Closing the Pratt
Editor: The planned closing of five branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library on March 15 has community groups scurrying to insure the continuation of library services in their neighborhoods.
Since no community can underwrite the entire cost of a library, a common thread in their proposals is that each wants their library to remain part of Pratt. Pratt continues to deny this possibility.
The money saved by closing five libraries will foreclose on the much greater investment taxpayers made in establishing these branches in the first place. Eliminating five branches will insure that Baltimoreans will pay many times over for the fiscal emergency of the early 1990s.
Creative ways may be found to provide more economical community services. Some may even require an initial capital expenditure in order to ensure long-term savings.
While the community develops such ideas, the situation at Pratt must be stabilized. We must respond to this fiscal emergency without denying reasonable access to books for so many Baltimoreans.
Jane Ball Shipley.
No Second Coming
Editor: Without commenting in this forum, I have read your incessant editorials in support of the destruction of UMBC for the last several decades.
Enough is enough.
In your New Year's Day editorial, you paint the proposed merger of UMBC and University of Maryland at Baltimore as the educational Second Coming. Such is not the case.
UMBC has been around now for a quarter of a century and is poised to make a major contribution to the entire state economy. Merging it would destroy what was without producing the economic results you promise.
David A. Tibbetts.
Editor: Placing helmets on the heads of motorcyclists is really not the job of the legislature.
The effect of the human head striking the ground at high speed can be equated to a pumpkin falling off the back of a pick-up truck. Neither the head nor the pumpkin are evenly matched against asphalt. Wear a ''Full Face'' helmet.
Lee F. Dill.
Top or Bottom?
Editor: President Bush's trip to Japan and the Far East highlights the extreme failure of American industry.
He took with him chief executive officers who argue protectionism yet ignore the need to improve their own competitiveness in the world market.
These CEOs line their pockets with obscene bonuses from debt-ridden companies while they lay off workers by the thousands. They buy out other companies and build their own portfolios but shirk at their responsibilities to re-invest and plan long-term strategies.
The Japanese may be involved in some unfair trade practices, but what right do American firms have to complain? Did President Bush pick the cream of the crop or the bottom of the barrel to go with him and to represent American industry?
Myles B. Hoenig.
Snow Hill Loves Y'All
Editor: Thanks for publishing my recent letter.
My only regret is that you have me living in Snow Mill instead of Snow Hill.
Snow Hill, a friendly town of 2,000 people at the commercial headwaters of the Pocomoke River, was founded in 1642.
It's the county seat of Worcester County with lovely old homes, including three bed and breakfast inns, five churches, a first-rate library, a museum and an annual canoe race 12 miles down the incredibly lovely Pocomoke to Pocomoke City.
Come visit us; enter or watch the race next June 20.
We would love to see you any time.
Worthington J. Thompson.
Snow Hill. Editor: It is amazing to read Mark N. Copper's diatribe (''The Baby Bells Are Loose; Expect More Chaos,'' Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 24) against the local telephone industry.
Mr. Cooper and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) say that the local telephone industry is too irresponsible to trust as providers of new information age services to consumers.
The story he tells, however, is one developed and promoted by the National Cable Television Association, the American Newspaper Publishers Association and others whose special interests will benefit enormously if the Bell Companies are stripped of their ability to participate in the information age.
Instead, if Mr. Cooper and his cable television and newspaper friends succeed, the average American consumer is going to experience higher telephone rates, lower quality service and be left out of the information age.
A robust and regulated public telephone network is essential if innovative services in health, education and related areas are to be universally available and affordable to the public. The public telephone network, as a regulated utility, is the only information provider subject to the mandate of the 1934 Communications Act to serve all citizens.
Educational applications such as voice mail serve as dramatic examples of how universal deployment of new technology serves everyone, including low-income consumers. Homework hot lines enable teachers to leave daily messages, including homework assignments, in a publicly accessible voice mail system.