Letters To The Editor


September 15, 2006

Identify the limits to religious-use law

The Rochambeau demolition debate has brought much-needed scrutiny to the Religious Land Use Act ("Apartment demolition set to start Saturday," Sept. 13).

The attorney for the Mount Vernon Belvedere Association, George Liebmann, eloquently argued that the law was designed to eliminate discrimination against religious institutions, not to allow any religious use to trump local laws.

Otherwise, couldn't anyone (or any devious developer) simply buy ordainment credentials from the back of a magazine, establish a church, and then argue that he or she has the right to put up a neon billboard, add 10 stories or tear down any historic building?

The efforts of the archdiocese to restore the Basilica of the Assumption to the highest standards can be applauded.

However, this work does not constitute an indulgence for the razing of the Rochambeau.

The ideal solution, one proposed by many in the area, would be to install a prayer garden on the roof of the Rochambeau (think green architecture) and restore the building to house retired priests, pilgrims visiting the basilica or the needy.

As an engineer, I wonder why no one has suggested that as a last resort, the Rochambeau itself be moved to one of the empty (parking) lots further up Charles Street.

Steve Shen


Schaefer punished by those he insulted

It is official - 70 percent of the Democrats who came out to the polls Tuesday rebuked state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer for his insensitive remarks and general nastiness ("Schaefer trailing in Democratic race," Sept. 13).

I guess it was all of those darn women, African-Americans, non-English-speaking immigrants and Korean-Americans exercising their right to vote.

Sheryl L. Marshall


Those running polls didn't do their job

Standing in the gym of a city high school watching the comedy of errors going on in front of me, I really couldn't get angry at the poll workers who obviously were unfamiliar with the new process before Tuesday morning ("Electronic system beset by problems," Sept. 13).

Nor can I get upset with the single technician responsible for setting up about 18 voting machines, which were delivered late because the truck driver apparently didn't know where the school was.

Even the misleading signs that put a number of people into the wrong lines are a precinct-level issue.

But some people were charged with making the election go smoothly. Some people were charged with rolling out a new voting machine process.

Those people utterly and completely botched their job.

I suspect the excuse will be lack of funds. That only serves to illuminate the level of regard at which democracy is held today by those who owe their jobs to its workings.

Yes, I know this is a widespread problem. That just makes it worse.

Joe McConlogue


Electronic voting lacks safeguards

If I were a state legislator, I would be embarrassed about approving the voting system I used Tuesday. It is ripe for fraud ("Electronic system beset by problems," Sept. 13).

When I went to get my voting access card, I wasn't asked for any identification. I asked if the poll worker wanted to see any, and the reply was "no."

I then said, "I could vote for my entire neighborhood if I wanted."

"Yes, you could," was the poll worker's reply.

My secret ballot was anything but secret, with people walking behind and in front of me. Anyone could see how I voted.

And the kicker is when I was finished voting, an election official asked for the vote card and proceeded to put it in his pocket.

Is this the new secure ballot box?

This voting system would make Fidel Castro blush.

It needs to be changed before the November election.

Steven Pinson


New way to choose who gets our vote

Although it's too late to use my new voting technique in the primary, for the general election I've decided to create a spreadsheet tracking the number of pieces of mail my mailman has to schlep to my door as well as the number of phone calls I receive supporting each candidate.

The person sending me the least mail and calling the least will definitely get my vote.

Eunice Katz

Owings Mills

Build a new bridge that makes us proud

The Bay Bridge should be replaced ("No recommendation on new span," Aug. 30).

Maryland is a beautiful state with a growing population. The Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore are a cherished part of our history and culture. The incredible explosion of growth in the region is testimony to our excellent location and growing economy.

The present Bay Bridge is obviously inadequate and will soon be outmoded. Besides, it is an eyesore.

It bothers many people who must go over it and others who will not cross it, either going "around" or refusing to make the journey. It is narrow, it has a strange curve and lift, and many people will admit they drive it with white knuckles.

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