Letters To The Editor


May 27, 2007

Democrats prove powerless on energy

I was disheartened to see The Sun's article on the imminent increase in Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s electric rates ("50% rise in BGE rates OK'd by PSC," May 24).

The energy deregulation legislation law passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature in 1999 assumed that there would be competition in state energy markets. But, strangely, utilities are not eager to do business in Maryland.

Could this be because of illegal efforts by the legislature to run businesses, such as the ill-fated Wal-Mart bill or the effort to stack the membership of the Public Service Commission last year? Or could it be the confiscatory tax levels in Maryland?

Whatever the reason, all this was strangely absent from The Sun's article, which noted instead the PSC's conclusion that "BGE followed the rules when it obtained electricity at higher market prices last year."

Martin O'Malley campaigned for governor with ads portraying him as fighting for Marylanders and "taking on BGE to stop the rate hikes."

And now, as The Sun reported Feb. 4, Gov. Martin O'Malley has "effective control of utility regulation in Maryland" ("PSC chief steps down").

We'll see on June 1 just how successfully and how hard Mr. O'Malley has fought for us.

Meanwhile, as electricity rates go sky high, some members of the legislature seem to want to raise taxes on almost everything, including gas (which is at record-high prices), and to allow illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates, apologize for slavery, enable former felons to vote and increase the cost of new cars.

Perhaps in the next election, Marylanders will recall Mr. OMalley's control, and let him and the Democrats know how much we appreciate their efforts.

Douglas Dribben


Rate-rise rhetoric always unrealistic

The Public Service Commission's decision to approve a 50 percent electricity rate increase for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. demonstrates one thing: The debates over electricity rate increases in the Maryland legislature and in the 2006 election campaign had little to do with the cost of electricity and much to do with election-year politics ("50% rise in BGE rates OK'd by PSC," May 24).

The 1999 legislation that created the current system of deregulation was poorly considered and deeply flawed.

The cost of electricity, like that of any other commodity, depends upon its cost of production as well as the law of supply and demand.

It is unrealistic to expect electricity rates to remain artificially low and unrelated to its costs for production.

Thus the election-year promises that a new governor and a new Public Service Commission would somehow alter that system and provide essentially a free lunch were exactly that: election-year promises.

We should well remember the PSC/BGE episode the next time a politician tells us that he or she can unring a bell.

Robert C. Erlandson


Slots offer no honor to racing or state

The Sun's editorial "Pride and persuasion" (May 22) was a powerful argument against slot machines at Pimlico Race Course, or at any location in Maryland.

I've expressed my opinion many times and in many ways. But the editorial said it best: "Maryland horse racing has a proud tradition exemplified by the Preakness. Propping it up with slot machines ... does no honor to the sport of kings."

And propping up the state budget with income from slots or from any expansion of gambling would do no honor to Maryland.

Robert G. Smith


Parties just bidding for the new voters

The ceaseless backbiting and petty bickering between Washington Democrats and Republicans has seemingly reached a pinnacle with the current debate over the "grand compromise" immigration bill ("`Guest worker' measure survives Senate test," May 23).

The prize is the future votes of 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens who could be put on a path to citizenship.

The winners will be the party that gains their favor, most likely the Democrats.

The losers will be the legal citizens of this country who will end up footing the bill for entitlements and education for the new citizens and for the loss of jobs and increased crime.

Perhaps the time has come to put an end to party affiliations.

Ron Freitag


Plan for city surplus shortchanges kids

I noted with astonishment the absence of funds for programs for children in the city's plans for its budget surplus ("City has big plans for budget surplus," May 22).

How sad that our budget crafters are far more comfortable with line items that fund an expectation of failure for our youths than with funding possibilities and opportunities for safety, better education and wholesome environments.

The city's recent decision to allocate a mere $5 million for after-school programs, which work when most juvenile crime occurs, should have put us on notice that the powers that be just don't get it when it comes to investing in activities that increase the likelihood of productive futures for our youths.

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