`Prevailing wage' laws waste tax dollars, scorn economic...


March 08, 2000

`Prevailing wage' laws waste tax dollars, scorn economic logic

In his letter, "Sun's rhetoric and figures misconstrued `prevailing wage' bill" (Feb. 23), Gov. Parris N. Glendening responded to The Sun's editorial that objected to the "prevailing wage" law being applied to school construction ("Adding extra costs to school construction," Feb. 15).

The governor's argument is so spurious that I would be ashamed to admit he is governor of my state, except that he reflects the views of many government busy-bodies who have no consideration of the tax burden they put on citizens.

As a libertarian, I agree with the idea that if the "prevailing wage" is valid for one state project, it is valid for all. But the point is that prevailing wage is never valid. It is a payoff to union bosses and flies in the face of the most basic economic logic.

I wonder if Mr. Glendening would hire a craftsman to work on his home and say "I know you said you would do the job for $1,000 but I am going to give you $1,500."

Not a single person on the face of the earth would ever take such a position, if the money came out of his or her own pocket. When it comes to using taxpayer money that seems to be another story.

If I have to put it in simple words for the governor, let it be this: Get your hands out of my pocket. Cut taxes and spend like the money was your own.

Steven Sass


Poor design wasn't reason contract was terminated

We were very disappointed in Ed Gunts' article regarding the proposed Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture article ("Museum back on the drawing board," Feb. 17). The article was very misleading.

Its statement that the museum's sponsors were "disappointed by [the] preliminary plans" is without foundation.

Responsibility for the museum's design was transferred from the Department of General Services to the Maryland African-American Museum Corporation and therefore our contract for design was terminated for the "convenience of the state."

In fact, the museum corporation and the building subcommittee publicly endorsed every iteration of the design presented to the Design Advisory Panel and the Architectural Review Board.

Mr. Gunts also fails to mention that the design pictured with the article was more than eight months old and that, while design panels did criticize earlier design, they commended the design team's efforts in their most recent meeting.

Furthermore, quotes by M. J. "Jay" Brodie and Elliot Rhodeside were taken out of context. They refer neither to the design pictured nor to the current design.

It is interesting that Mr. Gunts compares this project to the Columbus Center, which ultimately failed after being designed by a replacement architect.

In that case, an opportunity for a world-class building resulted in a building Mr. Gunts has described with such metaphors as "a giant slug" and "ribbed prophylactic" ("Columbus Center plan neither fish nor fowl," March 22, 1992).

I have enclosed a rendering of the latest design for the Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture. It was envisioned as a rich mixture of copper cladding, glass and masonry construction.

Alan E. Reed


The writer is a principal of Grieves, Worrall, Wright & O'Hatnick, Architects.

Kids and parents enjoy `Just for Kids' section

Just a quick note to tell you how excited my kids were to see The Sun's new "Just for Kids" section on March 1.

I had just pulled it out of the paper when my 7-year-old son saw the cover and grabbed it off the table. He was doing the word search when my 10-year-old daughter showed up for breakfast and wanted to do the puzzles, too.

Their words about the section: "This is soooooo cool. Our own newspaper!"

I think the separate pull-out section is a great idea. I also like the way you can pull the section apart and both kids can read something at the same time.

The cartoon format and the variety of articles is great too.

Thank you so much for putting this new section in the paper.

Peggy Wortman


I absolutely love The Sun's new "Just for Kids" section. It's fun to read.

I also like "Jumble for Kids." It helps my vocabulary grow. I liked the excerpt from "Martian Rock" and the riddles.

I have only one suggestion. Put in one page where kids can send in poems or stories, and also a page of good riddles.

April Kerns


The writer is a sixth-grader at Ridgely Middle School.

Balto. County is striving to cut the `achievement gap'

I appreciate The Sun's attention to African-American achievement in its editorial "How to close the achievement gap" (Feb. 2). The achievement gap that exists throughout this nation is unacceptable. The staff of Shady Spring elementary has addressed it with urgency.

Our efforts have been supported by the Baltimore County public school system through six years of equity funding. Shady Spring has received $228,550 from such funds over the last three years.

The money has been used to deliver research-based instructional practices that target our African-American students.

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