Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 17, 2007

Craft a moratorium on catching oysters

It is long past time for sound science and rational thinking, not political and commercial interests, to direct the management of our declining oyster population ("Oyster `restoration' costing clams," Dec. 9).

It is now widely acknowledged that the grandiose vision of achieving a "restored oyster resource occurring over a wide range throughout the Chesapeake Bay," cited in the 2004 Oyster Management Plan, is probably unattainable. But it may be possible to enhance or rehabilitate oyster populations in limited areas, such as specific reefs or tributaries.

More scientists are also voicing the opinion that restoring oysters and maintaining an open public wild fishery are mutually incompatible goals.

The era of the hunter-gatherer mentality for the remnant of our oyster fishery is over, and we should seriously consideration imposing a moratorium on the taking of oysters.

Kenneth B. Lewis

Baltimore

The writer is legislative affairs chairman for the Coastal Conservation Association.

Rising population ruins our rivers

The Sun's lengthy article "Troubled tributary" (Dec. 9) concluded with thoughts on how to fix the Choptank River's problems and made it clear that there are two major sources of pollution - farm runoff and the increasing number of residents in the region.

The article recommends many actions to reduce farm runoff, but none to reduce population growth.

But any careful observer of the established damaging trends can see that the only real hope for restoring the bay lies in stabilizing the U.S. population.

Every environmental organization should become a powerful advocate for getting population growth under control.

That has to begin with strict control of our borders to slow or stop illegal immigration. But that alone will not be enough.

Without a campaign to stabilize our population, all efforts to restore the Choptank and Chesapeake Bay are doomed to failure.

Carleton W. Brown

Elkton

Lenient sentences send wrong signal

I am somewhere between heartbroken and enraged over the outcome of the Trayvon Ramos trial ("40 years given in attack," Dec. 11)

Zachary Sowers has been in a coma since early June. How could it be that three of the co-defendants - all of whom were friends of Trayvon Ramos and watched him viciously beat, kick and stomp an innocent, accomplished young man almost to death and leave him to die on the street - have been sentenced to a mere eight years in prison? And that Mr. Ramos will be eligible for parole in 20 years?

Mr. Sowers' wife, his parents, his sister and all those who knew and loved him have been sentenced to a life of agony over the tragedy of his situation.

And what message are we sending to young, angry, violent criminals (and Baltimore has far too many of them), who clearly do not value human life and are capable of behaving in ways unthinkable to most of us, with such lenient sentences?

Myra MacCuaig

Towson

Many efforts needed to cut teen births

As an obstetrician/gynecologist, I wholeheartedly agree that we cannot be complacent about teen pregnancy ("No time for complacency," editorial, Dec. 10).

At the busy hospital where I work, I have treated many young women who have found themselves pregnant when they did not want to be.

They tell me about their dreams of finishing school, becoming professional singers and having kids when they are ready - not while they are still kids themselves.

I make sure these young women leave my office with a plan to prevent pregnancy, whether that means abstinence, birth control pills or other contraceptives.

However, it takes more than concerned doctors to lower teen birth rates.

We need comprehensive sex education in schools, so teens can learn about abstinence and contraception. And we need parents to stay involved with their kids.

Dr. Catherine Cansino

Perry Hall

The writer is a member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

Health veto a blow to families in need

President Bush justified his veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Plan by claiming that the bill would allow "adults into the program, would cover people in families with incomes above the U.S. median and raises taxes" ("As expected, Bush vetoes wider child insurance plan," Dec 13).

So how exactly would Mr. Bush explain this to the sick children who will be denied access to a doctor?

His explanation would have to go something like this: "I know you're sick and that without medical care, you will not live. I also know that what you have is totally treatable. But I can't let you see a doctor because, well, that would cost money.

"If I provided the funds, then your mommy and daddy would also be able to see a doctor and get healing if they were sick. We can't let that happen - it goes against our conservative principles."

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