Editor: There has been talk of selling the Maryland Institute's Lucas Collection for more than a year. Now this outrageous idea has been made public. Yet another institution of higher learning wants to rob Baltimore of a component of its artistic heritage. In so doing, it will further reduce this city as a cultural and educational center and imperil its chances of receiving bequests in the future.
One cannot have great institutions of learning if primary research materials are sold. Two cases-in-point are the Peabody Conservatory's recent sale of the Audubon volumes and other materials, and Johns Hopkins University's sale of Evergreen House's American Coin Collection. Does the Maryland Institute really want to follow in these institutions' footsteps?
Do these institutions not realize that they are not only losing irreplaceable treasures but are also jeopardizing future bequests. Potential donors will not want to leave a lifetime's work to an organization that will disregard the effort expended in acquiring a collection by selling it off to the highest bidder unless the very survival of the institution is at stake -- something that does not appear to be the case here.
Shame on the Maryland Institute for even considering such a disgraceful step. Following other institutions' bad example does not justify what is probably a violation of the donor's intent. If the Lucas Collection must be sold, then let it be sold to Baltimore museums, so that Baltimoreans can continue to enjoy it. Perhaps the amount of money raised would not be so great as if the collection were sold at auction, but money isn't everything.
C. James Troy Jr.
Editor: I work at Pimlico Race Course running the clubhouse elevator, which gives me a lot of time for thinking and seeing the public. I never wrote to a newspaper before, but the situation in Saudi Arabia really bothers me, and I don't even have anyone close to me over there.
Whenever anyone complains about anything, I ask them if they would like to be shipped to the Middle East. In between taking people up and down on the elevator I write to soldiers (men and women) to give support in my own small way.
I'd like to challenge everyone who works for the public to try to have a better attitude. Things can always be worse, and I know I love America, and I thank God every day that I can still be here.
Editor: The headline tells the story. ''Increasing layoffs may fuel recession.'' Throughout the nation, profits are down, losses are mounting, people are losing their jobs and cost-cutting has become standard operating procedure.
But in Washington, D.C., our elected officials are getting ready to enjoy the $30,000 pay raises they voted themselves. High-paid Senior Executive Service executives in federal agencies (the lowest paid now gets $71,200 a year) are getting ready to enjoy the 18 to 25 percent pay raises they will get in 1991. Federal employees have been guaranteed annual pay raises for 1992, 1993 and 1994. And beginning in 1994, or sooner, federal employees who live in high-cost areas will receive extra wages above and beyond the increased wages they will already be getting.
And let's not forget President Bush's decision -- now being challenged -- to allow the Air Force general who was fired for publicly discussing war plans involving Iraq, to stay on the Air Force payroll until Jan. 1, at which time he will qualify for a $17,000 increase in his annual pension ($75,900 instead of just $58,650).
Richard T. Seymour
On Mike Davies
Editor: Connecticut woke up September 9 to see a farewell note from one of its leading citizens in the Hartford Courant. After seven years as publisher of the nation's oldest newspaper, Michael Davies was picking up stakes and family and heading for Baltimore.
The sudden goodbye was the only sign most had of his departure. In his note to readers, Mr. Davies explained that he dislikes farewells. Well, we do too, but because we missed the opportunity to speak out directly to him before he left, we'd like to do so through your letters column.
During his seven years here, Mike was a fair and professional newsman. Many of us in business and government felt the sting of his disapproval from time to time. But, he also was quick to praise what he saw as good for the community.
In seven years, he took a newspaper that many felt had lost touch with its readers and poured resources into increasing its local news and improving its service. He put a face on the paper in his weekly report to readers. He printed photos of reporters and their telephone numbers.
He printed his own home telephone number prominently for disgruntled readers to call, and in case readers considered a call to him too extreme, he established an ombudsman's office devoted to dealing with complaints.