Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 16, 2006

A precious chance to save open space

The Baltimore County Council will vote today on whether to spend $2 million to preserve a valuable parcel of open space ("Country club payment draws opposition," Oct. 11).

This seems a small price to pay to secure nearly 60 acres in the densely settled Towson area for current and future generations.

The proposed purchase grew out of a two-year battle between the Country Club of Maryland and its neighbors over the club's development plans.

Neighbors called attention to the loss of open space that would result from a proposed housing development - or from any future development of the club's 160 acres.

County environmental officials worked out a deal - pending council approval -- to buy development rights to a portion of the club's property on the banks of the Herring Run.

The land would either remain as part of the golf course or, if the club stops operating the course, become county parkland.

This is a visionary move to invest in open space and future parkland before the opportunity to do so is forever lost.

It has significant value for current and future county residents - a value worth at least $2 million.

Cynthia Jabs

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the board of the Idlewylde Community Association.

Let the children go out and play

Parents should not need the American Academy of Pediatrics to tell them that over- scheduling is stressful and counterproductive for our children ("Give children time to play, pediatricians urge parents," Oct. 10).

We adults spend most of our days scrambling, chugging coffee and praying that today won't be as hectic as yesterday. As parents, why would we want our children's day to be as hectic as ours?

My favorite childhood memories started with my mother telling me, "Go outside and play."

We didn't need special equipment and we didn't need an adult with a whistle telling us whether we were having fun. The games came from our imaginations, and the rules were made up as we went along.

By overscheduling our kids, we make them into the multitasking machines that we have become.

If we continue this way, they will become corporate robots, who will then spend countless hours in meetings learning to think outside of the boxes that we have crammed them into.

William Jones

Randallstown

We chose to inflict the carnage on Iraq

The president has once again demonstrated his capacity for self-serving delusion ("Bush disputes estimate of Iraq deaths," Oct. 12).

Confronted with the Johns Hopkins researchers' estimate of the number of Iraqi deaths resulting from President Bush's misguided military adventure in Iraq, the president responded, "I am, you know, amazed that this [Iraq] is a society which so wants to be free that they're willing to - you know, that there's a level of violence that they tolerate."

Tolerate? This is violence we have inflicted upon Iraq, violence we've unleashed through our unthinking disruption of its society and violence we've provoked as foreign occupiers.

According to the Johns Hopkins estimate, more than 600,000 Iraqis tolerate it because they're dead.

David Hollander

Baltimore

Meddling in merger for partisan purpose

I read with interest the articles on the long-delayed merger of Constellation Energy Group and Florida's FPL Group by Anirban Basu on the Opinion

Commentary page ("Energy merger would benefit Maryland," Oct. 11) and Jay Hancock in the business section ("Time, politics may doom merger of utilities," Oct. 11).

Mr. Basu carefully lists the advantages of the proposed merger and wonders why the legislature failed to secure them for Maryland.

But the answer is quite obvious: It is more important to the Democratic leaders of the legislature to poke a stick in the governor's eye during an election year than to ensure $600 million in energy cost savings to the people of Maryland.

Fred Koenig

Aberdeen

Absentee ballots could add to chaos

The writer of "Absentee ballots ensure a fair count" (letters, Oct. 8) advocated using absentee ballots to "force election officials to count my vote by hand," just as the governor has. But I would suggest that this would add more chaos and cost to November's election.

If many people vote by absentee ballot unnecessarily, it could take days or weeks to get the first complete tally and the likelihood of errors in hand-counting would make a challenge to the outcome more likely in close races.

And you give up anonymity with an absentee ballot.

I am an election judge who saw the worst of the problems in the primary.

But I saw the e-poll book crashes as the main source of problems (along with the severe shortage of judges), and realized the cause was an error processing software "bug" that should be easy for Diebold Election Systems to correct. And now tests appear to show Diebold has corrected this problem.

We are stuck with the Diebold system for November.

But with additional training, more judges and good security measures, the potential problems with the system can be minimized or eliminated.

Charles Moose

Baltimore

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