May 14, 2006

Hospital site could house horse park

I read your recent articles about the Naval Academy Dairy Farm and the Crownsville Hospital Center with great interest.

In one article, the Maryland Stadium Authority wants to destroy the largest certified organic farm in our state while adding more traffic to our already overburdened local road system. It wants to build a horse sports complex, but only if 20 million or so of Anne Arundel County tax dollars are contributed to the effort.

In the second article, the state wants Anne Arundel County to again spend over 20 million in county tax dollars to demolish over 30 buildings to clean up the existing asbestos and lead waste left in the old state-run hospital. This would be in return for the approximately 640 acres that the hospital center sits on. The state is even trying to extort the county into taking on the cleanup by evicting the nonprofit groups housed there.

There is a very simple and effective solution to both issues: Turn the Crownsville Hospital Center over to the MSA and let it build a horse park there.

The MSA receives hundreds of millions in income each year and is exempt from following state procurement, labor, environmental, and ethics regulations, so it should be no problem for the MSA to build its horse park and provide space for the nonprofit groups.

It could even provide a community service to the YMCA, which is looking for a place to build a county facility.

The site is located adjacent to Interstate 97, so the MSA can have its own on- and off-ramps to handle any traffic concerns.

This is the ideal situation: lots of money, lots of land, direct access to a highway, and proximity to Annapolis and the much-ballyhooed 9,000 hotel rooms.

If the MSA needs local money for the project, it can get it from its biggest supporter: Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer.

This is a win-win situation for everyone, except of course, Howard, Carroll, and Cecil counties, which desire and financially need this project.

Anne Arundel County has far more important spending needs: schools, roads and other infrastructure to prepare for BRAC-generated jobs and the influx of people to fill them.

Lee Marshall Gambrills

Work force housing wouldn't work

I have no problem with the 600-acre Crownsville hospital site being used for work force housing, as the Anne Arundel County Alliance For Fair Land Use is proposing. Unfortunately, the proposal is an impossibility.

As soon as the Democrats on the County Council get an inkling of the idea, work force housing would become "work seldom" housing, then "never worked a day in my life" housing.

It happens time and time again. Witness the Move to Opportunity program, and the destruction it has caused to stable neighborhoods around the state.

The Democrats just can't help themselves. There is no way that they would be able to accept the notion of policemen, teachers, nurses and firefighters living together in neighborhood harmony without infusing into the equation an element of the non-working poor who put them in office. And there goes the neighborhood.

Michael P. DeCicco Severn

Cause of high price of gas is no mystery

Many important officials still do not know the cause for high gasoline prices.

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele thinks it's high federal taxes. U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin thinks it is price gouging by oil companies. A third U.S. Senate candidate, former congressman and NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, thinks it is high federal and state gasoline taxes.

Fortunately, some of us know the real reason for $3 gas that will be $4 by end of summer: false-pretense wars that we were snookered into by our leaders.

Thank you, President Bush. Thank you, Vice President Cheney.

Bill D. Burlison Odenton

Energy deregulation promotes greed

Five electric power companies pay no dividends whatsoever. What is precluding them from just raising rates into the 70 percent category such as BGE has done to sustain their dividends?

The five power companies that come to mind are: Allegheny Energy, Aquila, CMS Energy, El Paso Electric and Sierra Pacific Resources.

In the last five years BGE (Constellation Energy) raised its dividends six times! Regulators - or non-regulators - are allowing a return on shareholders' equity of 16 percent.

Many financial analysts are still skeptical about the viewpoint that the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 will produce a surge of deals. Can it be that our fathers were wiser than we were in realizing unregulation can and does promote greed? Does anyone know why the act was repealed?

Financial journals state that participation in regional transmission organizations such as the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland interconnection provides access to a large number of suppliers, helping to limit expense. So where are our savings?

BGE's electricity is 52 percent nuclear, 30 percent coal, 15 percent hydro and gas, and 1 percent oil. Both nuclear and coal are the cheapest to produce electricity. So why are we hurting!?

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