Governor deserves credit for growth and fiscal solvency...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 27, 2002

Governor deserves credit for growth and fiscal solvency

I disagree with the tone of The Sun's editorial that was critical of a governor who has made Maryland a better place to live and work ("Governor gambles with state's future," Jan. 17).

To state "some of the state's current financial problems result from expansion of health care benefits" suggests a policy that shuns health care for the needy. Good governments look after the weak, while fostering prosperity and opportunity for citizens - as Maryland has done.

From 1994 to 2000, Maryland's job growth improved to 15th-fastest (from 43rd) in the nation. Its median household income is the fourth-highest, its home ownership rate is at 70 percent and it has the lowest child poverty rate in the nation.

Spending has increased, but the state has remained fiscally prudent, maintaining its AAA bond rating and thereby saving the state millions in borrowing costs. Gov. Parris N. Glendening deserves some credit for these achievements.

The editorial is correct that the current U.S. recession and the consequent slowdown in Maryland imply that revenues will grow more slowly than expected.

However, the recession appears milder than the 1990-92 downturn, and Maryland is well-positioned to re-emerge as a national leader when the next upturn begins.

Pradeep Ganguly

Baltimore

The writer is director of economic research for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Glendening's growth record is worse than Schaefer's

Jay Hancock's column "Only Schaefer growth record was worse than Glendening's" (Jan. 23) really missed the boat in making this comparison.

One must remember that Gov. William Donald Schaefer held office from 1987 through 1995. The only good economic times during that period were in 1987-89; from then on, the state was in recession. Out of eight years in office, Mr. Schaefer had only three years of prosperity to induce firms to relocate to Maryland.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, on the other hand, had seven out of eight prosperous years to entice new businesses.

Ask anybody with common sense and that person will tell you Mr. Schaefer was the pro-business governor and Mr. Glendening was unquestionably the pro-union governor. No need to say anymore.

John Miller

Timonium

Baltimore needs a mayor fully committed to the city

I like Mayor Martin O'Malley. I would proclaim that from the mountain tops, and he's one of the reasons I moved into this city. But he needs to stop the rumor mill now. The more he allows the rumors about running for governor to proliferate, the more the city's momentum is hurt.

Much of the transformation in Baltimore is not just because of the mayor's policies, but his enthusiasm for the city and ability to be a cheerleader for this much-maligned burg.

I moved 3,000 miles because I believed Baltimore would be one of the greatest comeback cities in America. But it can't happen without a fully invested mayor.

Joan C. Mitchell

Baltimore

Added gun regulations do little to stop criminals

Ginni Wolf and state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. want to fingerprint and license all gun purchasers in Maryland ("Gun control advocates push for new legislation," Jan. 22). They want proof of residency, completion of so-called safety courses on weapons and a requirement that owners report stolen weapons.

The anti-gunners still don't get it. Legitimate handgun purchases are already registered in Maryland. The buyer's background is also checked.

You can require handguns to be painted "safety yellow" and implant a computer chip behind the ear of every law-abiding citizen who buys a handgun, and the criminal element will still have just as many illegal firearms.

Wayne Croft

Parkton

Destroying media building isn't much of a tragedy

"Israel destroys Palestinian media building," proclaims the heading over The Sun's Jan. 20 report from El Bireh.

But in the wake of Sept. 11, the controlled demolition of some infrastructure, the confiscation of selected documents and video clips "showing Arafat meeting various foreign dignitaries" and the "carting away" of "framed portraits of a smiling Arafat covered with soot" cannot arouse much sympathy and commiseration.

In the report, Peter Hermann mentions that "children scavenged for treasures." In New York, at ground zero, many children died, and others waited in horror to learn about the fate of their parents.

Infrastructure? Framed pictures of a smiling Arafat? Measured against the real tragedies of our times, what's the problem in El Bireh?

Leo Bretholz

Baltimore

Link of money, politics undermines democracy

There are many reasons individuals, corporations and groups give public officials money - and they're almost all bad. The major motivation is a form of bribery - to get something in return, but more and more corporations and groups complain of being pressured and having interests threatened if they fail to "pay up."

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