Gasoline tax to pay for snow removalAs snow storms go, we...

LETTERS

January 18, 1996

Gasoline tax to pay for snow removal

As snow storms go, we have been through a rather large one for Maryland. If you want to compare it with some of our Northern and Midwestern ''blizzard states,'' this is really no big deal.

Our snow removal crews have performed very professionally. We certainly owe them our gratitude for a job well done.

I am ready to pay for the privilege of being freed from a snowbound existence. The cost of snow removal is high and in this case unexpected. The money has to come from some place. I can think of no more appropriate place than from the drivers of these freed-up vehicles.

Let's have our new hard-working, conscientious state legislature pass a ''Temporary Snow Removal Tax.'' This is to consist of a temporary additional tax of 5 cents per gallon on gasoline until we have collected the equivalent of the amount of additional money this winter's snow removal has cost.

As soon as this amount is obtained, then the snow tax is immediately discontinued. I believe this is a very simple and fair solution to an unexpected problem.

Walter Boyd

Lutherville

Private transit worked badly

A letter appeared the other day advocating privatization of part or the whole of the public transportation system.

My memory is still good enough to remind the readers that before a government agency began to manage the transit system of Baltimore City, a private company owned and operated the system. As I recall, its service was as terrible as one could possibly imagine. Broken-down buses were the order of the day. Many of them were unable to complete their routes, leaving passengers stranded.

I can also recall many accidents when it snowed, and reports came through about most of the buses running on threadbare tires. Finally a government agency came to the rescue, but only after paying a substantial price for a bankrupt system .

Now that we have a reasonably good expectation that buses will get us where we want to go, and the system is essentially sound financially, the call comes to privatize.

Why not let the private company that once owned it manage it for us? Better yet, why not just give it back to the company?

Abraham Makofsky

Cockeysville

Bell's perks ill serve struggling city's needs

I am outraged that City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III has ordered a new car and office renovations at taxpayers' expense. (''A month in office, Bell orders $33,000 in Perks,'' The Sun, Jan. 5)

Where is Mr. Bell's common sense? Our city is plagued by economic uncertainty. He was elected to serve the citizens of Baltimore City, not to be a parasitic attachment.

Count on me to be at the polls when it is time to elect a new city

council president.

Madonia C. Mobley

Baltimore

Creches are proper at church-related sites

The recent effort to place creches at government-owned public places should be offensive to all who defend our Constitution and the principle of state-religion separation. Ridicule of the law should not be tolerated.

When I taught for one year at a Catholic university, I was not offended by the presence of a crucifix in every lecture and laboratory. This was a Catholic institution and the ruling body of the school had every right to place crucifixes in the classroom regardless of the religious persuasion of the students.

However, there is no such mandate for the exhibition of religious symbols at government-supported or owned buildings or grounds.

Religious practices of this sort should be restricted to houses of worship, homes, religious institutions and organizations that specifically are allied with a given religion.

To impose one's religious beliefs and symbols on the general populace is an affront to the principles on which this country was founded.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

Calendar numbers don't add up

Two letter writers misapply mathematical logic to the Western calendar, debating something which is simply a matter of long established convention.

Their error is to treat the time line of history like the set of numbers, with years B.C. the negative numbers, years A.D. the positive ones, and the year 0 in between.

In fact, there was no year 0, as we reckon time.

In 1 B.C., the Emperor Augustus banished several of his daughter Julia's lovers to an island off the Italian coast. In 1 A.D., he sent his grandson Gaius to be proconsul of Armenia. These events were one year apart, not two.

The Christian era began in the year 1 A.D., the second century in 101 A.D., the third in 201 A.D., and so on, down through the 20th century in 1901.

Accordingly, the first day of the third millennium will be Jan. 1, 2001.

George Angell

Baltimore

Shame that police shot to kill woman

It is a shameful day that Betty Keat lies dead, shot by an over-reactive police officer as three of his colleagues stood by.

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