Breach of Faith
Editor: According to Sandy Banisky's Dec. 20 article, the governor's Commission on Efficiency and Economy in Government is urging the state to break its faith with hundreds of faculty and staff of the University of Maryland System.
The promise of tuition remission has been repeatedly used to attract faculty and staff into the university system who might otherwise have taken higher paying jobs elsewhere. Yet the commission has proposed that free tuition for non-faculty staff and their families be ended permanently and that faculty tuition subsidies be reduced temporarily to 50 percent of current levels.
As a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, I have grave concerns about such recommendations. Given the current mess in Annapolis, however, I have little faith that they will be rejected out of hand, as they should be.
With cuts of more than 20 percent in the university budget, with my salary already compromised by furloughs and with the promise of tuition remission in doubt, I worry if my other benefits, like health insurance and retirement, are secure. I also question if the state's assurances are of any value when earlier promises are already being broken.
The sad fact is that the money the commission hopes to save will do little for the burgeoning state budget deficit. Instead, this proposal, if adopted, will be another step in the destruction of the University of Maryland.
Robert J. Bloch.
Editor: After reading the letter, ''Air Quality in Maryland'' (Dec. 18), I noted that the writer was Michael D. McDonald, executive director of the Maryland Petroleum Council.
His Annapolis address suggested that he is also their lobbyist.
This explains his extremely biased slant and phony and misleading scare statistics regarding costs, employment levels and air quality improvement for the use of tougher air quality standards in Maryland equal to those in California.
Mr. McDonald is obviously concerned that increased engine efficiencies and the use of commercial electric vehicles will reduce the consumption of gasoline. There are test vehicles available already in this country as well as in Japan, Sweden and West Germany that will give over 50 miles per gallon and have standard configurations. Increased mileage means cheaper operating costs for the motorists.
There are 12 states in this country that are following the lead of California simply because the Clean Air Act does not go far enough.
Isn't it strange that the big oil corporations never include the costs of pollution in their statements? These additional costs would have to include the effects of excess acid rain from vehicles on the acidity of the Chesapeake Bay which damages fish and crab and other shellfish reproduction. The excess acid rain also depletes soils and reduces crop yields, damages bridges and other structures, injures public health and increases the greenhouse effect.
Big oil is living in the past. It is time they gave the quality of the environment the attention it deserves.
Ernest M. Stolberg.
Editor: I applaud and commend Garland L. Thompson for his timely article on December 21 entitled ''Santa, Can You Bring My Daddy Home?''
Such a story was long overdue.
As a divorced father without custody I am painfully aware of the unreasonable treatment accorded fathers by the court system. (My child support payments are $40 higher than my mortgage.)
Just last year my lawyer was before a judge in Towson in an emergency hearing so I could get my son on Christmas Day -- the only holiday the legal system gave me before my divorce was final.
The problems with the system are many and there are few winners, if any, on either side.
One of the biggest problems is the way non-custodial fathers are viewed. As Mr. Thompson pointed out: society cannot keep sweeping us under the rug.
Nick S. Chirigos.
Editor: I am outraged over the Motor Vehicle Administration's failure to notify motorists when their license tag renewal is due.
I am the third individual in my circle of friends who has recently been caught by the police driving with expired license tags. None of us received a license tag renewal form from the MVA, nor was aware that our tags were not current. (I drove for six months with expired tags).
I realize that these incidents possibly could have been unintentional oversights by the MVA. However, ticketing honest motorists, instead of giving them a few days to renew their tags, does not represent a system of securing justice but one of securing revenue.
Such action by the police is insensitive and seemingly portrays an intentional attempt by the state to acquire additional revenue through another obscure method.
Editor: We can improve the nation's health situation by raising taxes on all damaging products such as tobacco, caffeine and alcohol.