November 17, 2008

Barrier can't stop reckless drivers

All the barriers in the world won't stop reckless and aggressive drivers ("Barrier needed at crash site, state lawmaker says," Nov. 13). Although I don't drive the Bel Air Bypass and Route 24 often during evening rush hour, I did recently and was appalled by the aggressive driving I encountered.

Explosive growth has occurred in Harford County in the past few years, and more is to come with the military base realignment and closure plan. With no countywide police force, there appears to be a free-for-all mentality among drivers, especially during the evening commute. Cracking down on aggressive driving would put irresponsible drivers on notice that such behavior will not be tolerated.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann, Phoenix

While the recent head-on collision on the Bel Air Bypass was frightening and tragic, and the efforts of Sen. Barry Glassman to have a concrete barrier erected on this stretch of road are well intended ("Barrier needed at crash site, state lawmaker says," Nov. 13), it should be noted that U.S. 1 is two or four lanes of opposing barrier- and median-free lanes for most of its length from the Pennsylvania line to Washington, D.C.

It would be far more productive to keep drivers like Christopher Lentz off our highways than it would be to build a short barrier on a long and dangerous highway.

Doug Ebbert, Bel Air

Crisis at GM offers a green opportunity

Crisis is the mother of opportunity, and General Motors' crisis presents an opportunity for the nation ("GM shares hit a 60-year low," Nov. 11).

Like most great messes, GM got into its mess one step at a time. The company suffers from weak management and a bloated labor force, model lineup and dealer network.

The nation has its own car-related crisis, which is the need to quickly and decisively reduce our use of oil. We need our fleet running primarily off the grid rather than gas. To get there, we need rapid development and production of affordable, advanced plug-in hybrid systems and the batteries that they require.

General Motors offers strong foundations for what is needed. It already has a plug-in hybrid design, the Volt, although it does not have the cash to bring it to market and it would cost too much given the current cost of the batteries it uses.

To stop GM from crashing, give it loans in exchange for preferred stock. To stop its hemorrhaging of cash, tie assistance to new management that will cut sharply GM's number of brands, models and dealers. To give GM, and us, a chance to thrive, hire the company to develop the technology and production techniques we need for affordable plug-in hybrids and lighter vehicles. To take care of the workers who cannot stay at GM, cover their health insurance and pay them to go to college for technical training and degrees in order to raise the skill level of our work force, particularly for the coming green technology industries.

Mitch Lambros, Towson

Senseless to bash Bush on meeting with Obama

There seems to be no end to the senseless and petty bashing of President George W. Bush as he prepares to leave office, as demonstrated in two letters under the heading "Bush's cordial tour isn't praiseworthy" (Nov. 14).

I suppose that if the president had not extended his heartfelt and gracious invitation to the Obamas to visit the White House, there would be a whirlwind of criticism directed at him for being thoughtless and ungracious.

I'd like to remind these letter writers that President-elect Barack Obama was not invited merely for a tour. The president and the president-elect spent over an hour in private discussing important national and world issues - a vital part of the transition process.

Mike Sage, Ellicott City

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