Increasing taxes would only extend exodus from the city...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 16, 2001

Increasing taxes would only extend exodus from the city

Mayor Martin O'Malley has it exactly wrong ("Taxes are investment in Baltimore's future," Opinion Commentary, May 7). His program of new taxes is instead an investment in the past:

An investment in "tax and spend" government, an idea that went out in the 1980s.

In business as usual rather than needed change.

In government bureaucracy rather than efficient service delivery.

In tourists, developers and strip clubs rather than residents.

In empty houses, vacant lots and deserted neighborhoods rather than revitalized communities.

In paternalism rather than government partnerships with citizens.

In old-time ward politics, bloating public payrolls with folks who will vote for incumbents.

In provincialism, when most of our problems are regional.

Most of all, Mr. O'Malley's plan is a huge investment in encouraging Baltimoreans to leave the city, as they have been doing for more than a decade.

As they leave, they take with them not only their taxes, but also their talents -- talents Baltimore should be tapping as its true investment in the future.

Rick Gilmour

Baltimore

Don't rely on the police to rid community of crime

Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris presented an upbeat picture of his first year on the job ("Norris tells of progress after 1 year," May 9). But let's not be too quick to agree or expect too much.

It's not the responsibility of the police to eliminate crime and create a healthy social environment; the primary responsibility for that belongs to the community itself. The police are there to support and supplement the work of the community.

In this generation, individuals, families -- the whole country -- have dumped responsibilities on institutions that go well beyond their mission and capacity.

Police, in particular, are expected to provide the glue that holds fragmenting and disintegrating communities together. The average officer is expected to be a kind of superman carrying expectations that go far beyond human capacity.

The end is disappointment and hostility. But the real failure lies with communities imbued with narcissism and apathy.

Richard Micka

Baltimore

Let the Geckle brothers just get on with their lives

I owned a business in Baltimore that was broken into so often that my insurance was canceled, so I was very upset over Michael Olesker's column "Weighing property against a human life"(April 29).

When a business owner puts 12 to 14 hours a day into serving the community and trying to make a living, it is appalling that anyone would break into his or her establishment, and wreak havoc on that person's life's work.

What possessed these young hoodlums to enter the Geckles' establishment three days in a row?

The grand jury has spoken. Let these brothers get on with their lives.

M. A. Raitzyk

Appomattox, Va.

Dues to United Nations bring us little in return

It is time we realized the United Nations is no more effective than the League of Nations was in settling world affairs.

The money we spend on membership could better be used elsewhere to support our interests.

William D. Townsend

Timonium

Take Mideast's children out of the line of fire

Palestinians lob bombs while hiding behind their children, then parade their small corpses around when Israelis shell the source of these bombs.

Israeli children are killed riding a school bus or taking a hike in the country as revenge for the above. All the region's children are taught to hate their enemy.

Perhaps civilized nations should offer to remove all children from this valley of death and hatred. Then the adults can slaughter each other, while waving their holy books and guns over their heads.

Michael S. Eckenrode

Baltimore

Preserving a way of life is more important than oil

The Sun's editorial about keeping oil drilling away from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge hit the right points ("Wilds vs. wealth," May 9).

But how does one persuade corporations that saving wildlife and a native way of life and not despoiling one of the last true wild places on earth is worth it?

Perhaps one small item should be emphasized: The president's brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, has insisted that there be no more oil drilling off the Gulf Coast or any coast of Florida.

Like Alaska, the gulf has been a great source of oil, but natives of Florida want to preserve tourism and their way of life.

Ellen H. Kelly

Baltimore

Cooperative buying saves local governments millions

The Sun's editorial, "School building sticker shock" (May 2), addressed how regional governmental cooperation can save money for our various school systems.

Recently a cooperative purchasing subcommittee was created by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC).

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