Volume 13, Issue 48 ~ December 1 - December 7, 2005

Letters to the Editor

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There Is Hope for a Better Bay

Dear Bay Weekly:

In his column, “The Sorry State of Our Bay — Part 1: Faint Hope” [Vol. xiii, No 47: Nov. 23], Bill Burton concludes that there is little hope to be found for Bay improvement. He also concludes that people are complacent and not about to drive the changes needed to clean up the Bay. I firmly believe that Bill is right; and wrong.

On our current path, with our current mindset, we are decades away from any significant changes in the Bay. However, Bill Burton does hit upon the key element that could change that quickly. If the people — that is, large numbers of the general public — develop some determination to help the Bay, then it will happen. The real problem is that most people have only a vague sense of the Bay’s ills. They certainly can’t articulate its problems or solutions, and there is almost nothing to provide them a clear focus.

Where does one go to understand the economic, social and environmental implications of an ailing Chesapeake Bay? On the other hand, why would one even seek such an understanding? After all, we’ve got to get to and from work, get dinner on the table, get kids to soccer, make sure homework is done and so on and so on

There is a lot of work to be done on Bay issues, but the very next step should be to bring it into focus for people. It needs to be boiled down, rendered into a short and sweet message and sold to the public as if we’re selling candy bars or cars. A report card once every November simply won’t cut it.

As much as I dislike government bureaucracy, I believe that the Bay needs a watershed-wide governmental organization to plead its case and a commitment from state, local and municipal governments throughout the 64,000 square miles of the Bay drainage basin. In its initial stages, this Bay Watershed Organization would be funded by the general operating budgets of participating states and federal funds. However, an immediate attempt should be made to create voluntary payroll deduction programs dedicated to funding Bay improvements.

It also needs five key elements: a Bay czar; “A Better Bay” marketing campaign; a Bay barometer; “A Better Bay” logo; “A Better Bay” website.

If Bill Burton is still skeptical after reading this, well I guess I can’t really blame him. But Bill, what other new Bay ideas have you heard in the past 20 to 30 years?

—Tom Hampton, Severna Park

and Candidate for U.S. Senate

Local Bounty Fills Holiday Calendar

Dear Bay Weekly:

I love the Local Bounty pull-out [insert to Vol. xiii, No. 46] and have it strategically located where I can plan all my holiday adventures. The old-fashioned pictures were delightful. Bravo. I know that’s a great deal of work.

—Janice F. Booth, Annapolis

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