Letters To The Editor


March 12, 2004

Most at hearing backed the plan to cut gridlock

The Sun's article "Transportation plan by Ehrlich in trouble" (March 5) described the hearing on Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s transportation revenue package, noting that the plan is "in trouble."

I must have attended the wrong hearing, since the testimony I heard indicated strong support for Mr. Ehrlich's plan to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund.

The hearing that I attended included more than 20 witnesses from diverse backgrounds who supported the legislation.

Here is a partial list of organizations that urged the General Assembly to pass the plan: the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Maryland Highway Contractors Association, the Maryland Association of Counties and numerous safety advocates from around the state. Only four witnesses opposed the plan.

Speaker after speaker applauded Mr. Ehrlich for working to get millions of Marylanders out of gridlock.

The Sun owed its readers a fairer story about this important legislation.

John W. E. Cluster


The writer represents the 8th District in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Unfair to tax people who don't use sewers

The Sun's editorial "Don't flush this tax" (March 8) contained at least one major error. Homeowners with septic system are not "billed" for using these systems. Rather, homeowners pay several thousand dollars to install their own system and, therefore, "bill" themselves.

I think that most people agree that everyone needs to do what he or she can to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. But for the state to assess "user fees" to those homeowners who do not use public sewage treatment services is preposterous. Or is the state planning to direct these "user fees" to private homeowners so that they may repair or replace their septic systems?

P. Gregory Williams


Phone service ruling will hurt consumers

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals' rejection of the Federal Communications Commission's decision giving states more authority to determine which companies may offer local phone service strikes a harsh blow to struggling consumers and small businesses ("Court bars FCC rules on phone service," March 3). Furthermore, I believe it will create a digital abyss where there was once a digital divide.

This ruling will raise prices for telephone and Internet services, and drive small telecommunications businesses - the ones most likely to cater to African-American communities and students - out of the marketplace.

Eight years ago, Congress passed a law that was intended to bring real, honest and fair competition to local phone service. Since that time, Verizon, the major local phone service provider in Maryland, has tried to undercut the law.

But everyone deserves the benefits of a competitive marketplace, including choice of provider, lower rates and better service.

G. I. Johnson


The writer is president of the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Curb patronage in financial aid

As a taxpaying citizen of Maryland, I`m outraged to read that a portion of the $11 million from the legislative scholarship program is given out to students from politically connected families by our elected officials ("Financial aid based on potential or patronage?" March 7).

Now that Maryland needs money for education, it is time to end this program.

Louis Konopacki


Scholarship funding a penny-ante matter

When I began reading the front-page article in the Sunday Sun exposing alleged impropriety in political patronage, I though that this was going to be a major scandal ("Financial aid based on potential or patronage?" March 7).

But it really must have been a slow week for news, as it turned out that some of the examples involved very small sums of money, some in the range of $200 to $400.

These sums are definitely not the kind of spending that deserve the ire of taxpayers or attention on the front page of the newspaper.

In my estimation, The Sun has not proved anything except that it needs to work harder to gather facts if it wants to prove a point.

Martie A. Silvert


Out-of-control judges defy the public will

Let me get this straight: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who violated no known law, defies an illegal court order to remove the Ten Commandments from the courthouse, and he is stripped of his office. Yet the mayor of San Francisco defies settled state and moral laws, and our judiciary refuses to issue an injunction to stop him ("Backing same-sex marriage," March 8)?

And in Massachusetts, we have a judiciary telling the legislature how to do its job, in essence legislating from the bench. Does anyone recall the separation of powers?

Does this not speak volumes about an out-of-control judiciary whose activism defies the Constitution, the will of the people and the Bible?

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