Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 23, 2005

CCBC has put its fiscal house into good order

The Sun's article "CCBC to begin top post search" (March 14) claims that the Community College of Baltimore County's search for a new chancellor takes place amid "apprehension about what effect a $6 million deficit will have on the system's 73,000 students."

That's wrong. We have no deficit.

Despite an earlier projection of a potential $6.3 million shortfall, CCBC's board has submitted to Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. a sound and balanced budget that will carry us through June 2006.

Yes, we face fiscal challenges in the coming years, largely because of inflation in costs such as health care for our employees. But our current state of fiscal affairs is excellent.

The article mentioned CCBC's tuition increase for the coming fiscal year, yet failed to note CCBC remains the most accessible higher education option in this region.

At $90 per credit hour, CCBC is less than half the cost of four-year public colleges and is one of Maryland's mid-priced community colleges.

I was also disappointed to see unfounded remarks in the article about campus technology support.

CCBC has Internet capabilities throughout the college. We were one of the first area colleges to provide wireless zones on our three campuses, giving students easy access to the Internet. Since last summer, we have installed 1,500 new computers in student, faculty and administrative areas. Our labs are updated on a regular schedule, and our classrooms offer students and faculty the latest technology.

No wonder students consistently give CCBC high ratings for technology support.

The college has also received rave reviews from the Middle States accrediting board for its "commitment to student achievement and success," and its innovative learning strategies have earned national recognition.

CCBC's next chancellor will be in an enviable position.

Francis X. Kelly Jr.

Baltimore

The writer is board chairman of the Community College of Baltimore County.

Senate supported ruinous oil habits

The Sun's article "Senate OKs oil drilling in refuge in Alaska" (March 17) reported that the vote "hand[ed] President Bush a major victory on energy policy and environmentalists a stinging defeat."

My observation is that the Senate marginally supported a short-sighted and ruinous policy of continuous consumption of the world's very limited natural resources.

With heads in the sand, our representatives are trying to milk the last drop of oil and the last bit of coal and gas available as the only methods of "sustaining" our economy.

A true visionary would seek a long-term, sustainable energy policy that would include strong measures encouraging conservation, an increased miles-per-gallon requirement and some serious funding for the promotion and exploration of renewable, alternative energy sources.

Jean Salvatore

Bel Air

Drilling in refuge carries little risk

The Sun's editorial denouncing exploring for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) conjures an image of vast forests, mountains and herds of wildlife being devastated by drilling rigs ("A costly oil fix," editorial, March 21). The truth is much more benign.

ANWR consists of 19 million acres. Exploration will be limited to the largely barren and featureless 1.5 million-acre coastal plain. Oil production would involve only about 2,000 of these acres.

Years of experience at the nearby Prudhoe Bay has shown that oil production can be done with minimal environmental impact.

In view of the enormous benefits in jobs and energy production from drilling in ANWR with minimal risk, it is hard to see how anyone could rationally oppose it.

Gerald C. Rose

Highland

The sale of firearms didn't kill Bassett

What Baltimore County Police Chief Terrance B. Sheridan did not explain is why a person who happens to be a Baltimore County police officer cannot engage in a lawful business practice ("Policy may bar officers from selling firearms," March 18).

Would Chief Sheridan also ban officers from selling cars since they might be used in drive-by shootings or getaway cars for bank robbers?

And who is better qualified to know and follow the law in the legal sale of firearms than an officer of the law?

The sale of legal firearms did not kill William A. Bassett any more than a pharmacy selling legal drugs causes the abuse of drugs.

Cold-blooded criminals killed Mr. Bassett. Let's assign the blame where it belongs - to the criminal who commits the crime.

James Mullen

White Hall

Pension reform plan offers better return

As a retiree with seven children and 18 grandchildren, I cannot understand the opposition to President Bush's vision to improve Social Security ("Greenspan urges Congress to fix Social Security quickly," March 16).

The issue is not so much about when the system will be insolvent as that the president's plan would be financially more rewarding than the present system.

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