Letters To The Editor


April 07, 2006

Wrong message to send business

Today, the focus in the General Assembly is on the impact of skyrocketing residential electric rates. In the long run, the more serious damage may be to the state's reputation as a home for major business ("Utility, legislators not close on rates," April 4).

It's understandable and appropriate that the state's lawmakers reacted strongly to news of a 72 percent increase in Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s rates.

The recent public attacks on BGE and its parent company, Constellation Energy Group, stand out as particularly strident.

What are the crimes committed by BGE and Constellation Energy? Constellation Energy is Maryland's largest taxpayer; the parent company and BGE employ more than 6,400 people in the state. And BGE's residential customers have not paid an electricity rate increase in 13 years, thanks to a state-mandated rate cap.

The legislature's tough talk did bring Constellation Energy to the negotiation table. Constellation has agreed to put up hundreds of millions of the savings it would achieve through its merger with Florida's FPL Group to help defray the BGE rate increase.

Any action to stop or interfere with this merger would severely compromise Maryland's efforts to attract and retain successful companies.

For that reason, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. should veto any legislative attempts to block the merger, and the General Assembly should uphold his veto.

Terry F. Neimeyer

Hunt Valley

The writer is chairman of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

UM journalists are proven talent

After reading Nick Madigan's story "New daily paper starts tomorrow" (April 4) about the debut of The Examiner, I felt the need to point out that he severely overlooked the importance of young journalists and the strength of the University of Maryland, College Park's journalism program.

Mr. Madigan labeled as "professionally untried" four recent UM graduates who were hired by The Examiner and implied that their work at the independent student newspaper, The Diamondback, was their only professional experience. He couldn't be more wrong.

The UM journalism school requires its students to have professional experience, and many have worked at some of the best newspapers in the country. The Diamondback is one of the best daily, independent student operations in the country and provides grueling experience that could not be gained elsewhere.

Newspapers have a frightening lack of age diversity, and it shows.

Those young reporters hired by The Examiner are not dime-a-dozen money-savers. They are the future of journalism, and if anyone is going to provide the reform that the newspaper industry needs right now, it's going to be the young people in the business.

Megan Watzin College Park

The writer, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, is editor in chief of The Diamondback.

Steroids may cause permanent damage

Michael Hill's column "What's wrong with steroids?" (April 2) seems to advance the hypothesis that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is not all bad and that athletes have been getting the help of chemistry to enhance performance for quite some time.

I would like to see Mr. Hill address the long-term effects of performance-enhancing drugs.

My concern is that the use of these drugs may ultimately cause an athlete to experience irreversible damage to his or her body.

James M. Hall

Perry Hall

Eminent domain must be a priority

Eminent domain reform was a priority this legislative session. Unfortunately, it now seems that our legislature may choose to forgo the passage of any reform because there is a quarrel over whether there should be an eminent domain-related constitutional amendment ("Pressing matters in days ahead," April 3).

But amendment or not, reform is necessary.

Allowing another year to pass without addressing a system that gives government agencies little incentive to fairly compensate property owners would be wrong.

Benjamin A. Graybeal


Grasmick's grasping will hurt governor

The Sun's headline "Action is a blow to O'Malley's campaign" (March 30) did a disservice to reporter John Fritze's article, which tried to show both sides of the issue concerning the state's attempted takeover of some of Baltimore's schools.

I feel that this attempt will be a blow to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign.

State schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick's ability to be a true partner in the efforts of Baltimore schools CEO Bonnie S. Copeland to improve Baltimore's schools has been compromised by her actions.

The governor and Ms. Grasmick can dismiss their critics' accusations as political. But we are not fooled about their motives.

Thinking people know that Mayor Martin O'Malley and Ms. Copeland are working together to improve Baltimore's schools and that much improvement has been the result.

Perhaps Mr. Ehrlich and Ms. Grasmick can learn from this collaboration.

Beverly Stappler


The writer is a retired Baltimore schoolteacher.

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