Control prices, keep housing affordable

Speak Out!

Your Opinions

Thoughts on issues relating to Harford County

March 20, 2005

Last week's question asked: What are your thoughts on the fairness and effectiveness of imposing an impact fee on new housing as a way to help pay for school construction?

Here are readers' views:While listening to the back and forth battle over building impact fees in Harford County, I couldn't help but notice the only people opposing the bill are those it would negatively affect -- namely real estate developers.

For over a decade, real estate developers have made millions upon millions of dollars by destroying our farmlands, overpacking our schools and cluttering our roads.

For over a decade, our state and local politicians have introduced urban sprawl to our once rural communities while bleeding the taxpayers dry.

We should be aware that, when the people who have stolen our rural lifestyles oppose certain bills, the bills in question will probably be good for the people. Although impact fees are a good start, this community is in desperate need of governmental price controls on housing. Otherwise, the children of Harford County will grow up, graduate college and have a rude awaking when they realize they can't afford a home in the communities they adore.

I think the people of Harford County should be reminded that they aren't just taxpayers -- they're voters! We run our politicians, they don't run us. We can say "no" to the developers by saying "no" to our politicians next election!

Rob LaPin

Bel Air

Speakout: Next week's question

ISSUE: Bank robberies in Maryland and Delaware rose last year to their highest level in seven years. In Harford County, such robberies increased to 11 from six a year earlier. Should penalties be increased?

PRO: Some bankers are seeking stiffer penalties. Under Maryland law, robbery carries a maximum penalty of 15 years and armed robbery a maximum of 20 years. If the legislation is passed, all bank robbers - armed or unarmed - could get up to 30 years.

CON: Critics argue that the state should enforce the laws on the books and wonder why a bank robbery should be treated separately if a convenience store robbery is not. They say trends in banking are part of the problem. "The retail side of the house wags the dog, and they have been on a constant march to make their banks more customer-friendly," said William J. Rehder, a retired bank robbery investigator for the FBI in Los Angeles. "Consequently, the more customer-friendly they make them, the more bandit-friendly they make them."

YOUR VIEW: Do you think it would be appropriate to increase penalties for bank robbers, or is there a better way to increase public safety?

Please send e-mail responses by Thursday to harford.speakout A selection of responses will be published Sunday. Please keep your responses short and include your name, address and telephone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.

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