The letter from Nancy E. Tillman (June 13) requires comment. She complains about the light-rail system being partly single-track and wants to know why more money wasn't spent to double-track the entire line. And I could add to that other money-saving items such as the planned bridge at Timonium Road which, for lack of funds, is an at-grade crossing.
The reason for what some critics may refer to as a "bargain-built" system falls on the state legislators from the "other" parts of the state.
Mass transportation is particularly important to the state's two big metropolitan areas. If Ms. Tillman can convince the legislators from the Eastern Shore, Western Maryland and Southern Maryland to grant the needed funding for the Baltimore/Washington area transit systems, more power to her. It is because of those legislators tucked away in their rural serenity that "we (are) always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to public transportation." As for her puzzlement over whether the light-rail line or the new stadium was built to justify the other, neither is correct.
A master plan for heavy or light rail, or busway systems for the Baltimore area was developed well over 20 years ago; surely before William Donald Schaefer became governor, probably even before he became Baltimore's mayor. It included routes using the Northern Central Railroad and the B&A, just as the light-rail line is doing. A new stadium wasn't in anyone's mind then.
In the 1980s, Edward Bennett Williams wanted a new stadium (an implied threat to move the Orioles), and he and Mr. Schaefer desired a downtown location, or somewhere convenient to Washington fans. It's just a coincidence that the stadium is near the light-rail line, or vice versa.
At any rate, I'm glad Ms. Tillman found MTA employees to be friendly and courteous among her problems.
Harry E. Bennett Jr.
Paid Their Dues
This refers to your June 21 editorial, "Sacred Cows or a Balanced Budget."
It amazes me you have the gall to include Social Security and Medicare in your list of "sacred cows."
My wife and I worked for over 40 years, paying our fair share of income taxes and deductions for Social Security and Medicare. Nobody helped us find child care for our three children or worried if they had breakfast before they went to school.
My wife's working didn't hinder our children in any way. My two daughters are college graduates and financed their education without outside help or scholarships. My son is partially paralyzed due to complications from service in the Air Force during the Vietnam war.
If we want to balance the budget, let's look at all the giveaway programs. There are people in this country who have never given one dime to the system and have been on the "take" all their lives.
I think my wife and I contributed enough to this country to qualify us for the "sacred cow" Social Security. If you disagree, please write another editorial and tell me what else we should have done.
John G. Baublitz Jr
On June 19, The Sun published a lengthy article concerning a new Gallup Poll that underscores the widening chasm between Catholics and their church hierarchy.
Oddly, your paper made no mention of one of the more important findings: 52 percent of Catholics said abortion should be legal in many or all circumstances. Seventy percent said they could, in good conscience, vote for candidates who support legal abortion.
Tylden W. Streett
I am an American mother writing from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in response to the article, "Bentley support for Serbs raises question of conflict," June 8, by Tom Bowman.
I, for one, am extremely grateful for the strong ties that Rep. Helen Delich Bentley maintains with the country of her heritage, Serbia.
When my daughter, Sasha, and my son, Andre, were kidnapped to Yugoslavia by their Serbian father 33 months ago, Representative Bentley was (and remains) one of the few American politicians willing and able to help me in my effort to recover my children.
She is able to help precisely because of the unique relationship she is faulted for having with the Republic of Serbia.
She is willing to help because, unlike many politicians, she truly cares about people -- even a distraught mother from California who is not of Serbian descent.
Sadly, your article neglected to speak of this and the extraordinary effort she has made on behalf of two American hostages, my children Sasha and Andre.
Simply at the request of my father by letter, Representative Bentley energetically took up the cause of my kidnapped children.
Representative Bentley has written and faxed numerous letters, made countless telephone calls and used nearly every possible opportunity to press President Slobodan Milosevic and other high level Serbian officials, even in personal meetings, to enforce the Serbian court orders and return my son and daughter.