Volume 13, Issue 10 ~ March 10 - 16, 2005
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Bay Weekly Interview:
U.S. Congressman Wayne Gilchrest

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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters — with name and address. 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 [email protected]. or submit your letters on line, click here

8 Days a Week Draws a Crowd

Dear Bay Weekly:
Thanks for your help in spreading the word about our Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis concerts, which I work as a volunteer to promote. I also wanted to thank you for doing such a wonderful calendar listing for the Brian Ganz concert in January. Your paper must have good readership because we always get a crowd at the door when you print something about us. The Ganz concert was a sellout and raised $4,000 for Annapolis social service organizations. You’re doing a great job!

—Sydnia Jacobs, Severna Park

More on Banneker-Douglass Museum

Dear Bay Weekly:
Thanks for reporter Carrie Steele’s great article on the Banneker-Douglass Museum and the Lewis Museum [Vol. XIII, No. 24: Feb. 24]. We’ll keep you posted on our planned “soft” opening in May.

—Elizabeth P. Stewart: Research Historian, Banneker-Douglass Museum

Hold Negligent Drivers Responsible

Dear Bay Weekly:
It is time to drive home a critical message to Maryland House Judiciary Committee Chair Joseph Vallario and Maryland Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee Chair Brian Frosh on behalf of all people riding on Maryland roads.

With so many Maryland legislators and residents supporting HB137 and SB270, this needs to be the session to enact legislation holding criminally negligent drivers accountable. We all deserve safer streets, and victims deserve to see more just consequences for serious and substantial criminal negligence behind the wheel.

Hundreds of Maryland families have lost a family member to negligent drivers in just the past several years. These same grieving families have also faced the additional pain of knowing no laws currently exist in Maryland to deter others from committing the same reckless acts.

When someone is killed as a result of another driver’s gross recklessness or negligence, the offender is given a traffic citation, which, upon conviction, only results in a small fine and traffic points. While there is jail time when alcohol is involved, there is no jail time when someone with a clear mind decides to drive in a reckless manner.

Delegate Simmons’ House Bill 137 — Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel — Criminal Negligence and the cross-filed Senate Bill 270 by Sen. Jennie M. Forehand will close this loophole. The legislation would make it a misdemeanor for a person to cause the death of another as a result of driving in a criminally negligent manner. If found guilty, the person could face up to three years in jail and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.

The bills’ wording holds drivers accountable for gross negligence; the wording does not impose harsh penalties for simple acts of negligence or for true accidents. While the passage of this bill will not change what has happened to the drivers responsible for the hundreds of traffic fatalities on Maryland’s roads, it will serve as a deterrent and increase safe driving on our roads from this point forward. This same law already exists in at least 13 other states.

I believe all residents should contact their district’s officials and Delegate Vallario to be sure this loophole finally sees the legislation it needs.

—Barry Weisman, Germantown

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