Glitter can't replace sorrow of lost wagesAcording to...

The Forum

July 09, 1991

Glitter can't replace sorrow of lost wages

Acording to Marina Saris' article, "Maryland is giving the Francis Scott Key Bridge a new light look" (July 2), the cost for installation of the lights is $656,700.

That amount of money would pay 30 employees $21,900 a year,

If the state is in fiscal difficulties (and the agency I work for is on a bare-bones budget with a hiring freeze and employees effectively taking a 7 percent decrease in pay due to the extended work hours) why is the transportation authority allowed to spend $656,700 on lights for aesthetic purposes? And how much is the electric bill going to be?

If members of my family are strapped for money (and all of us seem to be except the transportation authority), one member is not allowed to spend frivolously while the others pinch pennies.

Isn't the Maryland Transportation Authority part of the state government? Why have jobs been cut and people with 19 to 25 years of service put out of jobs in one part of the state government while another part is spending taxpayers' money on "glitter."

I am worried about loosing my job, but every time I see the Francis Scott Key Bridge I will be reminded that 30 people could have been paid a yearly salary of $21,900 for the cost of those lights.

And I will be reminded of what Marie Antoinette said at the onset of the French Revolution (which happens to be celebrated on July 14), when she was told that the people were rioting because they had no bread to eat. She said, "Let them eat cake." I guess the fiscal authorities in the state of Maryland, in response to the citizens' cries not to lose their jobs, would be, "Let them see lights."

Gail Reilly Cross


Baltimore's finest

Baltimore city has finally decided to revamp its police department. Now let's also revamp the attitude of the people of Baltimore city toward their police. Why not inform concerned citizens about why some of the actions of Baltimore's finest have deteriorated through the years ` low pay, higher crime rates, lack of concern from citizens, an overloaded judicial system to name a few?

Such information would help change negative attitudes of the police and the citizens toward each other and bring about a better understanding by both. Now everyone is running scared. The police are scared because they do not know what each encounter might involve, and the citizens are totally unaware of the responsibilities and pressures of a Baltimore police officer.

Let's get it together. Once both sides are re-educated we will again be able to say, "Baltimore's finest."

Barbara Palmer


Collect the taxes

I read Jack Fishbein's letter (Forum, July 2) describing three ways to eliminate the national debt. All appear to me to be completely impractical.

There is, however, a fourth way, one advocated by Michael Dukakis during the last campaign and pooh-poohed by our president. That is for the government to make a determined effort to collect all income taxes, which some estimate to be $150 to $200 billion a year. If these sums were collected, our debt could be substantially reduced, and this would not entail deflation through the International Monetary Fund, a national lottery or inflation to make our money worth less.

Aaron W. Shapiro


Retreat on rights

When I was a young law student, I attended criminal court trials conducted by judges of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore city (now the Circuit Court for Baltimore city) and the U.S. District Court. In those days, the civil rights of members of minority groups afforded by the Constitution were not enforced. The trials were usually very brief and almost always ended with a conviction and jail sentence.

The Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice Earl Warren had the courage, decency and good judgment to enforce civil rights and even to make the police and prosecutors honest by forbidding coerced confessions and by placing reasonable limits on police search and seizure power, the use of tainted evidence, warrantless arrests, arrests without probable cause, white-only juries, etc. Now, the ultra-conservative majority on the Supreme Court is rapidly reversing or weakening all the Warren court decisions and taking us back to the "good ol' days."

Will throwing the Constitution out of the window reduce crime? No. Will police, prosecutors and judges be better off when they no longer have to be honest and professional? Certainly not. Will race relations be better? Of course not. Should we go back to "separate but equal" schools? No way.

I.H. Desser


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