November 05, 2008

Do more to promote Md.'s green economy

The editorial "Making Maryland green" (Nov. 2) is correct in calling for aggressively promoting alternative energy. But I would suggest that the state needs to do much more.

The editorial mentions, in passing, that the recent $700 billion federal financial rescue package included an additional $150 billion in tax breaks and incentives.

Included among the tax provisions are an estimated $18 billion in tax credits for innovating clean power and energy-efficiency systems and conservation, including everything from extending the all-important energy-efficient commercial building deduction to creating a tax credit for electricity created by waves, tides or ocean currents.

Beyond those federal tax credits, Maryland should and must promote alternative energy with voluntary incentives to private developers, whether through tax breaks, direct grants or loans or advantages in processing approvals for green buildings.

Since Baltimore, Howard County and Montgomery County all have laws on the books requiring that new building or major renovation projects that exceed a certain square footage must be constructed to a green building standard, the state has good reason to pursue incentives to spur a broader green economy.

Stuart Kaplow, Towson

The writer is an attorney who works on green building issues.

Let energy executives grill foolish legislators

The "grilling" meted out by lawmakers to executives of Constellation Energy Group flowed in exactly the wrong direction ("Under the microscope," Oct. 30).

Two years ago, a merger was on the table with Florida's FPL Group in a deal valued at more than $12 billion. Now the deal for the company is valued at $4.7 billion.

This astounding loss of value to stockholders should be credited to our state's political leaders. They bungled deregulation amid false and unkeepable promises to ratepayers. Now they pretend to bring wise judgment to the latest merger proposals? I don't think so.

Only a willing suspension of disbelief could support their continued interference in the utility marketplace.

Indeed, our regulators and lawmakers should thank their lucky stars that any utility would risk a dime of capital to provide electricity in the hostile business climate of their making.

Geoffrey S. Parker, Dunkirk

'Boutique medicine' is a smart choice

Boutique medicine is not only for the rich but also for the smart ("Readers speak out on 'boutique' medicine," letters, Oct. 29).

My boutique doctor charges per day about what a pack-a-day smoker spends on cigarettes.

I don't see only rich people smoking, do you?

Gary Brohawn, Ellicott City

Concealed weapons allow self-defense

The letter from a woman documenting her experience riding the light rail in Baltimore might as well have been a send-up of everything that is wrong with our 911 "Dial-a-Prayer" system and Maryland's refusal to allow its citizens to exercise their right to self-defense ("MTA must do more to make light rail safe," Oct. 20).

She and her female companion were verbally assaulted by nine men and placed in so much fear that they fled their compartment and dialed 911. The police response was not reassuring; the dispatcher couldn't figure out whose jurisdiction the caller was in and wasted precious minutes finding where she was.

Fortunately, in this case, the women ended up safe and the thugs fled at the next stop when a Maryland Transit Administration employee boarded the train.

I believe that we should create laws that allow more citizens to carry concealed guns legally in Maryland, and I think this woman's story is a prime example of why we need to do so. The letter writer did everything Maryland allows her to do: Retreat, dial 911 and pray. Luckily for her, everything ended up fine and she was safe. But what if it hadn't? What if the nine men in question had decided to follow her? What if the dispatcher hadn't figured out where she was? What if hope and prayer had failed?

The police are helpful, and I appreciate everything they do; however, no one's personal safety can reasonably be trusted to someone who, on a good day, may be three to five minutes away.

Charles Soverns, Severn

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