Is this Healthy?
Editor: Do we really need 19 food inspectors for Baltimore City? Only last month a lack of funds seemed to eliminate this very vital part of the Health Department. But 19 inspectors where six or eight would suffice? Are Mayor Kurt Schmoke and our City Council being reasonable to the taxpayers and the businesses, which will ultimately bear the burden of funding these inspectors? Food inspectors are necessary, but 19 are more than enough. Enough is enough, period.
Vernon E. Ruby.
How to Trim Fat
Editor: In his otherwise factually correct Opinion * Commentary piece of Nov. 23, ''Cutting the Meat, Saving the Fat at City Hall,'' Daniel Berger writes, ''But who has come forward with alternatives, with suggestions for efficiencies anywhere but the point of service delivery? No one.''
Not quite "no one."
On Nov. 18, the City-Wide Insurance Coalition (CWIC) held a forum on ''Solutions to the Tax Crisis,'' at which I put forth that any city as large and as old as Baltimore has got to have many areas of waste, inefficiency, duplication and outmoded systems.
But that, in most cases, the only people who really know where such waste exists are the government workers themselves -- local, state and federal.
Currently those workers have a vested interest in keeping their mouths shut. They don't want to lose their jobs or have their supervisors punish them.
I believe that an effective alliance can be built between government workers and taxpayers, which would significantly and continually weed out unnecessary costs and waste.
The trick to getting the enthusiastic and creative cooperation of government workers is, on the one hand, not only to protect whistle-blowers but to reward them. I'd like to see that municipal employee Jane Doe was awarded $10,000 for coming up with an idea saving the city $100,000.
The other aspect of worker cooperation would entail guarantees that no employees would lose jobs or seniority.
We would have to rely on attrition to reduce the work force, but employees could be shifted to other areas of city need, within or outside of their departments. New services could be developed or current ones improved without the expense of hiring new workers.
If, for instance, our teachers were to discover that we didn't need so many bureaucrats at North Avenue, we could put more educators back in the classrooms to teach.
` A. Robert Kaufman.
Editor: Strong articles and tough statements on the Opinion * Commentary page are things that I admire. However, out and out lies are reprehensible, and such I found in the Nov. 16 articles by Rabbi Maurice Lamm.
He states ''Nations that have been worse harters than the Nazis -- Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Austrians, Poles -- are free to ponder murder again. Their gangs lusted for Jewish blood then, they are resuming that passion now.''
To make such statements is to act on the level of David Duke and of the Nazis. When Lithuania was independent between the world wars and were masters of their own house, there were no pogroms in Lithuania, Not a drop of Jewish blood was spilled. Why should it now when there are hardly any Jews left?
# Kestlitis Chesonis.
Editor: A philosopher once said, ''Blessed are the forgetful -- for they get the better even of their blunders.''
Have people forgotten what life was like when the last Democrat, Jimmy Carter, sat in the president's seat? Does anyone remember what the unemployment and inflation rates were then? Weren't the lending rates hovering around 16 percent.
Let's give President Bush a chance to bring this country back on a sound economic track before we start talking about electing ''just anybody'' to the presidency.
George Bush is the same guy who led us through the Persian Gulf crisis. Do we really want someone like Mario Cuomo as our leader? Take a look at the state of New York's economic condition.
Give It Back
Editor: The Sun's reporting of the court battle between Lane Berk and those attempting to have the "Welcome Baltimore" art removed from her Federal Hill roof was correct and objective. But the perception of the reader was bound to be distorted.
The battle is not between Ms. Berk and Federal Hill residents. The battle is between Ms. Berk and a small group of people who have taken it upon themselves to be the arbiters of Federal Hill taste: A few officers of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association who refuse to bring this into open forum.
Although only a tiny percentage of our residents are members, the FHNA has as its mission the blocking of many normal aspects of progress in order to flaunt the muscles of a few.
Prior to The Sun news article, I had asked many Federal Hill people their opinion of the Berk roof art. Few had even heard of it or seen it. I have lived in Federal Hill 13 years and in that period have restored two homes. I think that it's time to give Federal Hill back to its diverse population.