Thanks for the Ironies
Editor: Ironic, is it not? Baltimore City has its annual Thanksgiving Day parade and not one float has a turkey, Pilgrim, American Indian, or anything else dealing with Thanksgiving, but plenty to do with Christmas. Are we a city that has lost our connection with the importance of Thanksgiving?
Ironic, is it not? Our mayor rides on a float promoting literacy, but our libraries are closing. Are we a city that breeds illiteracy? Are the Pilgrims and Indians locked up in the vacant libraries? Who will tell the story of freedom if freedom is dying?
Editor: In all of the published analyses of Richard
Thornburgh's defeat by Sen. Harris Wofford for the Senate seat from Pennsylvania, no writer mentioned Mr. Thornburgh's last act as attorney general of the United States.
That act was to come down on the side of the violent, lawless people who blocked access to clinics in Wichita, Kan., that perform abortions. He questioned the authority of the federal judge in Kansas to stop the blockers.
While many voters fail to keep themselves informed about many subjects, apparently thousands of them in Pennsylvania were turned off by Mr. Thornburgh's last act.
Carleton W. Brown.
What's So 'Bad'?
Editor: As a supporter of both efficient transportation and quality higher education, I am confused by your recent attack ("Bad State Tax Policy," Nov. 17) on using corporate income tax dollars to stop drastic cuts in higher education.
On the one hand, you criticize "any dedicated tax" and imply that no public service "should be placed in a privileged category" of dedicated revenue. On the other hand, you have repeatedly editorialized for increases in dedicated revenues (gas taxes, MVA fees, etc.) for transportation.
Is your view that transportation is a first-class public need deserving of dedicated revenue sources and higher education is a second- or third-class need that is undeserving? Or is your argument that it's acceptable to dedicate gas and auto excise taxes to transportation because they are at least transportation-related revenues?
I have no problem with dedicating transportation-related revenues to the transportation trust fund. But I do object to diverting more than $80 million of corporate income tax revenue from the state general fund to transportation, when education at all levels is in jeopardy. That is precisely what the state is now doing -- diverting millions in corporate taxes out of the general fund that pays for education, among other services, and into the transportation trust fund that has more than enough dedicated revenue sources of its own.
That's why my 21st District colleagues and I have drafted bills to stop the budget cuts at the University of Maryland, Morgan State and St. Mary's by returning this $80 million in corporate tax money to higher education. The issue in this case is not about whether or not these funds should be "dedicated." They are already dedicated -- to transportation. We're just saying it's time to bring the money back to higher education when it is clearly needed and ask transportation to pay its own way.
For citizens and businesses dependent on both efficient transportation and a high-quality public university, that approach strikes a fair and fiscally responsible balance.
Teach for Health
Editor: Presently there is discussion at the Maryland State Board of Education regarding what subjects are to be deleted, increased or changed in a Maryland high school education. It boggles my mind that there is even the slightest doubt that comprehensive health education should be a high-school graduation requirement for every student in Maryland schools. What more has to happen in our society for this to come to fruition?
Our children have a right to learn about good health practices in mental, social, physical, intellectual and spiritual venues. Comprehensive health education, taught by a certified health educator, can begin to address the issues that plague our society and stopping this instruction at the middle school level just won't "cut it."
Students deserve the opportunity to be informed so that their decisions will not be of a life-and-death consequence.
The writer is AIDS education facilitator for the Baltimore City schools.
Time for Change
Editor: If recent events have brought anything into sharp focus, it is the growing feeling that President Bush can be defeated in 1992. But it will take a Democrat from the political center to topple him. Forget about the highly-touted liberal, Mario Cuomo, who has a ton of fiscal problems in his own state and whose waffling demeanor indicates he lacks the ''fire in the belly'' to win. Besides, the country it is no mood to put a giveaway liberal in the White House.