Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 03, 2005

Judge shows sense in land-use rulings

I write in response to the editorial that takes issue with two rulings on land use by Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Michael M. Galloway ("Common-sense growth," Oct. 28).

I have no argument with the statement that the current Board of County Commissioners was elected, at least in part, to correct some decisions allowing too much growth by past boards. However, there must be a sense of balance, and the county's view of how to enforce its new adequate public facilities ordinance has swung the pendulum too far in the other direction.

The certificates of adequacy issued by the county under the prior standards, which were at issue in the two lawsuits, were found to be contracts by Judge Galloway. I believe that finding to be correct, as the developers in question justifiably relied on the certificates.

The editorial calls this conclusion "technically arguable." The county will appeal both cases, so we will see what the appellate courts think.

The offensive part of the editorial is the one that indicated that the judge needed to use some "common sense."

This judge has ample common sense, and he also understands his obligation to apply the law to the facts, and decide a case on its merits, not to justify an outcome that certain members of the public and the board of commissioners or The Sun might desire.

Michael G. Ritchey

Westminster

Apply skepticism to blind sources

Michael Olesker's column "Film shows when press issues were black, white" (Oct. 28) should be required reading in all journalism schools and should be read by all newspaper editors so that they can pass on to their reporters the astuteness of what Mr. Olesker has written.

Although his article was something of a mini-review of the movie "Good Night and Good Luck," which depicts Edward R. Murrow's broadcasts that brought about Sen. Joseph McCarthy's undoing in the 1950s, the gist of Mr. Olesker's column hits home concerning today's news about the protection of sources.

As Mr. Olesker astutely notes, "we need an update on the new rules on protection of sources. Of course we'll protect you ... as long as you're telling me the truth. If it turns out you've lied ... there's no protection."

We cannot long remain a free and open society if the truth is so callously disregarded and reporters are used as dupes by government insiders to perpetuate lies and disinformation.

A return to journalistic skepticism on information from anonymous sources would go a long way to restoring people's faith in the news.

Dave Lefcourt

Ellicott City

Maryland abuses redistricting process

I read with great interest The Sun's editorial endorsing the efforts of Ohio and California to improve their redistricting procedures ("Reform proxies," editorial, Oct. 31).

Maryland's state legislators have been among the worst redistricting offenders in recent memory.

Maryland has districts running from the Eastern Shore to Baltimore County, from Baltimore City to western Howard County and etc.

I would like to see The Sun use its influence to correct this situation.

Tom Grimes

West Friendship

A simple apology would work better

Reading Laura Vozzella's follow-up column about the governor's Halloween decorations ("Blowing it all out of proportion," Oct. 30), it is apparent she is now trying to explain her prior column as merely tongue-in-cheek. She even tried to generate sympathy for herself by alluding to a comment to her about her looks.

However, not everyone shares her apparent disdain for middle-class holiday dM-icor.

And, frankly, an old-fashioned, contrite apology would have been more suitable than a convoluted explanation.

Don Dietrick

Towson

Time for a vote of no-confidence?

With dead-on-arrival Social Security proposals, more than 2,000 so-far-fruitless U.S. deaths in Iraq, the Hurricane Katrina and Harriet Miers fiascoes, his hapless public mea culpas and now felony indictments for his vice president's chief of staff, if we had a parliamentary system President Bush would face a no-confidence vote ("Senators press Bush for shake-up," Oct. 31).

Grenville Whitman

Rock Hall

Wal-Mart bill levels retail playing field

The recent letter from a retail industry spokesman claims that an override of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's Jr.'s veto of the so-called "Wal-Mart" bill would create a "hostile environment for retailers across the state" ("Hostile legislation scares stores away," letters, Oct. 27).

That's nonsense. In fact, the bill sends a message to retailers that Maryland is committed to maintaining a level playing field for all employers, large and small.

Wal-Mart executives readily admit, as shown in excerpts from an internal memo recently reported in The New York Times, that the company's medical plans are so costly for most employees that 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart employees either have no health insurance at all or are on Medicaid.

That means Maryland's citizens, many of whom are Wal-Mart shoppers, are subsidizing the huge retailer's payroll.

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