Rocking the Boat
Editor: It is a sad day for the citizens of Maryland when the press makes a conscious decision to report only sensational news. The weekly coverage of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's meetings with constituents concerning their negative comments about his performance is getting old. I have never met the governor, nor have I spoken with him. I would like to say that we finally have a leader who is willing to meet his detractors face to face and discuss issues. No other leader in my lifetime was ever willing, nor were any ever wise enough to do this.
Governor Schaefer has devoted a lifetime to the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland and has never compromised his ethics. He put this dying city back on the path of prosperity and is managing to do the same with the state. His weekly phone calls and visits to various citizens prove that this man listens to everyone.
Here is a man who is not enamored with the title of his office and is not afraid to let people know he has feelings, too. How many times would we look the other way when our name is being vilified and our loved ones are being held up to public ridicule? His combative style is what made other cities take notice at the progress our city was making. Give the man a break.
If you are going to print negative articles about the man, then print his accomplishments. They would far out-number the few mistakes. There is an old saying, ''If you are not rocking the boat, you're not paddling." Governor Schaefer is paddling harder and faster than any chief executive this state has ever had and he is making the ''me first'' generation look bad.
Kelly O. Miller.
Editor: The decision by the Schmoke administration to solve the budget crunch by freezing salaries across the board is a short-sighted, simplistic attempt at finding a quick fix without adequately assessing the full impact of such a move.
I assume that the mayor believes that his approach is even-handed, but that is far from the case.
Furthermore, the unions that represent city employees obviously lack the knowledge and/or leadership to serve as appropriate advocates for their membership.
They appear to have neither brought forth alternatives for consideration nor raised the issue of inequitable impact.
From my perspective as a career teacher who is nearing retirement, the mayor's plan has the worst possible consequences for those who, like myself, have devoted their lives to the education of children.
Because retirement income is tied to our end-of-career salary rate, this year's salary freeze plan has far-reaching implications. For example, according to actuarial tables, the approximately $2,000 that the city plans to save on my salary next year will actually cost me in excess of $75,000 in future lifetime income. It is the retirement system that will realize almost all of the savings at the expense of individual, dedicated educators.
Except for two longevity raises totaling less than $2,000, I reached the top of the Baltimore City teacher salary scale when I was 35 years old.
The only wage increases that I have received since then were the annually negotiated across-the-board increments like those the Mayor has decided to do away with for the coming year. At least the city could have refrained from substantially reducing anticipated retirement income by developing a more carefully thought out strategy than the wage freeze proposal.
Editor: I don't have nearly the problem with Gov. William Donald Schaefer's ''antics'' as I do with the General Assembly's inability to deal realistically with the needs of Maryland, specifically the Linowes and Barnes commission reports.
Tax reform, as per the Linowes commission, seemed a very fair, even-handed, balanced approach with the only substantial increases in income taxes to those whose incomes were above $100,000. That doesn't strike me as hurting the ''middle class'' but rather those who contribute large sums of money to political campaigns and/or hire lobbyists. The fact that this legislation cannot get passed speaks to political pettiness on the part of the legislature at the expense of most of Maryland citizens.
That the Barnes commission report -- ''2020'' -- also can't get through suggests even more influence by the wrong people at the expense of Maryland's future.
Editor: Gen. H. Norman Swarzkopf said that God must have been on the coalition's side because of its remarkable success and its few losses in lives.
Logically, then, he must believe that God was on Iraq's side when it took Kuwait -- and on Hitler's side when Germany overran Poland in 1939.
The general said he was moved by the small loss of human life on the first day of the air attack. Although he also said that every human life is special, his statement must mean that he sees Iraqis as subhuman, for many of them lost their lives that night.
Richard Wendell Fogg.