Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

June 17, 2006

Attack on BGE poses threat to business

I am a proud Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. employee and a resident of Baltimore County - a stone's throw from the city line. I grew up around Baltimore, attended local schools and am raising a family here.

But will I be able to retire here? I'm not so sure. I'm afraid the political climate is going to drive my company away from Maryland ("Rate bill passes," June 15).

The political approach the legislature has taken on the electricity price increase has relied on the age-old "we-vs.-they" rhetoric that suggests "we" - the common man - are being stamped on by "they" - big business.

That may produce a short-term political win but a long-term regional disaster.

Successful businesses produce tax revenues, create living wages and provide opportunity directly through jobs and indirectly for the vendors and small business that they work with.

But now more than 5,000 common-man local BGE and Constellation Energy employees may be at risk because of this political approach arrived at by Maryland's legislative leadership.

Energy prices have risen - for electricity, gasoline, natural gas, fuel oil, on and on - but local electricity costs, long legislatively capped at 13-year-old rates, still can't rise to market levels.

I am a common man. I don't earn $80,000 a year in wages.

But I know that business is good for a city. Business headquarters in the city mean property tax revenues. And if the city's services and schools were stronger, I'm sure more workers would stay.

Driving business away will not get you to a stronger city. Stifling the business climate is wrong.

And now I figure Constellation Energy - like Allegheny Energy, which was once headquartered in Hagerstown and is now in Pennsylvania - will look to some other state, away from the interfering, point-scoring politicians who lack the foresight to see beyond the next election.

And I'll be looking in area real estate sections during my vacation. What choice do I have?

James Thierer

Baltimore

Time to nationalize the energy industry

Recent articles on energy - and especially those I read Wednesday morning - highlight to me two basic facts.

The first is that the current governor is owned lock, stock and barrel, as the saying goes, by the energy industry in this state, and thus must be defeated in November ("Ehrlich blasts Democrats' utility rate bill," June 14). He represents it, not us, and thus no longer deserves our votes.

Second, it is time to nationalize the electricity producers and also the oil and gas companies across this nation.

To those who will no doubt scream that this is socialism, my answer is: So be it.

I am happy to support capitalism so long as it benefits the majority of the country's citizenry at all economic levels, but now it is failing to do that.

Just as the public owns the television airwaves, so, too, should we ultimately own the nation's energy production capacities - not the robber barons who gouge us now and their paid shills in the Ehrlich administration.

We are at a crossroads in our economic history - much as we were in 1933 under the first Roosevelt administration - and the time has thus arrived for our elected and other government officials to vote for the masses of the people and federalize all energy production so that it is better run for the benefit of the masses, not just the few.

Blaine Taylor

Towson

Wrong to portray growth as inevitable

I was disappointed that some of the information presented at the Reality Check Plus charrette last week was false or misleading ("Getting ahead of the game," June 10).

For instance, some participants called growth "inevitable." But in truth, nothing can grow forever. At some point, we will run out of energy or water or food to support any more growth.

The U.S. Census Bureau's forecast of a 1.5 million person population increase for Maryland in the coming decades is based on the expected growth in the U.S. population as well as Maryland's recent population trends.

But the bottom line is that this population increase will not happen if Maryland governments stop encouraging growth and development.

In addition, some speakers said that development can be "sustainable." But the reality is that each additional U.S. citizen requires 10 acres to 25 acres of land to provide that person with housing, food, work, transportation, energy and entertainment.

So every new residential housing unit requires us to develop many acres of land to support each person in that complex.

That is hardly sustainable.

Robert Fireovid

Greenbelt

The writer is treasurer of the Interfaith Coalition for the Environment.

Planning must start at the regional level

I am writing to comment on two articles in last Saturday's Sun. One was about infill development ("Outrage over infill in suburban areas," June 10) and the other was about a growth-visioning effort known as Reality Check Plus ("Getting ahead of the game," June 10).

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