Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 25, 2004

Higher density oversaturates parts of county

Most Baltimore Countians would probably agree that it is wise to conserve our northern farmland ("Farms vs. houses in the rural north," Jan. 18). But at what cost?

Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of 1,000 Friends of Maryland, believes that "the county should concentrate on creating a mix of housing types in growth centers." These are code words for apartments, townhouses and other high-density projects.

For the past two decades, Perry Hall and Owings Mills have borne the brunt of development so that northern Baltimore County can be preserved as a rural sanctuary. Our growth areas are oversaturated with apartments and townhouses.

Thankfully, Baltimore County changed its zoning policy in the mid-1990s to allow larger homes in the Perry Hall area.

Not only is this fairer for residents who have already had their share of high-density development, but it is also a smart development strategy. It grows Baltimore County's tax base. It keeps families closer to established growth centers, and is complementary to the way many people want to live.

Should the farms in northern Baltimore County be saved? Absolutely. But not by forcing people in Perry Hall and Owings Mills to have more apartments and townhouses.

David Marks

Baltimore

The writer is a former president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association.

Drop the doctors who cause rate hikes

Doctors complain that they are being squeezed by rising malpractice rates ("Doctors rally today about malpractice premiums," Jan. 21). But rather than look to cap the awards to victims, why don't doctors demand that their insurance carriers stop providing coverage to physicians who have been sued over and over again for errors?

In Maryland, we allow doctors to practice who have been found responsible for multiple instances of malpractice. The cost of insuring these doctors (which is very high) is borne by all doctors.

If these multiple offenders were simply not covered, everyone's rates would come down, as would the commission of malpractice.

Sarah Z. Taylor

Towson

Limiting damages punishes the victims

It is understandable that doctors are frustrated in the face of rising costs. But looking to place further limits on what victims of medical malpractice can recover isn't the way to bring down their costs ("Physicians protest cost of insurance," Jan. 22).

Malpractice victims are rarely gold-digging. The vast majority of plaintiffs have medical outcomes none of us would want for ourselves or our loved ones.

Imposing further limits on the recoveries allowed to these victims, when we already have a damage cap in place, would not lower malpractice premiums. What it would do is penalize the injured.

Why not bring down malpractice rates by cutting medical errors?

Mike Oettel

Baltimore

Freezing grants is foolish, wrong

The Sun's editorial "Out in the cold" (Jan. 20) was much-needed.

I am a social worker who worked in Baltimore for 10 years (until 2002) doing outreach to homeless adults who have serious mental illnesses. Receiving Transitional Emergency Medical and Housing Assistance (TEMHA) benefits often meant the difference between surviving and not surviving for these people.

For Maryland to save $5 million by freezing this program's barely subsistence grants is unconscionable. It is also fiscally foolhardy.

Our state leaders need to rethink their priorities. Surely, the wealth of Maryland can fund this program.

Yvonne Perret

Cumberland

State job for lobbyist is unseemly affair

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s hiring of a former member of the House of Delegates and lobbyist for a variety of Maryland horse racing interests is more than a little unseemly ("Veteran lobbyist for track owner joins Ehrlich to help push slots," Jan. 21).

Many people have seen the development of slot machine facilities predominantly as a way to benefit those who control horse racing, with the state as a secondary recipient of revenues.

For the governor to hire an industry lobbyist to champion a position that will benefit his previous employers (and his friends) is redolent of another area familiar to the horse racing world - the stable.

Aaron I. Schneiderman

Baltimore

Telescope provides insight on universe

The most dangerous president in American history has now taken both the joy and the intelligence out of space exploration with his megalomaniacal dictate that we send people to Mars.

Sometime in the future, we may well feel the excitement of human feet on another planet. But we hope that is not before we know what it is we're going to see and why, and that takes science - science such as the Hubble Space Telescope is giving us ("Scientists mourn early demise of Hubble," Jan. 21).

We receive more scientific knowledge about the universe from the Hubble in one day than we would from manned expeditions in a month. But then, we have a president who believes he already knows what the universe is all about.

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