Letters To The Editor


June 10, 2008

Data don't justify a new high school

Contrary to what David Marks and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell write in their column "County needs fresh thinking on schools" (Commentary, June 5), the Baltimore County Board of Education has never included a request for a northeast-area high school in its capital program.

There is a simple reason why the board has not asked for a new high school in the northeast area.

The state-rated capacity for the high schools in the northeast area is 8,727 students. The Board of Education's high school enrollment projections for the northeast area in the year 2017 indicate that there will be 8,743 high school students enrolled at that time - 16 students above what the state considers the capacity for the area.

The state would not fund a new high school for 16 students. Taxpayers would rightly be outraged at such fiscal mismanagement.

Over the past six years, with the help of state leaders and the county's legislative delegation, Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. has secured more than $178 million from the state for school renovation and construction projects in Baltimore County.

The county executive and the Baltimore County Council have allotted nearly $600 million in additional county funding, for a record amount of more than $800 million in school renovation and construction funding since 2002.

During his term of office, Mr. Smith has funded a new middle school, two new elementary schools and two new alternative schools.

In his budget released in April, the county executive included funds for a new George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology High School in Towson.

He also funded a new elementary school on the Ridge Ruxton site. The County Council approved both of these new schools.

These two projects alone will cost more than $70 million.

Actions indeed speak louder than words.

Erin Roberts, Towson

The writer is education liaison for Baltimore County.

Unite area to fight the drug trade

City Councilman William H. Cole IV shows good intentions with his proposal to impose a fine on non-city residents buying drugs in the city ("A suburban drug surcharge," June 7).

His idea is that a $1,000 fine would help defray the costs of police processing the roughly 15 percent of city drug purchasers who come here to buy narcotics and then go back to Carroll, Harford, Howard, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties to use and resell product.

Since that drug activity is rampant in the entire metropolitan area, I would propose a more cost-effective solution: Create one metropolitan police department and one metropolitan court system.

This would have the effect of creating a more streamlined set of interdiction tools, eliminating redundant functions and saving a bundle of money.

I do not question the councilman's sincerity, and I certainly support the intent of his bill. However, we can't treat the city as a drug-selling colony and the suburbs as a drug-using colony.

We need to merge our civic governments to solve the problem.

But do we have the will and the courage to take this step?

Carl Hyman, Baltimore

Criminals' free ride hurts other citizens

Reporter Melissa Harris quotes a Baltimore Circuit Court judge who says, "You have to remember the state's low batting average in Baltimore. The quality of the jurors, witnesses, police investigation and prosecution all come together to be us: Baltimore in 2008" ("Plea of guilty in murder," June 5).

This line says a lot about crime in the city.

Criminals are getting a free ride at the expense of the citizenry. This has to end immediately.

We deserve better, but we are not getting it.

Richard L. Lelonek, Baltimore

Miller personifies case for term limits

State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is a prime example of why we need term limits for our elected officials ("Not ready to quit, Miller declares re-election bid," June 5).

He's decided he's going to run for the state Senate again in 2010. The only people who will have a chance to vote against Mr. Miller are those who live in his district in Prince George's and Calvert counties. And it's obvious they won't vote him out.

Meanwhile, the rest of the state has to put up with his decisions.

It looks like the only way to get rid of Mr. Miller is for the rest of us to move into his jurisdiction and vote him out.

D. Pazourek, Sparks

Obama takes torch for new generation

The Sun's patronizing editorial "An honorable defeat" (June 7) completely missed the real reason for Sen. Hillary Clinton's loss of the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

The reason is what the ancient Greeks called hubris.

From the beginning of her campaign right up to the bitter and unnecessarily prolonged end, Mrs. Clinton (and, I suppose, her husband) believed she was entitled to the nomination.

Apparently neither of the Clintons expected that someone else might have the gall to strongly contest her "right" to the nomination.

But, like it or not, the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.

David Robinette, Glen Burnie

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