Letters To The Editor


October 19, 2006

Country club payout rips off taxpayers

Baltimore County's payoff to a private country club ("Council OKs deal to protect Towson land," Oct. 17) makes it obvious that the rich keep getting richer.

Under this deal:

The Country Club of Maryland will get $2 million from county taxpayers.

The developer can build a smaller number of select homes, which will surely carry a premium price.

The surrounding residents will keep their property values up - at the expense of county taxpayers.

But I'd like to know how this deal benefits county residents from Dundalk, Parkville and Arbutus.

Does it mean we can play golf and eat at the country club, since we are subsidizing it?

Can I book the club for my daughter's wedding at a discount, since I am a Baltimore County taxpayer?

I believe this deal sets a dangerous precedent.

Mark Elliott


Worcester wetland just costs too much

If I have this right, 70 percent of the 572-acre tract known as the Weidman Farm - which the state recently purchased to make sure it would be left undeveloped - could not be developed anyway because of state laws regarding wetlands and other matters ("Is the land worth the price?" Oct. 14).

So the state really is preserving only an additional 171 acres, at a cost of about $38,000 per acre.

Nelson Reichart of the state Department of General Services is quoted comparing this price to the $10,000 per acre often paid for land on the Eastern Shore that is suitable for development.

My question would be: How did this land come to the state's attention, and how was the seller able to negotiate this price?

I have some "wetlands" here in Baltimore County I would like to preserve, and I'll let them go for half that price.

Michael Connell


Schools need help to bridge the gap

In reality, "The hidden truth about city schools" (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 12) is that schools themselves, even at their very best, cannot close the academic achievement gap.

That's because students spend only part of their waking hours during the calendar year on school grounds. The rest of the time, they are exposed to factors that reinforce or undermine what they've learned.

Thus students from affluent families tend to outperform students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It's a matter of socioeconomics, for the most part.

Yet we persist in the delusion that teachers are miracle workers who can somehow compensate for the huge deficits in socialization, motivation and intellectual development that some students bring to school through no fault of their own.

Summers are a good place to begin to intervene, as the column's author points out.

But it will also take the adoption of different social and economic policies during the entire year to provide equity.

Whether we have the will to do what is necessary to make that happen is another story.

Walt Gardner

Los Angeles

The writer is a former teacher in the Los Angeles public schools and a former lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles Graduate School of Education.

Governor sees city as sad stepchild

I watched both of the debates between Mayor Martin O'Malley and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ("Two rivals clash with two styles," Oct. 15).

Mr. Ehrlich certainly had the countenance of an angry person. Further, his comment about the city budget, that "without us, you're done," speaks volumes of how he views Baltimore - as a stepchild.

Mr. O'Malley's response was terrific, as he emphasized that Baltimoreans also consider themselves part of Maryland.

It's about time someone sat in the governor's chair who welcomes the city into the state instead of seeing it as a second-class colonial possession.

Joyce C. Robinson

Glen Burnie

Ehrlich, O'Malley both disappoint

After watching the debates between Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Mayor Martin O'Malley ("Two rivals clash with two styles," Oct. 15), I am of the opinion that neither man can win.

M. A. Goodman


Attack North Korea before it attacks us

North Korea exploded a nuclear bomb several days ago ("Crossing the line," Oct. 15). The fact that North Korea has the bomb will make it easier for Iran, Syria and every terrorist gang of Muslim fanatics to acquire such weapons.

Only the willfully blind can ignore what will happen soon if the United States does not take decisive military action to end these threats. And diplomacy (such as the charade at the United Nations in recent days) is useless.

The gangs of Muslim fanatics seek not merely to conquer but also to Islamicize the Earth. It's easy to foresee what they might do with workable nuclear weapons in their possession.

Our enemies will continue to attack us until we muster the will to destroy them.

We have the means to destroy them. We must use those means, or we will endure terrible attacks.

Kurt A. Snavely

Hershey, Pa.

Misplacing blame for school tragedy

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