Vast inequity in state's priorities
Did anyone else notice the disgusting juxtaposition of articles on page one of the Metro section on Monday, Jan. 7?
One was Dan Rodricks' column titled, "Ill, disabled, nowhere to go." It told of the plight of folks who, through no fault of their own, find themselves not only homeless, but also ill or disabled. Some undergo surgery in a hospital and are released to convalesce where?
Next to this excellent column was an article headlined "Stadium Tab: $11.1 million for lawyers, consultants." It began: "In three years, the Maryland Stadium Authority has spent $11.1 million on legal and consulting fees connected with construction of a 46,000-seat ballpark for the Orioles."
The article went on to report on other costs connected with the construction of the stadium dizzying, incredible amounts of money and told also the sources of these funds, such as revenue bonds and revenues from the state lottery.
Somewhere our values are skewed. I am an Orioles fan, but I cannot justify this kind of inequity. When there are people so needy, how can we in good conscience pour so much money into something so frivolous as a stadium.?
Where will the gambling revenues go after the stadium is built? Would it be possible to channel some to these people who need it so badly?
Are any of us selfless, just and compassionate enough to encourage our powerful leaders to remedy the appalling inequity so forcefully revealed by these two articles?
Barbara B. Woodey
In a sense, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday's coinciding with the deadline date for the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait was symbolic. While we missed the celebrations and tributes to Dr. King, we also felt his noble spirit and remembered his efforts for ++ peace within our hearts. It provided a sense of serenity, even sanity, at a time when much of the world appeared to have gone mad.
Long after the defeat of tyrants, Dr. King's memory will be preserved and his birthday properly acknowledged.
Beverly K. Fine
# See article below
I was disappointed to read Wiley Hall's column, "Drug tests waste time and money" (Jan. 3). Unfortunately, Mr. Hall focused on the estimated cost of the program (approximately $400,000 per year), instead of the values a drug-free workplace promulgates.
Mr. Hall overlooks the fact that citizens expect state employees in "safety-sensitive" occupations to be free of drugs. When a person boards an MTA bus or the Metro, she or he should be able to assume drugs aren't influencing the operator.
And let's not forget this month's anniversary of the Amtrak-Conrail train wreck in Chase, in which two railroad employees were smoking marijuana.
There is much more to drug testing than dollars and cents. Maryland is providing a leadership role that I applaud. A drug-free workplace throughout the state is an initiative that makes perfect sense.
William A. Kelly Jr.
Remember when Maryland had surplus money to operate its government? That was prior to the Schaefer administration and before things got completely out of hand.
Never before has so much money been fed into the state as now. But because of very bad management, we now face our worst deficit ever.
We don't need more taxes; we need someone to run the state government properly. Then we will enjoy a surplus once more.
Joseph P. Bitter Sr.
John A. Andryszak's letter, "Insurance reform" (Forum, Jan. 8), in which he deplores the idea of rural and suburban Maryland citizens being asked to subsidize the costs of Baltimore city's drivers, prompts this thought:
When are we going to start calling a spade a spade? All subsidy programs, from the U.S. Postal Service to Amtrak and the M.T.A., are nothing more than managed economy, for which the consumer pays twice, first through his tax dollars, and again through the retail outlets.
Now City Council President Mary Pat Clarke would have us subsidize yet another "weak sister," the automobile insurance premiums of Baltimore city's drivers.
When are our politicians going to "come out of the closet" and call these subsidies by their less attractive name? The name is "socialism," not "subsidization."
It seems that in this case "a rose by any other name" would not smell nearly so sweet.
Blanche K. Coda
Reviving the city
The proposal by Gov. William Donald Schaefer for a joint city and state master plan for the eastern Inner Harbor appears to have merit.
It may cut red tape, revive faltering projects and increase state aid to the city. Unity and cooperation will be needed between the governor and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke. If the plan materializes, there may be a restoration of business operations that are vacant and in bankruptcy. It is worth looking into the plan of commercial redevelopment, to increase activity, invite business investment and increase the revenues of state and city
Fed up with taxes
Are Mr. R. Robert Linowes and his tax commission out of touch, or what? He reminds me of a traveler who spends a lot of time and effort doing railroad research. But when he arrives at the station with his reams of information, he finds the last train has gone and left him behind.
Perhaps Mr. Linowes should reroute a little of that research effort into analyzing what the voters just said in the last election. They are fed up with government bungling and waste and the insatiable desire for more taxes. And they are particularly fed up with Maryland being on everybody's list of the states with the highest taxes.
My guess is that the General Assembly has a little better feel for popular opinion and for fiscal reality, particularly in these recessionary times.