Volume XI, Issue 38 ~ September 18-24, 2003

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Letters to the Editor

Overhead Lines Threaten Public Safety

Dear Bay Weekly:
Thank you for your editorial [Unwiring the Skies: Mayor Moyer’s Bright Idea, Vol. XI, No 37: Sept. 11] supporting my efforts to have public utilities participate with municipalities to bury power lines.

Some reporters and editors have trivialized my concern as “tree-hugger” sentiments, dismissing the very valid points you make. Yes, this is an environmental issue. But first and foremost, it is one of public safety, and few people look at it that way.

Our society is very dependent on electricity. Health equipment and security systems are compromised when power fails. That is more than inconvenient. Not having a dependable source of energy can be life-threatening.

Hacking limbs and removing trees may seem like a cheaper, more immediate solution. However, this does not take into consideration increased energy requirements for heating and cooling adjacent properties when they lose their canopy cover, not to mention a diminished air quality because less oxygen is generated through photosynthesis.

Nor does scalping trees address other causes of power interruption. High winds, ice storms, overheating and even traffic accidents can snap lines. Loss of electricity is only one public safety concern; downed wires is another, often deadly, result of having overhead relays.

Last week a major hurricane struck Bermuda. Virtually the entire island complex lost power. Only Hamilton, the capital, with strict building codes requiring buried utilities, retained most power despite the horrendous wind, rain and flooding.
As I write this, another hurricane is looming, possibly headed our way. In Annapolis, we are meeting with all our public safety personnel and alerting our citizens how to prepare for what this storm could bring.

Hopefully, Isabel will redirect. But inevitably, we will take another shot from Mother Nature. Before that happens, we should do what we can to make sure our citizens don’t suffer power loss.

I agree with Bay Weekly that each of us needs to pressure state officials and utility companies to partner with local governments to systematically replace overhead wires. A report from a state task force studying this issue will be made before the General Assembly convenes in January.

I hope municipalities and citizens in Maryland will lobby the legislature to mandate such a cooperative effort.

— Ellen Moyer, Mayor of Annapolis

Traffic Driving Your Crazy? Take the Train

Dear Bay Weekly:
Steve Carr’s lament about the traffic congestion in the Bay area [Carr-Tunes, Vol. XI, No 37: Sept. 11] only touched on rail as part of the solution.

We could compare the peninsular geography with that of Long Island or that of the Monterey Peninsula of California. Long Island is served by the Long Island Railroad reaching 110 miles out to Montauk Point with branches to both coasts, much of it electrified.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have clean transportation powered by Chalk Point and Morgantown rather than by the Middle East?

Southern Maryland should have service on the Pope’s Creek line, Bowie-Upper Marlboro-LaPlata. We once had service Washington-Baltimore-Odenton-Annapolis, Baltimore-Glen Burnie-Annapolis, and even a trolley to Bay Ridge.

A Baltimore-Drum Point railroad was once planned. Some grading was done in the Millersville area. It would have connected with the Odenton-Annapolis line and with the Chesapeake Beach Railroad at Owings.

Any discussion of mobility, transportation, energy or land use should include the rail mode as part of the solution.

— Jim Churchill, Alexandria

Department of Corrections

Gambling on Gambling [Vol. XI, No 37: Sept. 11] misidentified Rosecroft Raceway as Maryland’s only harness-racing track. Ocean Downs Race Track on the Eastern Shore in Berlin has a summer meet each year.

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].



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Last updated September 18, 2003 @ 2:30am