Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 02, 2007

High time to ban harvest of turtles

I find it interesting to watch the political activity regarding legislative actions in Maryland to close the Chesapeake Bay terrapin fishery ("Shielding state's diamondbacks," Feb. 24).

Instead of working with concerned biologists, conservation groups and the general public to close off a clearly unsustainable harvest, the state Department of Natural Resources continues to attempt to position itself to call the shots.

After failing to persuade the sponsors of bills that would outlaw terrapin fishing to withdraw them, the DNR now suggests that the threatened terrapin habitat is the real problem.

Well, if that is the case, why hasn't the DNR taken measures to save that habitat?

State officials also imply there are still some remaining terrapin populations that can continue to be harvested.

How many different ways can it be said that all studies demonstrate that turtles cannot withstand commercial harvest?

The DNR has long had regulatory responsibility for the terrapins. Yet it has not acted to protect them.

It is time for the legislative branch to take charge.

I appreciate state Sen. Roy P. Dyson's willingness to step up and remain firm on his bill to outlaw harvesting the terrapins.

David S. Lee

White Lake, N.C.

The writer was a member of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Terrapin Task Force and is a member of the Chesapeake Terrapin Alliance.

Is smoking the real safety issue in city?

I was pleased to see that the City Council had passed an ordinance banning cigarette smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places in Baltimore ("Smoking ban wins approval," Feb. 27).

I thought to myself how hard council members must have worked to accomplish such a momentous feat to make the city safer for all who reside or work there.

Now if the council could only pass a law banning murder in Baltimore, that would be a real accomplishment.

Murray Spear

Baltimore

Secondhand smoke hurts public health

The tobacco addicts have it wrong when they argue that nonsmokers should stay home if they can't stand secondhand smoke at their local tavern ("The ban: `They ruin everything,'" Feb. 27).

Smoking bans are simply prudent health care public policy.

Secondhand smoke contains many chemicals (including formaldehyde, cyanide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and nicotine), some of which are known carcinogens.

According to data from the National Institutes of Health, nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 percent to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 percent to 30 percent.

That's sufficient reason to banish smokers from lighting up in public places and polluting my air.

Taverns possess a liquor license, not a license to allow all vices.

Harry Bosk

Baltimore

Credit firefighters for ending exercise

Reading The Sun's editorial "Dixon's leadership test" (Feb. 25), I was struck by its suggestion that Fire Department Cadet Racheal Wilson`s death was "likely preventable" and that "firefighters at the training exercise didn't report problems they saw" and "didn't question those in charge."

The members of the city Fire Department who were on the scene but weren't in charge of this exercise did react once they realized that something had gone terribly wrong. They should be credited with jumping into action and bringing this exercise to a close without further injuries.

Let's hope that the independent investigation will gather all facts and bring about closure for Ms. Wilson's family, and that our Fire Department can come together and move forward.

Michael Campbell

Nottingham

The writer is second vice president of the Baltimore Fire Officers Union Local No. 964.

Race, class define Duke lacrosse case

It is obvious to me that the Duke University lacrosse players, and The Sun, just don't get it ("Starting over is first goal for Duke," Feb. 25).

The issues many people have with Duke lacrosse go way beyond whether the three players are guilty or innocent of the charges against them.

This is a larger issue of class and race -- of an almost exclusively white team at a very expensive college, many of whose members come from prep schools -- who acted, at the least, boorishly on many occasions before this incident as well as during the incident.

If a lacrosse player wants to show support for his teammates by wearing their numbers as they go through the legal process, that's fine.

I just hope the Duke players are not so narrowly focused on that issue that they fail to understand why the broader issues raised by this incident have drawn so much attention.

Jim Luehman

New Market

Tired of politicians interrupting dinner

In my circle of friends and relatives, automated calls from politicians are not only a waste of money but also counterproductive ("Bills blocking `robo-calls' meet resistance," Feb. 28).

As soon as we know the nature of the call, we hang up with angry feelings toward the sponsor, even if it is from someone we otherwise support.

Similarly, such calls found on our answering machines are instantly deleted.

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