Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 18, 2005

Updated zoning will strengthen SE Baltimore

I would like to correct The Sun's gross misrepresentation of the Department of Planning's efforts in its Sept. 11 article on the Historic Southeast Zoning Task Force ("Rezoning reveals clash of Fells Point cultures," Sept. 11).

The Sun's reporter expended large amounts of ink to characterize our work as a change to the wonderful mixed-use character of Fells Point.

Not only is that not true, it misses the point of our real, somewhat ground-breaking work in the Butcher's Hill, Washington Hill and Fells Point communities.

The purpose of the Historic Southeast Zoning Task Force is to simplify the land-use regulations in the area, while providing a professional assessment of the risk to historic resources in the area.

The article neglected to mention that almost all of the land-use regulations proposed (as well as many of the preservations regulations) already existed in the Fells Point Urban Renewal Ordinance.

These regulations existed, however, in a 30-year-old document that functioned as the basic land-use guideline for the area but was understood by almost no one, except the planner for the area.

Furthermore, none of the restrictions in the regulations were easily available to the public; in fact, none of them would have appeared in a conventional title search.

This is not open, transparent regulation, and it is not fair to residents, property owners and investors.

To characterize the work of the task force as a land-use conflict pitting single-use districts against mixed-use districts oversimplifies and undermines the real mission of our work - which is to incorporate sound preservation-planning principles into neighborhood planning and to continue to strengthen an important part of this great city.

Otis Rolley III

Baltimore

The writer is the director of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.

Roberts deserves seat on the court

After watching his three days of testimony and reading The Sun's editorial "Judge Roberts speaks" (Sept. 15), I am extremely disappointed by the attitude of Senate Democrats and The Sun.

They both try to measure Judge John G. Roberts through the lens of their own prejudice. They find Judge Roberts wanting because he is not their kind of ideologue.

It is true that Judge Roberts is not their kind of ideologue, because he is not an ideologue at all.

He is someone who respects the rule of law above everything else.

It does not matter where Judge Roberts stands on abortion, affirmative action, the environment or any other issue. He has made it plain that he will rule on every case on the particulars of the case and the legal issues involved.

This is exactly how he has conducted himself on the federal bench and exactly the kind of judge that we need on the Supreme Court.

There can be no doubt of Judge Roberts' qualifications to sit on the court.

Any senator who votes against him will be putting personal or partisan politics above the needs of the country and will have my disdain and contempt.

Steve Chilcote

Perry Hall

Make `constitution' part of the pledge

If the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are deemed unconstitutional, I suggest that they be replaced with the words "under our Constitution" ("Federal judge declares pledge unconstitutional," Sept. 15).

The insertion of "under God" into the pledge in the early 1950s was an afterthought, having more to do with Cold War politics than heartfelt religious sentiments.

Meanwhile, it has been our constitutionally based democracy which, since 1788, has distinguished us from much of the rest of the world and on which, from day-to-day, our quality of life depends.

Scores of countries claim God as their ultimate authority. But you'd be hard-pressed to find even a shred of democracy in many of them.

Herman M. Heyn

Baltimore

State should keep any profit from slots

I concur with what the writers of the letters "Don't use slots to revive ailing racing industry" (Sept. 12) and "The taxpayers owe nothing to racing" (Sept. 12) wrote about slots at race tracks.

I will support slots only if the state builds its own buildings for slot machines. Putting slots at race tracks will only line the pockets of Magna Entertainment Corp.

The Colts left town and we got over that. If horse racing in Maryland goes the same way, we'll get over that also.

Carmen F. Cianelli

Havre de Grace

Edison is succeeding in saving city schools

The Abell Foundation claims it "places the highest priority on creating solutions that are both innovative and will ensure accountability."

It temporarily forgot that mission when it commissioned a one-sided study of what otherwise has been hailed as one of the most innovative and successful public-education partnerships in the nation - the turnaround of Furman L. Templeton, Gilmor and Montebello elementary schools by the Baltimore school system, the state and Edison Schools.

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