Editor: John Sununu's private trips at the public's expense are both unseemly, unconscionable and unfair.
The self-serving, cavalier and meretricious response, to date, offered by Mr. Sununu as to why he has had to utilize public monies to defray his private and personal peregrinations to resorts and personal amusement, represent a colossal reductio ad absurdum.
Mr. Sununu, I believe, knows full well that the rationale he puts forth to abate or remove public criticism relative to his private trips is totally unacceptable and unfair.
He does not, at this point in time, seem to be able to curb his proclivity to travel at the public's expense. President Bush needs to move forward with celerity to end Mr. Sununu's trips at the expense of the public.
Samuel L. Banks.
Editor: In his June 10 Opinion * Commentary column, "Fairness to Old Sailors," James L. Kilpatrick says that merchant seamen should "receive the same benefits accorded other members of the armed services." The Merchant Marine is not an "armed service" -- although, like other male civilians, its members belong automatically to the Unorganized Militia and hence have a constitutional right to bear arms.
Not even a government service, the Merchant Marine does have a special relationship to the U. S. Public Health Service, authorized to wear Navy-type uniforms, like the surgeon general. Should Public Health employees get veterans' status? What about yachting organizations like the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron? What about the Sea Scouts, the Civil Air Patrol and the Salvation Army? What about the Red Cross?
This is not irony. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army served in combat zones during both world wars. And like all civilians who went overseas they were aboard merchant ships -- in precisely the same danger as merchant seamen.
Correctly or not, combat infantrymen like me were led to believe that merchant seamen were fantastically overpaid civilians -- typically draft-dodgers, who could quit whenever they pleased, at least in home ports, and take their chances with the draft, although many merchant officers had Navy Reserve commissions.
To evaluate the whole argument, ignorant people like me need more information. Just who was included when the Congress declared that members of the Merchant Marine -- and at least 14 other civilian groups, mostly female -- are now "veterans"? Is it right to conceal such matters from the taxpaying public?
Willis Case Rowe.
Pols Get Theirs
Editor: Roger Hayden and the Baltimore County Council have used the current economic climate as an excuse to deny county employees even the smallest of raises, not even a cost of living raise.
But in the 1980s, when the economy was healthy, county government refused to grant all but modest increases in wages and benefits to employees.
Government must offer competitive salary and benefit packages it is to attract and retain quality employees.
However, there is one sector of government that always gets theirs, regardless of economic conditions. The politicians.
Editor: The bridge that has been proposed by the State Highway Administration as a replacement for the old Severn River Bridge in Annapolis is truly a monster. It must not be built.
The design of the existing bridge is in keeping with the temperament of this community. It provides a lovely, measured entrance to the most beautiful state capital in the country. The proposed monster bridge, on the other hand, is incompatible with the size and scale of this wonderful city, and as such, it is completely inappropriate.
The monster will create an unneeded, high-speed, freeway-style access into this lovely 18th and 19th century city. It will mar the view from all sides, destroy wetlands, encourage increased river traffic, create noise pollution, intimidate pedestrians and bicyclists and bring more vehicles into a city that is already overrun with them.
Now is time for a reasoned approach. One which would dictate either repairing what we are so lucky to have or replacing it with something similar. Surely this sophisticated society can find an economical and practical way to do so.
ames D. Vance.
Editor: Are we ever going to stop inviting our young women to get pregnant with our system of financial support for them and their child for the next 18 years or not? Where are our legislators on this one? We can teach our young people responsibility only by showing them that we are determined in our efforts to cut costs and get a tighter rein on our expenditures by making them accountable for their own actions.
Put our tax dollars to better use. We need responsibility, not tax abuse.
Editor: I would like to reply to Rachel Wallach, whose Opinion * Commentary piece endeavored to explain the motivation of the so-called shotgun robbers.