Balance the MPAEditor: A couple of years ago the Maryland...


September 19, 1991

Balance the MPA

Editor: A couple of years ago the Maryland Port Administration (MPA) announced the first of a series of shocking operational deficits. Shortly afterward it was revealed by The Sun that the top officials who guided the MPA to that dismal predicament were rewarded with fat bonuses as "incentives" to do better.

Now, the most recent in successive deficit announcements was made by the new port director. His response is to reorganize out of existence 72 jobs from an already lean MPA.

Both solutions, bonuses and firings, were wrong. I wonder how long it will take the newest group of tyros who run our port agency to realize that economic impact is the most important goal of a port. Throughout the world, ports focus with diligence on how much business they can attract. This is the all-important primary function. Sure, budgetary considerations are important, but successful ports rightly make it secondary to drumming up new business.

The Port of Baltimore is capable of generating $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion in business every year. Now I ask, which is more important: economic impact of that magnitude or a $5 million operating shortfall? The bean-counters, like good little bureaucrats, concentrate on the deficit and then further cripple the MPA by cutting jobs. If they truly understood the function of ports they would avoid undercutting the Port of Baltimore's economic potential no matter what the cost. Instead they are doing exactly the opposite.

Donald Klein.


'Now, Gorby?'

Editor: The exuberance of those attending the ''free-at-last'' festivities at the Lithuanian Hall on Labor Day was bubbling more briskly than the champagne. And God knows there was good reason. For over 50 years, the Baltics had been consigned to physical, emotional and spiritual bondage and oppression by the decree of two of history's most diabolical tyrants, Hitler and Stalin, and were forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.

Shortly after Lithuania courageously stepped forward in March 1990 to declare its independence, President Bush began to act ambiguously about the authenticity of the Soviet annexation of the Baltics. He patronizingly urged little Lithuania to work it out first with Papa Bear. Since Papa Bear was the one who was sitting on Lithuania, this was a cruel and sardonic piece of advice, indeed. Many felt serious consternation about Mr. Bush's slavish deference to Mikhail Gorbachev.

Mr. Bush will, of course, be historically connected with the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations with the Baltics, but his luster will be dimmed by the fact that all the major nations of the world beat him to it.

When the principle of truth is as vivid and uncompromised as it was in the Baltic situation, America's fundamental conception of freedom should have been fearlessly confirmed and acted upon on behalf of the ''captive nations.'' As it was, Americans felt diminished and embarrassed by the impression of our president peeping timidly from behind the curtain of history and whispering, "Now, Gorby?`

H. J. Rizzo.


Why Encourage Poverty?

Editor: Carol Billett's Sept. 12 letter pleaded with compassion for donations of an ice machine and children's high chairs to the Our Daily Bread soup kitchen. But her letter served only to exasperate me, a donor to charities and soup kitchens.

What is the public expected to do? To keep on helping people who keep on having children when they cannot support the children they have already got?

Where are the fathers? Why aren't they providing for their children instead of both mother and father expecting the public to do so?

For this situation the whole of the United States pays the cost. Not only in the soup kitchens but also in the medical expenses for gynecological treatments and subsequent care of all sorts.

The State of Maryland requires that hospitals add unincurred costs to the bills of insured patients to cover the costs of non-paying patients. This has helped create the present crisis in health care.

Poverty is a terrible thing. The aged often find themselves penniless and homeless at the end of their lives through sheer adversity or bad luck. They are now too old to do other than eke out their miserable existence with the aid of charities.

But to encourage poverty from the cradle onward and make it an integral part of the scheme of things is a catastrophe for the future of America.

Peggy Wallis Harvey.


Be Done with It

Editor: Being from out of town, maybe the significance of whether Baltimore's new downtown stadium is called Oriole Park or Camden Yards is lost on me.

Why not call the new home of the Os ''Oriole Park at Camden Yards''? Carve that in granite across the facade and be done with it.

Herb Muktarian.

Palo Alto, Calif.


Editor: To hold over Israel's head the loan guarantees as a reward for land concessions is nothing short of extortion.

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