August 13, 2006

Job growth article missed the boat

Your splashy front-page article about job growth for Anne Arundel County (July 13) could have been written by the campaign director for County Executive Janet Owens, who is running for state comptroller. It was written as if the growth was inevitable and the most-wanted thing a county could have. The article even said that Owens was ahead of the curve because she had put in to expand the roads in the western part of the county.

What she should have been doing was actually planning to make the county better. What we need is a way to prevent disasters like the 3 million gallons of sewage dumped into Mill Creek in Arnold. North County was already under water restrictions because of a faulty water main from Baltimore when the Marley Boulevard water main blew out, leaving people around it almost without any water.

The infrastructure of the county is going unnoticed. The quality of life in Anne Arundel county will soon be like that in South Baltimore. Instead of a Severn River to be proud of, we will have a Patapsco River with floating feces from the Jones Falls.

And what do you expect the price tag will be for a 50 percent growth in the county's school system with accelerated growth from this job boom?

The bay has an ever-increasing dead zone. What will it be like when the pollution from another half-million people in the county starts rolling out the storm sewers? Who will want to eat fish or swim in the bay after the touted growth?

Anne Arundel County is in no position to support this growth because of poor leadership. Imagine the the state if Owens gets her hands on the job of comptroller. Every rich builder will get his hand in the till by way of growth at all costs.

Send the new jobs to West Virginia. It has the coal mine pollution already and Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.'s gambling, too.

Is that what we want in Maryland? To be like West Virginia?

Gregory Mellon Arnold

Against privatizing Social Security

Tomorrow, Social Security will enter into its 71st year of serving as the most successful antipoverty program in our nation's history.

This program is often seen only as a retirement benefit. However, while half of all Social Security beneficiaries receive benefits solely as retired workers, the remaining beneficiaries are widows and spouses, people with disabilities, and children. In fact, there are more children on the Social Security rolls than the welfare rolls.

Social Security is of particular importance to the economic security of women, as many depend on it as their primary source of income at retirement. More than half of older women would fall into poverty without Social Security benefits.

My mother was one of these women to whom Social Security was essential. Divorced with three children to raise, she went to work as a secretary. Although she worked for decades and received a pension, her social security payment PLUS her pension came out to less than $12,000 a year in her retirement.

Social Security is a national commitment through which we care for one another. Social Security is not broken. We must protect this program which continues to provide lifelong protections for women and families across the country.

Please encourage your elected officials to keep Social Security strong. Tell them to oppose its privatization. Privatization proposals would lead to benefit cuts that would inevitably affect all future beneficiaries, including those who do not participate in "private accounts." These cuts would cause greater hardship for those who rely more heavily on Social Security's income and protections, such as disabled workers, women and children.

Deborah Pafel Pasadena

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