Saturday Mailbox


September 30, 2006

Blackwater Resort a big threat to bay

Before the state's Critical Area Commission is a request to grant one of the largest growth allocations ever sought in Maryland. And the commission's decision regarding the proposed Blackwater Resort development near Cambridge will have a lasting impact on the future of development in Maryland and the health of the bay ("Bay group unveils plan of action," Sept. 20).

Time and time again, we have found this to be true: How we use our land has everything to do with how healthy our water and its related habitat can be.

This is especially true when a developer proposes a 2,700-home mega-development just upstream from a federal wildlife refuge.

When my administration introduced the Critical Area legislation in 1984, it was a new concept that land-use planning decisions would affect water quality.

The legislative intent of the bill was to protect water quality and fish, wildlife and plant habitat in the Chesapeake Bay and address the need to preserve the character of the bay for future generations.

The goals and intent of this law are even more important now than they were two decades ago. It is the responsibility of the Critical Area Commission to ensure that these purposes are fulfilled.

The Blackwater Resort development severely threatens all of these goals.

No one is asking the commission to rob local governments of their autonomy or prohibit development in Dorchester County or Cambridge.

What we are asking is that the commission block this project to send a clear message that this development is in the wrong place and is not in keeping with what the General Assembly intended when it enacted the Critical Area program.

Approving the Blackwater Resort development would open the door to exactly the kind of development we were trying to prevent when we enacted the Critical Area law.

Harry Hughes


The writer is a former governor of Maryland.

Reason for cynicism about UB park plan

Reading about the city's plan to lease 48 acres in Mount Washington from the University of Baltimore to create a park was indeed pleasing. But I can't help but be cynical about the matter for several reasons ("Deal to lease land is delayed," Sept. 21).

The first one that comes to mind is the obvious political overtones of the deal, which allows gubernatorial candidate Mayor Martin O'Malley to claim that he listens to the community and preserves land for parks.

Too bad the folks in Woodberry couldn't save the neighborhood's wooded lands after the city deeded them over to Loyola College for use as athletic fields.

Now University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny is credited for "heeding the community's concerns" by trying to save park land from development ("City to lease land for park," Sept. 18). (I'm sure the prospect of a check from the city for $6.2 million didn't influence his opinion.)

This same man chose not to listen to the concerns and wishes of the neighborhood residents who fought to save the Odorite Building from demolition.

Alternatives that would have saved the structure and incorporated it into a new facility were dismissed, and the wrecking ball came.

In almost identical fashion to the way Mr. Bogomolny acted on the Odorite Building, Cardinal William H. Keeler, the Archbishop of Baltimore, moved forward with the razing of the historic Rochambeau Apartments, eliminating another piece of the city's character ("Building gives up the ghost," Sept. 17).

The entreaties of community members in the neighborhood and city at large fell on deaf ears.

Arrogance was the attitude of the church leaders, not cooperation.

How do you form any sense of community when the leaders of major institutions have a "my way or the highway" attitude when it comes to their wants and desires?

Condescension is not the way for the leaders of our city's institutions of higher learning and faith to act.

Joe Leatherman


War can't be won with kid gloves

The war on terrorism must be fought aggressively and without a stop. It baffles me that a lot of people in this country seem more interested in fighting President Bush than in fighting the evil monsters who want to kill us ("Bush releases classified report," Sept. 27).

I am a Democrat, and I don't agree with Mr. Bush on a lot of issues. But I believe he is fighting this war the best he can.

We are fighting a war unlike any we have ever fought, so we can't fight the way we fought in the past; we have to adapt to this new warfare.

We can't be crying about the rights of murdering criminals whose sole goal is to kill us. And we need to get information in any way possible if we are going to stop future attacks on this country and our troops.

We need to give our brave and gallant troops all the tools necessary to fight and win this war. We also need to take better care of the families of our troops.

People need to stop playing political games and face reality: These terrorists will not play by any rules and will never stop trying to kill us.

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