Arts are a vital part of the city's future
I have read the report to Mayor Kurt Schmoke by his Organizational Review Team, which recommends restructuring the city in order to promote efficiency and productivity. The report contains many good ideas that need to be pursued aggressively.
I take exception, however, to the recommendation that subsidies to the arts, cultural and museum community be phased out over the next five years. The cultural community has been and will continue to be heavily dependent on government assistance -- and rightfully so, since it creates the kind of quality of life an American city must have.
While the recommendation appears to result in a savings to the city of more than $10 million, in fact it will generate revenue losses far greater than the anticipated savings. As a practical matter, cultural institutions are labor rather than capital intensive. Such reductions would have a direct impact upon employment and, as a result, tax revenues.
Equally important would be the "quiet erosion" of the city's quality of life and attractiveness to tourists. Baltimore's population is a blend of many ethnic groups; culture and the arts are a common thread binding it together. Visitors come because the much-heralded Baltimore renaissance, to which the symphony, theaters, museums and other cultural attractions have all contributed.
These are indeed difficult times, but Baltimore can emerge even stronger if it accelerates investment in those areas that enhance economic growth. The arts are certainly one of those areas.
Richard E. Hug
The writer is chairman of the board of Environmental Elements Corporation.
Hold your hats -- here we go again! That quadrennial funfest -- the Presidential Year -- is upon us. The citizens of the Republic will be exposed to an exercise that could serve as a plot for a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
We will see those who aspire to the highest office in the land engage not in a contest of principles but in the strife of interests -- and not always in a gentlemanly manner. After months of political rhetoric, the body politic will select a leader for the next four years.
The mantle of the presidency will fall upon the shoulders of the most popular, not necessarily the most qualified. "Politics," wrote John Galbraith, "consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."
J. Bernard Hihn
The time has come for America to once again become a true leader of the world. This will not be done by our elected officials but by the working people, by Joe down the street, by Ed next door, by you and by me. It's time to start working a little harder, a little more conscientiously. It's time for us all to have a plan, because if we fail to plan we plan to fail.
Not on the fringe
Your refusal to even mention former Ambassador Alan Keyes as a bonafide candidate for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate does a disservice not only to Maryland Republicans, but especially to African Americans who may be interested in Mr. Keyes' qualifications, including a Ph.D. from Harvard University, former ambassador to the United Nations and a former assistant secretary of State. This is a fringe candidate?
The Baltimore Sun's distaste for the Washington suburbs located in Maryland is another indication of its losing touch with the entire state of Maryland -- demographic trends notwithstanding.
John N. Bambacus
After reading about the shooting at the Roland Park Middle School, I began thinking about getting ready for the next school year: paper, pencils, lunch boxes, new clothes, shoes and Teflar vests.
R. A. Bacigalupa
It's time to cut foreign aid to a minimum. We must begin to make the world better by first dealing with the problems outside our own front door.
There are many reasons for foreign aid. The Marshall Plan enabled us to gain many allies during the Cold War and to stop the spread of influence of the Soviet Union. That threat is over.
It may be important to enhance other countries' economies to help our own industries with market development, but isn't it better if we spend our money on education instead so that our products could sell themselves on the basis of quality?
Perhaps the toughest foreign aid to slow would be that given for humanitarian reasons. While everyone has a responsibility for others in the world, simply drive downtown late at night on Charles Street and see the homeless huddled around heating ducts and determine for yourself if we should be building up Israel's military.
This may seem incredibly self-centered for a nation, but you have to take care of yourself before you can help others. Even Mother Teresa has taken a day off work when she has the flu.
Thomas J. Martiner