Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 27, 2004

New regulations let small banks invest efficiently

The Sun's editorial "Redline redux" (Oct. 20) stated that proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) would "exempt more of them [banks] from most CRA rules by raising the asset ceiling for `small banks.'"

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The current proposal would not change the law for any bank of any size; it would simplify the way smaller banks are examined.

Regulators recognized that size does matter. It makes no sense to subject a $251 million bank in a rural community to the same examination as a $251 billion bank with a nationwide presence.

The editorial focuses on scaring people into believing that changes would take money away from inner-city programs, youth community centers and other programs that banks have invested in for years. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.

The streamlined exams would allow small banks to direct more of their human and financial resources to lending in their communities, not to reporting and paperwork.

And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s proposal, in fact, specifically includes a community development component to ensure that banks address needs within their communities.

What the editorial did get right is that the American Bankers Association and the Maryland Bankers Association support changes in the CRA that would simplify paperwork and allow banks to do more in their communities.

Bankers know that their banks cannot thrive without thriving communities. The industry's concern is with the most practical way to implement the law, not the law itself.

Donald G. Ogilvie

Washington

The writer is president and CEO of the American Bankers Association.

Is press freedom only for liberals?

Christopher Hanson's column "Sinclair's Sin" (Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 22) totally ignores the fact that Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is out there, having had an excess of free publicity from the liberal media.

Why is it OK for Fahrenheit 9/11 to exist as a blatant effort to influence the election, yet deny access to the broadcast media to those who would air opposite views, such as the documentary Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal?

Is freedom of the press reserved only for the liberal media?

Walt Salmon

Baltimore

St. Mary's land deal carries a bad odor

Having been a resident of Maryland for all my 47 years, I was appalled but not surprised when I read the article concerning the planned sale of land in St. Mary's County to a developer ("Schaefer defends state plan to sell St. Mary's acreage," Oct. 23).

State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer states that this sale would be good for Marylanders.

Destroying a beautiful, forested bay buffer with bulldozers would be good for no one but developers.

This deal smells real bad. Its approval by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is also appalling, although not surprising.

I hope the Maryland public remembers acts like this in the next election.

George Osing

Ellicott City

How could U.S. fail to guard explosives?

Who was the Bush administration protecting when it chose to ignore warnings from the International Atomic Energy Agency to secure nearly 380 tons of explosives in Iraq that are now missing and may be in the hands of insurgents ("Nearly 380 tons of explosives missing from Iraqi facility," Oct. 25)?

And why did Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other Pentagon superiors fail to listen to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki and others about the troop levels that would be needed to secure Iraq after the initial military operations?

Did that contribute to the military's inability to secure the site?

Dana Weckesser

Baltimore

A simple solution to monitoring woes

The idea that a defendant charged with a violent crime would be allowed to walk out of the courthouse on his or own, providing that he or she register with a private home-monitoring agency, is the height of stupidity ("Monitor system hearing planned," Oct. 19).

The whole point of home detention is based on the premise that defendants should not be trusted to be on the streets unsupervised. So why would a judge allow them to leave the courthouse on their own?

The results of this policy (if it can be called that) have been predictable: Not only does the legal system have no idea of how many such defendants have failed to register themselves, but we now know of at least one who has been charged with murder since he walked free.

In an understatement of mammoth proportions, a spokeswoman for Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said, "Something is amiss."

And hearings are now scheduled to determine where the breakdowns in policies or procedures occurred.

But one corrective measure, so simple that it should not require a hearing, would be for the court to assign an officer to escort the defendant to the home-monitoring agency, where he or she would immediately be registered, fitted with the requisite ankle bracelet, and sent home.

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