December 16, 2008

Red Line plan just isn't rapid enough

A rapid east-west mass transit route is definitely something this city needs ("Getting on board," Dec. 10). But "rapid" is the key word, and the 4C alternative the city seems almost certain to pursue would be anything but rapid.

Under the 4C plan, it would take 41 minutes to get from Bayview to the Social Security administration headquarters in Woodlawn. According to the Maryland Transit Administration's timetables and my own commuting experiences, the No. 40 "Quickbus" now runs that route in 45 to 50 minutes.

I know additional tunneling on the Red Line route would be costly. But do we really want to spend all this money on a transit line that would reduce the trip time by four minutes?

Plan 4C would mostly benefit those who commute from Fells Point or Canton to downtown. This is definitely a needed service. But for those, like me, who commute to the Social Security Administration headquarters, the 4C train would not be much quicker than the bus.

As I understand it, the idea of the Red Line is to get people on trains who are currently driving. But people will never get out of their cars if driving is quicker than riding public transit.

So whom would this system serve? Not the people who are already riding public transit.

Jonathan Howard, Baltimore

Abortion advocate cited as authority

It is not surprising that Dr. Robert Blum, the authority cited in Susan Reimer's column "Studying the truth about consequences," (Dec. 8) found little reliable research to support the claims that abortion has long-lasting ill effects on mental health.

Dr. Blum is a former board chairman of the Guttmacher Institute.

Since the Guttmacher Institute is associated with Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, Dr. Blum could hardly be called an impartial researcher in this field.

His interest in abortion advocacy should have been revealed in Ms. Reimer's column.

Lisa Basarab, Baltimore

Why waste energy purging unused laws?

I'm curious as to why City Councilman James B. Kraft is wasting his time and taxpayer dollars on such foolishness ("Past time to purge archaic city laws," letters, Dec. 9).

I think his time and energy would be better spent dealing with the city business at hand - including the budget woes and the multitude of other problems the city faces.

Why scour the book for archaic laws that aren't enforced anyway?

Richard Thompson, Catonsville

Shoe-thrower sends an overdue message

For years, huge and growing numbers in the domestic and international communities have wondered: Where's the outrage over the actions of President Bush.

At long last comes Muntadar al-Zeidi, an Iraqi journalist, who threw his shoes at Mr. Bush during a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ("Bush visit to Iraq marred by protest," Dec. 15).

Most of the American and Iraqi people celebrate the end of the Bush regime and look forward to the end of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Michael J. Marsalek, Bel Air

Thank you, Muntadar al-Zeidi, for doing what so many of us have dreamed of doing over these last eight years but have never had the chance to do.

President Bush deserves neither respect nor gratitude for his destruction of an entire country and its culture.

Mr. Bush refuses to acknowledge his responsibility for the thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths and millions of refugees his invasion of Iraq has caused, and he will most likely never be held accountable for his crimes against humanity, Iraq and his own country.

I only wish the shoes had hit him.

Maria Allwine, Baltimore

Flying Bush to Iraq is a waste of funds

Please explain to me why the president's latest trip to Iraq, which must have cost the government hundreds of thousands of dollars, is any different from the auto executives flying to Washington on their private jets ("Bush visit to Iraq marred by protest," Dec. 15)?

Both trips are a waste of money - a waste that neither the auto companies nor the federal government can afford.

Wallace C. Knapp, Ellicott City

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