Four ways to improve taxi service
Your editorials (Oct. 5 and Oct 15) concerning taxi service in Baltimore describe it as the worst in the region, and you profess the causes to be a mystery.
The shortage of drivers has several causes:
1. The high rate of employment this region enjoys.
2. The highly publicized crimes committed against cabbies.
3. The low taxi rates and high gas prices which reduce the drivers' income.
In an effort to remedy the problem, the cab companies are working together on the following programs:
1. Mayor Kurt Schmoke is using the resources of the city to help us locate qualified drivers.
2. We are working with the deputy police commissioner and the Maryland Public Service Commission to find ways of protecting our drivers from street violence.
3. We have placed a reward of up to $2,000 with Metro Crime Stoppers to be used to identify individuals perpetrating crimes against cab drivers.
4. We have petitioned the MPSC for a rate increase. Baltimore currently has the lowest taxi rates in the nation. If the PSC grants the increase (the first since 1984) we hope the additional income will attract new drivers.
Daniel H. Setzer
The writer is general manager of the Royal Taxicab Association.
Your editorial concerning taxi service, in which you stated that this city "has the worst taxi service in the region, especially given that neighboring Washington, D.C., has excellent service," demonstrates an appalling lack of knowledge of our industry and the region.
Despite of the favorable economic condition for taxicabs in D.C. the Washington Post reported, "D.C. taxis called the worst." Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of a Senate subcommittee which oversees the district's budget, said: "I think some of the Third World capitals are better."
Mark L. Joseph
The writer is president of Yellow & Checker Cab Co.
Life on the street
Today as I walked down the street, I saw a homeless man. I felt embarrassed as I saw him rise to start his day.
He had slept the evening on a dumpster lid, just off a busy downtown street. Like so many of us, he did his morning wake-up routine, but he had no water. And like so many of us, he paused to see the sun and consider the start of a new day.
I wondered how different his dreams and hopes and ambitions were from mine.
This poor soul was probably no less deserving of the amenities that we take for granted every day. Who among us has not seen this situation -- and thought that there for the grace of God go I?
Yet how easy it is for us to feel sorrow, if only but for a moment, and then go along our way, more concerned with our weekend plans than with a fellow human.
Sure, there are programs for the homeless. There are soup kitchens for the hungry and a place for the aged.
As we mourn depressed economics in formerly communist countries, criticize select global civil rights violations and condemn certain madmen, we ought to pause and look around. We should consider the people and the despair that are not always thousands of miles away, but here in America.
Taxing the rich
Why is President Bush so interested in lowering the capital gains tax? Is it for the rich people? Just as the rich oil companies in the United State are now making money hand over fist at the expense of the working people of our country, perhaps the oil people of the United States are working in collusion with Saddam Hussein in order to become richer.
I believe Mr. Bush made a fatal mistake in sending military aid to Saudi Arabia, and his goose is cooked in regard to becoming a second-term president.
William T. Werneth Sr.
In response to an editorial in the Oct. 2 Evening Su concerning Dennis Rasmussen and the 2 percent tax cap, if Rasmussen had managed Baltimore County in a more cost-efficient way, he wouldn't be in the predicament he is now in.
He should have listened to the cries of the taxpayers. But no, he waits until an election year and then jumps on the bandwagon by enacting a 4 percent tax cap. Now the citizens are angry and are demanding by referendum a 2 percent cap.
Rasmussen is running his campaign just as he has run the county spend, spend, spend. If Rasmussen had gotten out and listened to his constituency, instead of hiding out in his million-dollar renovated suite of offices, he wouldn't have to go on TV and radio to explain to people why he has run his administration the way he has.
Albert C. Kuhar Jr.