Bureaucratic PrideI always read Kevin Phillips, although I...


January 26, 1995

Bureaucratic Pride

I always read Kevin Phillips, although I don't always enjoy reading Kevin Phillips.

His book, "Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street and the Frustration of American Politics," upset me. His article, "The Federal Takeover of Maryland" (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 13), makes me feel guilty. You see, I'm part of the problem. Or was.

When I came to Washington in 1955 to work for the federal government, I was excited and thrilled. Really!

I had a master's degree in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and I had turned down a much more lucrative job in private industry because I was dedicated.

And when John F. Kennedy was elected president and he said, "Let public service be a proud and lively career," I knew I had made the right choice.

Now I'm not so sure. When I came to Washington we had 96 senators and a Senate staff of 500.

When I retired 30 years later, we had only four more senators but a Senate staff of 5,000. Typical, I guess.

William Godwin said, "Government can have no more than two legitimate purposes: the suppression of injustice against individuals within the community, and the common defense against external invasion." Kevin Phillips would endorse that.

But could such bare bones government have given us our land grant colleges? Or space exploration and a man on the Moon? Or, more prosaically, an affordable sewer system in the little village where I live?

Tom Gill

North Beach

Being Responsible

In response to the recent excellent letter, "Why That $100 PTC Million Won't Save Baltimore" (Dec. 31), by Robert Gumbs, I agree that a shortage of money is not the problem causing our city to deteriorate, but rather a shortage of individual responsibility, from both citizens and government leaders.

In order to turn this city around, we must immediately:

* Stop paying women and girls to have illegitimate babies who are growing up to destroy the city.

* Stop paying able-bodied men and women not to work.

There are thousands of these people hanging out on the street corners of the city, who are a cancer on our work force and our society.

Also, we should demand fiscal responsibility from Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and his entire administration, something we have not yet seen from any of them.

Recently this administration wasted $25 million of taxpayer's hard-earned dollars from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development through fraud, theft, nepotism and cronyism.

Mr. Schmoke's own brother-in-law received a $327,000 remodeling contract, even though he didn't have a remodeling license until after he got the contract.

Only individual responsibility can save our city. Anything less will not do the job.

Ray Gordon



It was reported (Jan. 13) that the California Angels have signed a player for $11.25 million. Doesn't this suggest that the owners are the ones most at fault for the current strike?

Had not George Steinbrenner paid several millions to David Winfield, signing him to play for the Yankees, and other owners then following suit, escalating the price war for talent, the salary aspect would not have gotten out of hand.

The owners created the problem and apparently are ongoing in their stupidity. Or, is it cupidity?

Rev. Earle A. Newman, S.S.J.


Stamp Shortage

To all the many complainers about the shortage of 3-cent stamps, I say, the shortage existed only a couple of days, probably brought on by people over-buying because they feared a shortage.

For important mail, why didn't people use 5-cent or 10-cent stamps or even two 29-cent stamps?

That certainly would have been much better than standing in line and blowing a fuse.

G. B. Laurent


Drugs and Oprah

I am grateful to The Sun for letting me know that I should feel manipulated by Oprah Winfrey's recent confession to drug use.

Two stories in The Sun questioned her motives -- and quoted in-the-know sources from WMAR-TV and Loyola College.

Certainly in these times, when entertainment industry stars frequently leverage private skeletons to advance their careers, questioning her motives is a relevant point.

But in devoting two entire stories to the issue, The Sun is missing out on the real story.

Shouldn't that story focus on how viewers are responding? It's possible we could learn something interesting.

The real story might be about the public perception of Winfrey, or what people think about drug users or new attitudes toward television stars with addictions. Who knows?

In the end, though, any discussion about her motives is basically irrelevant. The only person who really knows why she confessed is Oprah Winfrey.

And this time she's not talking.

Carolyn Spencer Brown


Grandparents and Today's Mobile Families

Touching gibberish, that is what Tim Baker's recent discussion of the fate of grandparents is (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 9).

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