Letters

LETTERS

December 04, 2008

DBED isn't gambling with state's resources

I read with interest the editorial "Gambling blindly" (Dec. 2), which aptly summarized a host of past problems at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development that were recently brought to light by a legislative audit.

Sadly, our agency's recordkeeping was lax, but we have identified and corrected all the auditor's concerns. And we have refocused the agency, streamlined operations and targeted resources to maximize productivity. I am proud to say these efforts are paying off.

DBED is moving quickly to design and launch the Maryland Biotechnology Center, part of Gov. Martin O'Malley's innovative 10-year, $1.3 billion investment plan to make Maryland a world leader in the bioscience industry.

We have also enhanced Maryland's international efforts, which has led to a record year for Maryland exports and helped us attract more than 10 foreign companies to the state.

In these troubling economic times, I want to assure all Marylanders that today's DBED is a focused, efficient and accountable agency that is working hard to attract businesses, create good-paying jobs and expand economic opportunities for Marylanders, not gambling state taxpayer dollars on questionable promotions.

David W. Edgerley, Baltimore

The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Invest in infrastructure for a greener future

The editorial "Moving the economy" (Nov. 30) offered great suggestions about how we can jump-start our economy and at the same time revitalize our aging infrastructure.

But in deciding what projects to advance, the Maryland Department of Transportation needs to consider their long-term economic benefits.

Building road bypasses and highways, instead of investing in public transit and repairing old roads, will only contribute to our dependence on oil, our carbon emissions and the myriad costs of sprawling development.

This stimulus package needs to consider not just short-term job creation but also whether we'll benefit from an investment in the future.

Mike Sherling, Baltimore

The writer is a program associate for Environment Maryland.

MTA can't even learn how to take our fares

As a regular bus rider, I often rode for free during November because the bus fare boxes were not working.

In my 26 trips in November, the fare boxes were not working on five of them.

Is this representative of the whole bus system? If so, it is a major drain on transit revenue.

The Maryland Transit Administration is planning service cuts and layoffs but seems to be unable to accept cash in hand from riders who are ready, willing and able to pay.

MTA needs to learn a basic rule of business: Always take the money.

Ted Kruse, Baltimore

Why not ask Arabs to promote peace?

The Baltimore Sun's editorial about what President-elect Barack Obama needs to do in various trouble spots across the globe mentioned two initiatives to advance peace between Palestinians and Israelis: one, stop Israel's West Bank settlements and two, reimagine the exurbs of Jerusalem ("Security priorities," Dec. 2).

But where is the balance? Both initiatives either disadvantage Israel or fail to put any onus on the Palestinians.

What about Arabs renouncing terrorism? Or accepting Israel's right to exist?

Israel has made compromises on territory and handed back hundreds of prisoners; name one thing that Palestinians have done to advance the cause of peace?

Maybe that's the reason we're still so far from a truce in the Middle East.

Rabbi Elan Adler, Baltimore

Unfair to ask India to show restraint

India has suffered its own "9/11," and some of its feelings of rage are now, with some justification, directed at Pakistan ("Evidence of ties to Pakistan mounts," Dec. 3).

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went to India to try to help resolve the situation, and to counsel temperance. But after our own 9/11, is there any country or agency we might have listened to in our rage and pain?

Why should we expect the Indian government to listen to us?

Shirley Cammack, Sykesville

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