O'Malley has been tough on sex offenders
The O'Malley administration has championed a number of public safety bills, but we have also made equally important changes administratively. The Division of Parole and Probation has focused its attention on known violent and sexual offenders. All sex offenders are assigned to specially trained agents, required to be under the strictest probationary terms and placed on GPS monitoring at intake. Violent offenders are placed in the Violence Prevention Initiative and, along with sex offenders, are strictly monitored for violations. Every sex offender is placed on GPS monitoring for 90 days and is subject to strict curfews or restricted movements.
Parole and probation has been using GPS to monitor sex offenders under supervision since February, and as of this month, 231 sex offenders and 1,300 total offenders have been placed on GPS monitoring.
For the past several years, we have also pursued legislation to strengthen our sex offender laws, including bills to close loopholes in current law governing sex offenders, and to fix a badly broken 2006 law to establish a Sexual Offender Advisory Board. This year, Gov. Martin O'Malley introduced legislation to conform to the federal Adam Walsh Act. In addition, the administration is sponsoring a bill that would require courts to impose lifetime supervision on certain sexual offenders to ensure that offenders released into the community are adequately monitored and subject to incarceration for violations of these strict conditions.
As mayor of Baltimore, Governor O'Malley took public safety very seriously. And his commitment to saving lives continues as governor. While there is still work to do, Marylanders should be proud of the real progress made.
Gary Maynard and Kristen Mahoney, AnnapolisThe writers are secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
Sen. Mathias was last of the true moderate Republicans
The death of Mac Mathias is a sad day for Maryland and the nation ("Md. senator was GOP 'maverick,'" Nov. 26). His passing marks the end of an era in Republican national politics, an era in which one could still be branded a Republican and sane in the same sentence. It marks the end of an era where you could be a Republican U.S. senator and you could propose worthwhile legislation while logically arguing against legislation that you opposed for practical or political reasons, in between arguing with a president of your own party who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the greatest national scandal since Teapot Dome.
With apologies to Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and to former Sen. Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, the passing of Mac Mathias also marks the end of an era where you could be a Republican member of either house of Congress and espouse more than the political version of Nancy Reagan's old maxim, "Just say no."
Edward B. "Woody" Ryder IV, Greenlawn, N.Y.
Storm water regulations would cost jobs
In your editorial on the new storm water mandates ("Storm over storm water," Jan. 26), you say that "redevelopment efforts won't be affected immediately because existing projects are exempted under a grandfather clause." Unfortunately, that is inaccurate.
Projects that are "in the pipeline" are not grandfathered. As anyone in the development community or local government can tell you, the only projects that are exempt from the new requirements are those that have already received final approvals - which typically are obtained right before construction starts. As you correctly noted, "The economic downturn has already put a damper on ... construction." That means there are many "shovel ready" projects that have already received zoning, preliminary or master plan approval of storm water design and other permits but which have been prevented, by the recession, from starting construction.
Those projects are most emphatically not grandfathered and may never be built if the Department of the Environment continues to insist that the new requirements apply to these pipeline projects. As one delegate remarked at a hearing in the House Environmental Matters Committee hearing yesterday, this is an issue of "jobs, jobs, jobs," and the construction industry needs help, not additional pain.
Michael C. Powell, BaltimoreThe writer is chairman of the environmental and energy law department of Gordon Feinblatt.
State workers have nothing to complain about
As an unemployed professional in his 50s, I found it difficult to sympathize with the caterwauling of our discontented state employee and recent college graduate over being furloughed for five days, when I've been furloughed for four months and counting ("O'Malley balances budget on the backs of state workers," Readers respond, Jan. 25).
Unless you happen to work on Wall Street, you've most likely seen your real wages plummet throughout your entire career. In welcoming the writer to the real world, I'd like to suggest that he thank his lucky stars he has a job at all.
Doug Ebbert, Bel Air