Favoritism works for poverty program
Your editorial on May 3 ("Playing favorites in East Baltimore") spoke volumes regarding the allocation of funds to renovate the former Sam Glass & Sons menswear building. How could anyone think of spending $2.6 million on that structure?
Perhaps the answer lies in the group associated with the venture, the Eastside Democratic Organization, an umbrella front for other organizations that are part of a growth industry known as the poverty-industrial complex.
These groups continue to waste exorbitant amounts of taxpayer funds in ''training'' and jobs programs. As last count, there were 161 federally funded training programs, few of which ever track and report results and success rates. The last thing we need is another program.
What gets lost is the accountability and results of these giveaway programs. According to the editorial, EDO leadership is connected to the anti-poverty umbrella Historic East Baltimore Community Action Agency, which has links to East Baltimore Community Corp., Fair Chance and East Baltimore Enterprises Inc.
EDO is a political group formed 27 years ago. Five year earlier, the War on Poverty was declared. Thirty-two years later, we are still at war; $5 trillion has been spent and we are still funding anti-poverty agencies that, quoting the editorial, ''reek of political cronyism.''
You are correct that taxpayers would prefer that the merit of proposals be the basis for spending their money. Otherwise, we continue to pour millions into so-called worthy causes with little or no measurement, tracking or results-based funding.
This venture is not about jobs; it is about politics, power and money.
James L. Smith
Citizens' homage motivates police
When Lt. Owen Sweeney Jr. was slain, many of us police officers began to wonder if it is really worth it, risking our lives, going out every day, fighting crime and trying to make a difference.
Is it worth the possibility of making our wives widows or making our children grow up without a father? It could happen to us anytime, any day.
As we rode from the church to the cemetery, a 20-mile stretch, we sat in our cars and pondered the answer to these questions.
We were amazed at the reaction of the citizens who came to honor Lieutenant Sweeney and show their respect, even though most had not known him. Hundreds of people stopped along the roadway or on the overpasses. Some people were holding flags. Firefighters in uniform with their trucks were standing at attention.
There were mothers with kids, senior citizens, business people and just ordinary people. Even construction workers stopped and were standing at attention. Many gave hand salutes or placed their hands over their hearts.
The actions of these people were just overwhelming to us. As sad as we were, we couldn't help but feel proud, looking at all of those people.
I couldn't help but think, yes, it is dangerous, but I still want to do my part to make this a better, safer place to live.
The writer is a Baltimore City detective lieutenant.
Ignorance keeps people on welfare
Although our welfare system exists to help people reshape their lives, its purpose in today's society seems only to mold them into laziness and pay for the result.
Our regulations on people's actions while on welfare are much too lax and allow the use of our system as their means of living.
Ninety-three percent of the welfare beneficiaries comply with federal health and education standards, yet only 58 percent of the caseload is educated to a high school/GED level. We are encouraging the spread of ignorance in today's society by our negligence in educating our people.
When the five-year time limit on welfare benefits is fully enforced, much of our population will struggle to survive without the experience or knowledge to hold a steady job in today's advanced society.
The basic information needed to comply with the requirements for a job with a good salary must come from an education at the high school level or, possibly, training beyond the high school level.
If we do not realize the extent to which ignorance has grown in our society, it will corrupt our society from within and damage the future of our country.
Orthodox Easter news disregarded
On April 27, metropolitan Baltimore's more than 20,000 Orthodox Christians celebrated Pascha (Easter) according to the date established in 325 A.D. by the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea.
Inexplicably, except for a brief mention on April 20, there was no further coverage in The Sun of this observance by the seven Orthodox churches of Baltimore's metropolitan area.
Although it has 250 million followers worldwide, Orthodox Christianity has frequently been referred to as "America's best kept secret."' It is hoped The Sun in the future will help to bring this to an end.
The need to separate church and auto tags