Letter

LETTER

December 09, 2008

Keeping open space away from developers

Last week, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced plans to protect more than 9,000 acres of environmentally significant land that will be made available to Maryland residents ("State plans to preserve 9,200 acres," Dec. 4).

Some may wonder whether, given the current economic climate, this is the appropriate time for such a move. It absolutely is.

We should not wait for real estate prices to peak again to purchase and protect such jewels. Waiting would ultimately waste state resources. Mr. O'Malley and the nonprofit organizations that helped structure these agreements should be applauded for making this happen now.

Funding for land conservation in Maryland comes from sources dedicated for this purpose, so the time to buy is now, when previously unavailable lands are affordable.

With sprawl claiming new parts of our communities and the state every day, we can't be pacified by the scraps developers leave behind.

The governor also rolled out GreenPrint, a state-of-the-art geographic information system tool for proactive, planned and strategic land conservation.

The Trust for Public Land's recent Parks for People Community Rivers study and maps of the western shore of Chesapeake Bay and its major tributaries showed that just 20 percent of these shorelines are currently protected.

Such tools can tell us what land should be conserved and what can be developed.

These are the right tools at the right time with the right results.

Rose Harvey, New York

The writer is a senior vice president of the Trust for Public Land.

Wrong time to spend money to buy land

Am I the only one who saw the irony in Thursday's paper - Page 1A tells us that the state will save $34 million because of furloughs of state workers ("Taking a hit," Dec. 4) while on Page 3A it is reported that the governor has elected to spend $71 million for land preservation ("State plans to preserve 9,200 acres," Dec. 4).

Surely these land purchases are a discretionary expenditure that can be deferred. And while the funds for the purchases are generated from real estate transfer taxes, surely the legislature can change this law, at least for one year.

Everyone else is tightening his or her belt; the state can do so, too.

Marty Etzel, Towson

Will the governor take a furlough?

Gov. Martin O'Malley has called for furloughs for state workers, with resulting loss of pay, to help balance the state budget ("Furloughs criticized," Dec. 5).

Mr. O'Malley is one of the highest-paid employees on the state payroll.

So my question is: How many furlough days will he take, and how much will the state save?

Iver Mindel, Cockeysville

Confederate heritage nothing to celebrate

I'm getting tired of revisionist twaddle from the Sons of Confederate Veterans ("Hopkins intolerant of traditional values," letters, Dec. 5).

There was nothing noble or honorable about fighting for the Confederacy. This was a league of traitors who precipitated a war that led to the deaths of more than 600,000 Americans.

Should anyone doubt that the war was fought over the practice of human slavery, I suggest they read the secession declarations of the various Confederate state legislatures.

After their disgraceful rebellion was crushed, many of these Southern "gentlemen" engaged in a war of terror to prevent their former slaves from enjoying the rights they were entitled to under the Constitution.

This is a tradition we should be ashamed of, not celebrate.

I applaud the decision of Johns Hopkins to refuse to be associated with this nonsense. And, as for the Lee-Jackson monument, perhaps the time has come to melt it down and recast it as a memorial to the victims of slavery and lynchings and the heroes of the civil rights era.

Dick Boulton, Ellicott City

Simpson's sentence may offer some comfort

Like most members of the legal community, I am glad to see that O.J. Simpson is going to prison.

I hope this brings some comfort to Ron Goldman's parents and Nicole Brown's children, who will spend yet another Christmas with unspeakable grief.

Denny Olver, Baltimore

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