Stay the Ax
Editor: Should the College Park "flagship" campus be a comprehensive land-grant university, emphasizing service and instruction as well as research? Should there be a concern for human services and the humanities as well as math and science? Or, should the flagship be a narrow, elitist, high-tech institution -- "Harvard on the Paint Branch?" These are the questions.
The College Park campus of the University of Maryland System is about to blow it. Can you fathom, as we are about to enter the 21st century, eliminating programs such as leisure studies? If the Campus Senate, chancellor, Board of Regents, MAryland Higher Education Commission, governor or somebody doesn't turn it around, then the only comprehensive and the only accredited curriculum for leisure studies in Maryland will go the way of all flesh.
Perhaps you have personally known some of our distinguished, productive alumni. Hundreds of our graduates serve in management and leadership positions in practically every municipality and county in Maryland as well as in the state and national park systems. Other trained professionals are working in industrial and armed forces recreation. Still others work in travel and tourism and other commercial settings within the private sector. Leisure services professionals need additional course work for in-service training and certification -- also replacements will be needed for those who retire.
No doubt you will be told that this is a budget necessity -- that across-the-board cuts would only lead to mediocrity. Eliminating departments serving the state, however, is not the only alternative. A zero-based program-budgeting approach could and should be employed to audit and prioritize the specific work programs within each department. This would lead to a rational reduction or elimination of specific work programs within departments rather than whole departments. Ideally, of course, this should be done on a system-wide rather than a piecemeal basis; that is, we need a University of Maryland System master plan.
John W. Churchill.
The writer is in the Department of Recreation at the university's College of Health and Human Performance.
Editor: In its recent study advocating yet another performing hall for area theater-goers, the Abell Foundation made several references to the Lyric's capacity to handle Broadway shows.
To my knowledge, the Abell Foundation did not contact the Lyric or the Lyric Foundation to check the statements or what it would cost to expand the Lyric's stage.
While the Lyric has some backstage limitations, few shows have been unable to mount their sets on our stage. Expanding the Lyric stage to the right and building a crosswalk over the sidewalk, however, would probably cost as little as $750,000. An expenditure of $2.2 million would expand the stage to the right and six feet in depth over the sidewalk. It would be hard to imagine a show that could not then be produced at the Lyric.
It's hard to see much merit in spending $25-100 million for an entirely new performing arts facility, when $5 million at the
maximum would allow a full stage expansion as well as new dressing rooms and a rehearsal hall and would make the Lyric competitive with the vast majority of halls in the country.
We should also keep in mind that parking in the area is gradually being increased and that the new light rail line will have a stop 50 yards from the Lyric entrance on Mount Royal Avenue. As the light rail line expands its routes in the years ahead, the Lyric's location will become an even greater asset.
Robert M. Pomory.
The writer is president of the Lyric Inc.
Editor: Mark K. Joseph's Oct. 13 article, ''Baltimore Makes The Suburbs Richer,'' should be must reading for each delegate to the state legislature, each member of the City Council and every man and woman in Baltimore City.
Baltimore is a tremendous generator of wealth. Much of that wealth is taken out of the city by the nearly 200,000 suburban workers who commute to jobs in the city every day. Because income is taxed according to where one lives, the city is unable to tax the more than $4 billion earned in the city by suburbanites.
Statistics suggest that Baltimore should be permitted to tax the wealth it generates.
Irma K. Roy.
The True Problem
Editor: After reading your comments on the House of Representatives vote on limiting the sale of assault weapons, I simply don't understand how you can come to your opinions.
I challenge you to show any evidence that the restriction of any type of firearms sale has had a significant impact on crime, most notably violent crime, as the gun control proponents would have you believe. No one seems to realize that the majority of gun-related crime is directly attributable to the drug problem.