Gov. Glendening kept his word on education budgetGov...


September 10, 1997

Gov. Glendening kept his word on education budget

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has increased the higher education budget every year since he took office. The budget increases were overdue; the 1990 recession hit Maryland hard and higher education took more than its fair share of cuts as state revenues declined.

While the fiscal 1996 budget reflected the spending priorities of the previous administration, in the 1997 and 1998 budgets Governor Glendening kept his promise to restore stability to spending for colleges and universities -- by 3.8 percent in 1997, and 3.2 percent in the current budget. Most other state agencies received little or no increase.

But our campuses were not the only intended beneficiaries of the budget increases. Students have been hit with increases in tuition and mandatory fees in recent years and the extra money in the higher education budget was intended to provide relief to them, too. Viewed in that light, the governor's reaction -- and mine -- to a proposal to increase tuition and fees by 7 or 8 percent, twice the rate of inflation, is understandable.

Year after year, the cost of college increases faster than inflation until working families are unable to send their children to college without borrowing. That is unacceptable. In a state where many businesses have cut costs or reduced operations and most families saw their real income grow only slightly during the 1990s, increases in the cost of college must be thoroughly justified and the impact on students and families must be taken into account.

Patricia S. Florestano


The writer is the Maryland higher education secretary.

Street peddlers should stop using horses

Steven A. Blake (letter, Aug. 17) may think he knows the details of the Castle Street incident, but I was the person who received the anonymous plea for help regarding five horses freezing and starving in that unlicensed stable. ''Decisive action'' was, in fact, taken.

Upon my immediate call to the Office of Animal Control, an investigator performed an inspection and found five very thin horses with no food or water. The caretaker was instructed to provide food, water and veterinary exams, but he instead relinquished the horses to Animal Control.

Unfortunately, it did nothing for almost three additional weeks, reportedly because of inclement weather and other poor excuses.

After my repeated pleas with health department officials, they finally allowed the horses to be rescued on Jan. 23, 1994, by a private organization with which I had made arrangements. Unfortunately, two horses had already died by that time and an additional horse died in another incident a year later.

Although the City Council conducted a hearing into the tragedy and new animal control regulations were implemented, it is impossible to effectively monitor the horses when they are out of the stable, as well as on evenings and weekends.

Perhaps Baltimore should follow the lead of every other American city and phase out the use of horses and ponies for vendor purposes. Especially since Animal Control is not able to effectively regulate a-rabbing, risking the lives of horses and ponies is hardly justified.

Sylvia Block


Regulate tattoo and piercing parlors

Body-piercing and tattoo parlors are opening up across Maryland in storefront facilities. Except in Allegany County and Baltimore City, tattoo and body-piercing parlors are unlicensed and unregulated. Only upon complaint will the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene become involved.

Currently, the tattoo and body-piercing facilities open in Baltimore County are operating against zoning regulations.

The Baltimore County Council should wait until specific licensing regulations are enacted before creating a zoning classification for tattoo parlors and/or body-piercing establishments.

The public has a well-founded reliance that our local or state government will ensure that facilities open to the public have operators who have complied with licensure and are regulated.

The truth is that an amateur with no level of competency may open a tattoo parlor or body-piercing facility.

There is no hue and cry from the citizens of Baltimore County to have tattoo parlors and body-piercing establishments.

There is medical support for continuing to prohibit unregulated tattoo and body-piercing facilities.

To alter this at a time when our scientists are taking up the charge to wage all-out war on blood-borne disease would be counterproductive.

Lorraine A. Gordon


Gun control fails to stem homicides

The Sun's Aug. 25 editorial, ''Mad gun laws,'' was grossly inaccurate and misleading.

The issue was further distorted the very next day by Nancy Fenton's letter extolling the virtues of Maryland's ''sensible gun control laws'' and leading readers to believe that gun control reduces crime.

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