Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 15, 2004

Smart Growth expands options for a place to live

In "Maryland's fastest-growing suburbs get farther from cities" (April 9), anti-Smart Growth activist Randal O'Toole argues that suburban growth on the outer fringes of metropolitan areas provides people with more choices of where to live.

I disagree.

By building on the suburban fringe, home-builders, in fact, limit the choices available to families looking for an affordable place to live and cause them to spend inordinate amounts of time driving to and from the city on which they depend for their livelihoods.

Those who would rather have a spacious "great room" than live in denser, close-in neighborhoods may understand the true cost of their decision this summer, when the price of gasoline may climb to an all-time high.

By encouraging new development in existing communities, improving mass transit as well as roads and allowing people to live near their work, Smart Growth broadens people's choices of dwelling type, community type and transportation mode.

Unlike unmitigated sprawl, Smart Growth is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. And, contrary to the claims of Mr. O'Toole, many families would indeed prefer to live in dense, walkable communities.

Robert J. Kogan

Washington

Misery index reflects squeeze families face

John Kerry's recently released "Middle-Class Misery Index" is right on the mark, clearly showing the failure of President Bush's economic policies ("In economic attack on president, Kerry issues `misery index,'" April 12).

My family, like millions of others, is being squeezed by rising prices and stagnating salaries.

And even though I have two children, I did not get a cent back from Mr. Bush's so-called tax cuts.

Yet I face escalating college costs and record-high gasoline prices, and my daughter and son, and their children, will be paying off the federal debt - which has skyrocketed since Mr. Bush took office - for decades to come.

Peter B. Levy

Towson

Septic fee trivializes the state's tax code

I am opposed to the new tax on septic tank users for two reasons ("Lawmakers compromise on `flush tax,'" April 11).

It creates inefficiency that will dilute the usefulness of the tax. There is already a tax collecting organization in Maryland. This new tax will create the need for a new agency to monitor and collect this tax along with a lot more paperwork. The flush tax is supposed to help the environment, not generate more trash.

This tax sets a dangerous precedent of arbitrary and trivial taxation. What's next, a tax to help prevent crime levied on people who own doors?

If you want to raise taxes to pay for something, fine, but please do it in the most efficient way possible - add it to the income tax and don't create a new program to manage every tax.

David Plaut

Reisterstown

Democrats identify a new way to tax us

I've always said that if you show me a Democrat, I'll show you someone who will find a way to tax the pants off of you.

With the inclusion of septic systems in the "flush tax," they've gone one step further ("Lawmakers compromise on `flush tax,'" April 11).

Wayne Croft

Parkton

Bush used tragedy to boost Iraq agenda

President Bush's lack of attention to al-Qaida before Sept. 11, 2001, in spite of the warnings, does not prove that he could have prevented the attack ("Bush defends his actions in summer before 9/11," April 12). It is probable that no one could have done that.

It does prove that Iraq was on his mind way before Sept. 11, and that the war there has nothing to do with terrorism or with the inability of the United Nations to find the weapons of mass destruction Iraq allegedly possessed.

Mr. Bush used the Sept. 11 catastrophe as a pretext to carry out his secret agenda, and that is unforgivable.

Aliza Stewart

Baltimore

Troops don't belong in the Middle East

We don't belong in the Middle East. We don't understand the people there and they don't understand us.

Let's protect our borders, not our overseas interests.

Jane Swope

Baltimore

Angry moms right to oppose president

Unlike the writers of the two April 5 letters criticizing Susan Reimer's column about the group Mothers Opposing Bush (MOB) ("Moms with a goal: unseat Bush," March 30), I was happy to receive the Web site information for this group and have already contacted it to become a member.

One writer suggested that the column was "an insult to all educated women" ("Free advertisement for Bush's critics?" April 5). I am an educated woman and I did not find the column insulting.

I am a mother, a grandmother, the wife of a World War II veteran and the sister of a World War II veteran and another brother who was killed in combat in the same war.

I think a group such as Mothers Opposing Bush empowers those of us who love our country and support our troops, but are appalled at the misguided policies of the Bush-Cheney administration and hope for a change.

Mary L. Pipkin

Towson

Threatening Arafat is no path to peace

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