun licensing and registration, has severely reduced the homicide rate among young people and has the lowest gun-death rate in the country, at 3.1 per 100,000 residents.

The Massachusetts gun laws have resulted in accountability of gun owners and enhanced law enforcement by police.

Fred Davis

Pasadena

The writer is president of the education fund of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse.

Like all citizens, priests must be held accountable

Clergy may answer to a higher calling but it appears some don't have to answer to a higher authority -- the government.

I find it reprehensible that some priests have been recycled, so to speak, without any regard to the consequences. Priests are citizens and, as such, should not fall under some special cloak of religiosity. But who is holding them accountable? Obviously not the church officials.

As a teacher with more than 20 years of experience, I know firsthand that children are our most vulnerable citizens. They need our protection.

Barbara Blumberg

Baltimore

We did need to investigate Clinton's misdeeds

"Did we need this?" The Sun asked about the Clinton investigations (editorial, March 9). You bet your life we did. Seventy million dollars for historical accuracy that aptly defines a person who dishonored his high office is money well spent.

The case was not just about a failed land deal, as The Sun would have us believe, but rather about the nation's highest law enforcement officer committing perjury while attempting to deny a citizen her day in court.

His forced confession and his personal disgrace and disbarment will serve well in discouraging revisionists from rehabilitating one of the more depraved persons to occupy the presidency.

Richard Nixon had his Watergate and now, because of this investigation, posterity will know about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

J.L. Bishop Jr.

Monkton

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