Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 22, 2007

Slump in home sales may be boon for bay

Call me a contrarian, but two articles in Thursday's paper, "Dry spell means dry wells" (Aug. 16) and "Home sales slump in Md." (Aug. 16) convinced me that a slowdown in the housing market may not be such a terrible situation.

In fact, it may be a good thing in the long run if housing becomes less readily available.

Maryland is being overrun by the construction of strip malls and housing tracts and this cannot be good for the Chesapeake Bay watershed or, as the article on wells drying up indicates, for our water resources.

If the housing market tightens, I presume that the construction industry will curtail some of its building activity.

And perhaps the political leadership of Maryland's local jurisdictions and the state will see the wisdom of leaving what remains of our open space in a natural condition.

Our leaders might then also consider the idea that continued economic growth is not the only paradigm for a well-ordered society.

Indeed we all may have to begin to grapple with the idea that maintaining ecological and environmental stability is more important than maintaining the level of material comfort to which we have become accustomed.

Ours is a society which, for decades, has increasingly been about consumption.

But at some point, probably in the not-too-distant future, the practice of consuming the land and water resources around us is going to run smack into environmental realities.

We are reaching the limits of the population our area can support and those who say that there is such a thing as "sustainable growth" are fooling themselves.

Alan Gephardt

Baltimore

Build modest homes for slumping market

If the current housing market is slumping but the need for affordable housing is acute, then let me point out the obvious response: Build smaller houses ("Tough times ahead: Builders feel squeeze as buyers drop out of market," Aug. 18).

Create smaller rooms instead of winding staircases in huge front hallways; use regular tile on kitchen and bathroom floors instead of tile imported from Italy; forget the saunas and the swimming pools; leave out the brick fireplace.

In other words, build affordable, comfortable homes that new homebuyers can afford and that lenders will finance.

Or build three homes instead of one on an available acre.

Then, guess what? Problem solved.

Nicci Bojanowski

Baltimore

Keep slots revenue right here at home

Ocean City's mayor opposes slots not only in his city but all of Maryland ("Ocean City says slots are threat to town," Aug. 18).

He's afraid people will spend their disposable income on slots rather than on the Ocean City boardwalk. But people who like to play slots aren't going to spend their extra money on the boardwalk; they will take it to the surrounding states that do have slots.

One owner of an Ocean City hotel noted that he would rather pay higher sales tax and income tax than have slots in Maryland. That's well and good. But is he willing to pay my higher taxes as well?

We can choose whether we want to play slots; we can't choose whether we want to pay higher taxes.

Isn't it time to keep our money in Maryland instead of letting it go to surrounding states that allow slots?

Deborah Fritz

Conowingo

Snooping sullies constitutional order

I keep hoping against hope that the citizenry of this nation will come out of its trance and demand that our elected and appointed leaders obey the Constitution and the laws of the United States ("Sky snoops," editorial, Aug. 19).

We all seem to have forgotten something very important - that no matter what laws are passed by Congress or what executive orders the president issues, any laws or executive orders that are unconstitutional are null and void.

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.

But for some reason, we seem to have forgotten this extremely important fact.

Olatunji Mwamba

Baltimore

Reform in Venezuela will include public

The Sun's article "Chavez pitches reform in nation" (Aug. 16) correctly reported the proposed amendments to be debated in Venezuela's National Assembly in the coming months. However, the article hardly mentioned the procedures for reforming the nation's constitution.

As in the run-up to the plebiscite that approved Venezuela's 1999 constitution, the public will be involved throughout the whole process, from suggesting changes in the reform proposals to voting on the final draft of the constitution in a referendum.

This means the majority of Venezuelans must vote for the changes to the constitution for them to be approved.

And public involvement in the reform process is certain to be high, as Venezuela has impressive voter turnout rates (75 percent in the last presidential election) and one of the highest rates of voter registration in the hemisphere.

Venezuelan citizens also have the right to rescind any new laws passed by petitioning to hold a national referendum.

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