Letters To The Editor


August 03, 2008

Make arena model for green design

We were thrilled to read Dan Rodricks' column on the greening of the new arena ("Let's go green with arena," July 27) and could not agree more that this facility presents an incredible opportunity not just to meet city and state requirements for green buildings but also to serve as an example of how a public facility can operate responsibly.

The project could even be used to educate the public about how buildings actually become "green," what that means, why it should matter to people and perhaps how they can incorporate some green features into their own homes and businesses.

Even though the environmental movement has reached a tipping point over the past 12 months, there are still many naysayers and nonbelievers on green design, and many people who don't even know that there is a very real environmental crisis lurking around the corner.

Many other people still don't see that this crisis is going to affect them right where they live and work and play.

But the environmental challenges we face are not someone else's problem anymore.

If the arena is designed by a visionary architect, it could be built with consideration to green design in every detail, from incorporating every possible scrap of metal and bolt that can be reused to using nontoxic paints and fabrics, low-flow or waterless urinals and solar energy.

At each step of the project, the developers and the building owners could work with the city to make it a learning opportunity for the public.

Arenas are supposed to bring people together in a common cause. Why not bring them together from the very beginning as the building is being designed?

Peter Doo Lorraine Tunis Doo, Baltimore

The writers are partners in a sustainability consulting firm.

Build it green or don't bother

Dan Rodricks is right on target when he says the new downtown arena must be built green ("Let's go green with arena," July 27).

Of course, that would cost more. But it would be cheaper in the long run, and I hope it would set a precedent for future buildings.

Let's build the arena as green as we know how to - or not build it at all.

Margaret Coates, Havre de Grace

Drilling wouldn't slash gas prices

Efforts to remove the ban on drilling for oil off parts of the U.S. coastline are built on a fundamental distortion of fact - the claim that more drilling would significantly reduce gas prices ("Bill to open U.S. oil reserve fails," July 25).

The truth is that oil prices are set by an international market dominated by a cartel.

The Bush administration's own Department of Energy states in its published reports that drilling off our coasts would have no significant impact on gasoline prices - not in the short term, not in the long term, not ever.

The real impact of offshore drilling would be to increase our dependence on oil and produce more global warming pollution.

If we want to help consumers at the pump, we need to require automakers to use modern technology that can improve the gas mileage of all vehicles.

Brad Heavner, Baltimore

The writer is state director of Environment Maryland.

Congress continues to pile up huge debt

Part of the housing bailout bill passed by Congress and signed by President Bush was a provision raising the national debt ceiling, again ("Bush signs housing bailout package," July 31).

This ceiling has been raised so many times I have lost count. It is now well more than $10 trillion, and counting.

A ceiling that continuously floats upward is not really a ceiling, is it?

How very annoying it must it be to the politicians in Washington to constantly have to raise the debt ceiling, just so they can spend money that they don't really have.

Why don't they just cut to the chase and raise the debt "ceiling" to $87 gazillion?

Iver Mindel, Cockeysville

Big borrower wins very little sympathy

After reading "Rescue is quirk of timing" (July 30), I wondered, are we supposed to feel sorry for someone in a $545,000 home she bought and could not afford? I don't want to seem crass, but what happened to individual accountability with regard to personal finance?

When my wife and I were looking for our first home 20 years ago, one of the brokers kept trying to put us in homes that would have stretched us financially. We saw this and rectified the problem by not using that broker.

If a person cannot figure out his or her own expense-to-income ratio and what he or she can afford, that person should at least know enough to get help from a trusted adviser.

It's also not rocket science to know that if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage, you need to know how much you might end up on the hook for in a worst-case scenario and either be able to afford it or have an exit plan if you can't.

I resent my tax dollars being spent on those who have spent beyond their means.

I don't see the U.S. Treasury sending me a payment toward my Visa bill.

Robert Schwartz, Baltimore

Blame belongs with the debtors

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