Penny wise budget cuts in city, state
In his inaugural speech Mayor Schmoke said: "We, the citizens of Baltimore, must learn to do with less and do for ourselves." He also stated: "We must keep our streets clean, report suspicious activity to police, join community groups, etc."
The residents of my community have always done these things. We now have been told we must run our own library, find the funds to build playgrounds and find businesses to fill our empty stores.
I'm dismayed that two city employees were recently laid off. Kurt Kocher, from Baltimore Boulevards, and Naomi Benyowitz, in charge of securing NIP grants for neighborhoods. Mr. Kocher was the only person in Baltimore Boulevards. He helped many strip shopping centers and large commercial strips find businesses willing to take a chance and stay in Baltimore. Ms. Benyowitz helped communities secure matching funds for improvements such as playgrounds. Both their salaries do not amount to more than $60,000, yet their programs have brought a hundred times that in revenue into the city. Now both of these programs have been eliminated.
Mayor Schmoke should restore these jobs; we cannot afford to lose these individuals.
Lois Raimondi Munchel
When Governor Schaefer announced his intention to cut 83 state trooper jobs from the budget, there was a public outcry. The legislature backed down; the troopers were saved.
Higher education has taken a staggering blow as a result of budget cuts, but the public outcry goes unheeded. The University of Maryland College Park has had $40 million slashed from its budget. The impact? Loss of outstanding faculty, loss of classes, loss of entire curriculums, double-digit tuition increases. What will happen when the children of the state troopers are ready to go to college?
If the state continues to treat higher education like this, the lack of funding will have created second-rate schools. The quality out-of-state schools, whose budgets were not sacrificed, will be an option for only a few due to prohibitive tuition.
It is through education that we progress. The state's future depends on keeping its best and brightest young people in Maryland and developing a sophisticated work force for the next century. Don't ignore the needs of tomorrow for the exigencies of today. Education is intangible it can't be quantified like 83 state troopers but it, too, is invaluable.
This past Friday I drove to our nation's capital to receive an award from the Keep America Beautiful committee on behalf of "Tree-mendous Maryland." The luncheon was at the Marriott Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. I arrived and parked in the garage associated with the hotel. As a practical matter, there are not many other places to park in that neck of the Washington thicket. The luncheon was fun, and I was pleased that our state's Tree-mendous program, which I head, was considered worthy of keeping company with so many great programs.
At the end of the program I reclaimed my car to return to Baltimore. The cost of parking my car for three hours came to $19. Right then and there I knew that it was no longer my nation's capital. Clearly, middle-income wage earners are not welcome there. Truly, Washington has become a place for the very rich, perhaps those who need a capital gains fix. At $19 for three hours of parking with no alternatives available, I should think that the Congress is properly insulated from the little people and can concentrate on the needs of big-money contributors who grease the wheels of the re-election machinery. The gap between them and us has grown much wider than I had imagined.
The writer is a former City Council president.
Thank you, Baltimore, for giving. Because of the caring, understanding and cooperation of thousands of people in the area, the fourth annual "Thanks For Giving" campaign provided an estimated 20,000 hungry and needy people with a hot turkey meal on Thanksgiving, distributed some 5,000 bags of groceries to area families and brought in more than 40,000 pounds of dry food, 400 to 500 turkeys and thousands of dollars.
This is certainly impressive. But the important thing to remember is that because of the hardships and suffering caused by the recession, we fed about 3,000 more people than we were expecting this year and about 10,000 more than we fed last Thanksgiving.
I am so grateful to the more than 1,000 men, women and children who came to Dunbar High School on Thanksgiving Day to help. Thanks also to the dozens of organizations and corporations in the community that were so generous with their time, expertise and resources.
On behalf of the thousands of people we were able to feed at Thanksgiving, thank you all for giving. And for caring.
Bea Gaddy operates the non-profit Patterson Park Emergency Food Center at 140 North Collington Ave. in Baltimore.
Enough is enough
Wiley Hall's Dec. 10 column regarding a judge's denial of a new trial for Jerry Paul Cooper places his future squarely before the Maryland Parole Board. Let's hope its members will agree that 33 years' imprisonment on a questionable charge and conviction is enough.
Cheryl A. Linzey