Letters To The Editor


October 14, 2005

Raising oil capacity serves U.S. interests

The Sun's editorial on Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest's vote on the refinery legislation the House of Representatives passed late last week leaves the wrong impression about the legislation ("Mr. Gilchrest's flip-flop," Oct. 11).

The Sun asserts incorrectly that it exploits the hurricane damage to aid refineries, that the bill involves environmental rollbacks and that "it would be hard to support the proposal on its merits."

In fact, the hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast region clearly indicate the need for more refining infrastructure, a problem with which we have long been concerned. Anyone who has filled up a gas tank lately can see the results of the storms.

Those who choose to complain rather than seek remedies to alleviate the current supply-demand imbalance do a disservice to everyone.

The Sun's editorial focuses on rollbacks that don't really exist. Let's focus instead on what is actually in the bill - important items such as:

Encouraging new refineries to increase gasoline supplies and temper high prices.

Reforming cumbersome siting procedures.

Allowing closed military installations that are appropriate to be considered as refinery sites.

Encouraging new pipelines.

Requiring new federal and state conservation projects.

Curtailing real price-gouging in gasoline and diesel fuel sales.

In a nutshell, the House legislation says that increased petroleum product supplies and more domestic refining capacity are in the national interest and should be encouraged, rather than discouraged, by public policy.

Bob Slaughter


The writer is president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

Balancing the scales on new development

I would like to thank Baltimore County Councilman Vincent J. Gardina for introducing legislation that would prevent the Country Club of Maryland from putting 56 duplexes on 16 acres adjacent to the Idlewylde community ("Plan would block golf course homes," Oct. 5).

Mr. Gardina has finally heard the overwhelming opposition by his constituents to this project.

As residents of Idlewylde, we can see the negative impact that this development will have on our community.

Contrary to the unrealistic projections of representatives of the club, we know that 56 duplexes will produce more than two elementary-age schoolchildren.

We know that narrow and overcrowded roads cannot safely handle the increased traffic without widening.

We also know that cutting down mature trees and building houses and roads in a steeply sloped area will further degrade Herring Run.

It is frustrating that such unrealistic projections about traffic and environmental impact are allowed under current development guidelines.

Baltimore County residents are slowly realizing that the development review process needs to be fixed so that as developers make fortunes from a process tilted in their favor, taxpayers are not left to pay for the impacts and costs.

We are looking for representatives who will defend their constituents against the overwhelming financial and procedural advantages enjoyed by developers.

Tim Eastman


The writer is a member of the Idlewylde Community Association.

Linking Fitzgerald, Zane is just foolish

I hope I'm not the only one who was dumbfounded by Laura Vozzella's article "Forget Gatsby - politics is getting HOT!" (Oct. 9).

Was this satire or for real? Seeing F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zane mentioned in the same article was odd, to say the least.

People are entitled to read whatever they please and for whatever reason, but let's not confuse great literature that has stood the test of time with pop literature that panders to prurient interests.

That's kind of like giving equal value to broccoli and cotton candy. Both qualify as foodstuffs, but while the former sustains and nourishes the body, the latter is a tempting diversion of questionable nutritional value.

So it is with books and the mind.

And I hope City Council President Sheila Dixon was not serious or that she simply misspoke when referring to Fitzgerald as an English author.

Last time I checked, he was a quintessential American author.

Claire Corcoran


Series opened eyes on homeless teens

Thanks to The Sun for an extremely well-written and beautifully photographed series on Iven Bailey and Gary Sells ("On their own," Oct. 9-Oct. 12). It never occurred to me that homeless teenagers did anything other than sell drugs and commit petty crimes.

Mr. Bailey and Mr. Sells deserve credit for making the attempt to improve themselves through education. Their stories rival any of our grandparents' "uphill-through-snowdrifts" tales.

However, the picture of Mr. Sells reading the newspaper during class, and the caption, "Like other students that day, Gary Sells wasn't paying attention," got my attention ("`Did I fail, Ms. Darley?'" Oct. 11).

If the teacher in the classroom had neither the ability nor desire to command the attention of the students, no wonder test scores are so low.

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