A city losing people can't afford bloated council or tax...


April 13, 2001

A city losing people can't afford bloated council or tax rise

A city that has lost more than 300,000 people cannot continue to spend as it did when we had close to 1 million people.

So why do we have an 18-member City Council, at a cost of $864,000 a year ("Passing the buck," editorial, April 6)? Large sections of east and west Baltimore are abandoned. Who do these members represent, the cats and dogs that are left?

Montgomery County has nine council members, Anne Arundel County has seven, Baltimore County has seven, Howard County has five and Harford County has seven. None of them have deputy mayors at a cost of close to $500,000 a year.

I agree with the mayor that public safety is a priority. I do not agree we should cut employees who pick up trash, clean streets or board up vacant property. Nor do I agree with paying business owners who don't use their property excessive amounts ("Baltimore doesn't dicker in paying stores to move," March 29).

The mayor cannot reduce the City Council's size, but residents can. We must.

The mayor can examine his own staff to see if we can afford their services.

The city's budget woes are not the making of the current mayor; however, he can prove himself an able administrator by making fiscally prudent choices.

We are trying to retain residents and attract more people to live in this wonderful city. To raise the property tax or tax energy would be a fatal error.

If we have to resort to making the city a more costly place, the lights will go out all over town as people leave.

Jacquiline B. Johnson


Downsizing the City Council would limit citizens' options

The Sun's editorial ("Passing the buck," April 6) regarding downsizing the City Council is on point but its conclusion is exactly backward. The Sun says "They've turned their posts into full-time constituent-service centers -- doing work that can and should be handled by city agencies."

If you've read The Sun's recent stories, you should know that city agencies are not responsive to citizens' needs.

Perhaps someday they will be, but at this time the citizens of Baltimore need to be able to talk to a responsive, elected official rather than a bureaucrat.

Until we are able to make the city agencies responsive, let's not take away the citizens' only way to deal with the city.

Ken Gelbard


Hopkins' gain could be the community's loss

It is both outrageous and heartbreaking that Johns Hopkins University is auctioning off its public radio broadcast license to the highest bidder. This property should not go to Maryland Public Television and it certainly should not go to an out-of-town broadcaster -- not even public radio WAMU in Washington ("Steiner hopes to buy station," April 4).

Rather, it should go to a Baltimore entity such as the newly organized Friends of Baltimore Public Radio (FBPR).

And it should not go at a price (such as the oft-quoted $5 million) that generates a multi-million-dollar profit to Johns Hopkins, one of the community's wealthiest institutions. If the university administration can't see the public relations black eye it would give itself by selling WJHU for profit, perhaps its board can.

What the university should be doing is offering to donate the license and the physical assets to FBPR.

Michael J. Berla


College Park should follow example of St. Paul's School

Recently we have witnessed two instances of outrageous behavior by area students: the St. Paul's School videotape sex incident and the bonfires set in College Park by University of Maryland students after the basketball team's loss.

To its credit, the leadership at St. Paul's acted promptly and decisively in disciplining the involved students, thereby sending a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated.

It will be interesting to see if the administration at the University of Maryland, College Park will act with the same courage and conviction.

Leon Reinstein


Why do so many men choose to harm women?

In light of the offensive conduct of St. Paul's School varsity lacrosse team, it is only fitting to ask: Why are so many boys and men opting to harm girls and women when they could just as easily choose to protect -- or even ignore them?

Karen Hartz


The writer is executive director of the Maryland Coalition against Sexual Assault.

Tax cuts can pave the way to alternative energy sources

The writer of the letter "Finding energy alternatives should be key national goal" (April 1) misses the point of President Bush's proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut.

Its ultimate purpose is to stimulate economic growth that will produce more income and greater tax revenues. This can make available funds far greater than those the writer suggests using for alternative energy research.

But, unfortunately, it's not that simple. Developing safe, cost-effective alternative energy sources requires a long-term commitment both of political will and dollars. There are no short-term solutions.

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