Letters To The Editor


October 29, 2006

Attack ads demean the city's revival

Regardless of one's political affiliation, there should be no tolerance for any political message that blatantly misrepresents the health of our city in an attempt to influence voters.

The Sun's Oct. 21 "Campaign Ad Watch" column did an admirable job documenting the factual problems with a commercial recently aired by a national political action committee ("GOP governors' group takes off the gloves," Oct. 21).

But what the article did not mention, and what the spot's scare tactics threaten to undermine, is the very real resurgence in Baltimore over the past few years.

According to the latest data from the 2005 State of Downtown Report, downtown Baltimore has attracted more than $1.2 billion in new development and now offers more than 100,000 jobs (a 6.8 percent increase over 2004). Major employers, such as T. Rowe Price and M&T Bank, have chosen to stay and grow in the city, while national developers, such as ARC Wheeler and Urban America, recognize Baltimore's strengths and are making sizable investments here.

More than 37,000 people live downtown, and many more are on the way. In the past six years, the population in the city center has doubled.

New residents have added to the city's tax base and helped attract national retailers such as Best Buy and Filene's Basement, which want to serve Baltimore's strong and growing market ("Large-scale retail sets up shop downtown," Oct. 24).

Major investments by families and businesses in Baltimore are ignored and undermined by attack ads such as the one noted in this column.

The public and private sectors are working hard to build on the gains that Baltimore has made in the past decade.

All of this progress is put at risk by the negative stereotypes perpetuated by an outside political action committee that clearly knows nothing about Baltimore.

Kirby Fowler


The writer is president of the Downtown Partnership.

Democrats' dithering doomed the merger

Well, it seems that Maryland's Democratic leaders have gotten their way: The merger between Constellation Energy Group (parent firm of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.) and Florida's FPL Group has been nixed by the two firms ("Unplugged," Oct 26).

This means that nearly $600 million in concessions and other money earmarked for Maryland residents will likely be off the table as well.

So, as it stands, because of shortsighted deregulation laws passed by Maryland's Democrat-controlled legislature in 1999, and the recent wrangling by the General Assembly and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, not only will Maryland consumers still be required to pay a 72 percent rate increase, but we also could lose more than half a billion dollars that could have softened the blow.

Surely, Maryland voters can see the disgrace and the high costs Maryland's Democrats are inflicting on state residents.

Perhaps it will really hit home when they begin to find ever-expanding utility bills in their mailboxes.

Tony Ondrusek

Hunt Valley

Deregulation hurts state's consumers

"Oh, woe is me." Because the Constellation Energy Group merger with FPL Group has been called off, the energy company executives, who were going to pocket millions of dollars, tell me that it is my loss because I will lose a $1.62 monthly credit ("With deal goes $1.62 credit on BGE customers' bills," Oct. 26).

This was, after all, for consumers who also face a 72 percent rate increase.

So am I really supposed to be upset about my $1.62 loss?

When the state changed electricity production and distribution from a regulated monopoly to an unregulated one, the consumers could only lose.

We have lost, and we will continue to lose.

Larry Johnston


Education contracts evince amazing gall

Let me get this straight: Ignite Learning, a company run by President Bush's brother and supported by his parents - who are former residents of the White House - sells products to school districts across the country that are bought with federal dollars allocated through the No Child Left Behind law, which was supported by the president ("Neil Bush's firm gets education act funds," Oct 22).

What gall.

John Bailey


Do insurgents strive to oust Republicans?

In recent months, we have observed a marked upsurge of sectarian violence in Iraq, the intensity of which seems to increase by the day ("Bush takes the offensive on crucial issue of Iraq," Oct. 26).

I wonder if anyone has noted the timing of the ratcheting-up of violent encounters between sectarian groups, many of which inevitably result in the engagement of U.S. forces and escalating American casualties.

This is occurring during the run-up to the U.S. midterm elections, and is hurting the chances of several Republican candidates for Congress.

Is it possible that the insurgent groups would prefer a Democrat-controlled Capitol Hill, one they feel would be more likely to disengage the United States from this complicated and costly effort over the short term?

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