Mikulski was right to vote to preserve manufacturing...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 23, 2002

Mikulski was right to vote to preserve manufacturing jobs

The Sun's editorial "Air pollution gets a `yes' vote" (March 18) did a disservice to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, General Motors, the city of Baltimore and the U.S. manufacturing sector.

The editorial suggests that the 1,500 jobs at General Motors' Broening Highway plant are not worth Ms. Mikulski's vote against higher CAFE standards. But manufacturing jobs are vital to our nation's economy. And this sector has been in transition for several decades.

In 1970, the Baltimore region was home to nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs, or 21 percent of the area's total employment base. In 2000, this sector accounted for 98,000 jobs in our region, or 8.1 percent of total employment.

Obviously, the manufacturing jobs that once supported the economy of the city and the region are now far fewer than they once were. Those of us who work in economic development are acutely aware of the adverse impact this has had on our families and neighborhoods.

That is why most economic development organizations, including the Greater Baltimore Alliance, work vigorously to keep and attract manufacturing jobs.

While we all strive to generate "New Economy" jobs, they have been elusive over the past 20 months. And every job lost undermines our ability to provide earnings opportunities for our residents.

Those who have the clout to help slow the further erosion of our city and regional job base need to do just that. Ms. Mikulski did the right thing for Baltimore, and deserves our praise and thanks.

Ioanna T. Morfessis

Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Alliance.

Senate missed its chance to improve fuel efficiency

Shame on the U.S. Senate for not passing a bill to increase vehicle fuel efficiency ("Senate defeats tougher gas mileage standards," March 14).

I thank Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes for standing up and voting for stricter gas efficiency standards. This must have taken tremendous courage and integrity.

I hope Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski will demonstrate such courage the next time an energy bill vote comes along.

Michael C. Worsham

Forest Hill

Our Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has done her part to preserve our right to drive air-polluting gas guzzlers.

There's an added bonus, too. Driving those gas hogs will help us stay friendly with our Middle Eastern buddies. What would we do without their oil?

Jeannette Ollodart Marx

Towson

Sacrifice state tax cut to fund services we need

As I read Howard Libit's article "Democrats wary about delaying tax cut" (March 15), a growing sense of rage and contempt built within me.

I don't know who state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller or Del. Howard P. Rawlings are trying to fool about keeping promises. But if they truly represented the best interests of the state, they wouldn't be shredding funding to critical areas such as education, health care, higher education and the environment.

These areas were the foundation of Maryland's recent economic strength and are key to ensuring a prosperous future.

My wife and I have one child and another due in May, and we are more than willing to sacrifice the $75 dollars we would realize from the tax cut so we can send our kids to modern schools and have them breathe clean air and enjoy the natural wonders of Maryland.

I hope more Democrats show the courage Gov. Parris N. Glendening and state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. have shown and delay this tax cut.

Joe Shapiro

Burtonsville

Environmental programs are crucial to bay's future

I agree with Tom Horton that it is wrong to make disproportionate budget cuts to environmental programs ("When budget cuts slice too deep," March 8). We should be cutting other programs.

Environmental programs such as Open Space, Rural Legacy and Smart Growth are crucial to the health of the bay. If we take too much funding from programs such as these, substantially more pollution will enter the bay.

Timothy Fike

Baltimore

It's time for Tom Ridge to start doing his job

Mike Lane was right on target with his depiction of Homeland Security director Tom Ridge's Crayola colors (editorial cartoon, March 15).

Mr. Ridge has been on the job for six months, and all he has done so far is color-code terror and hide from the Congress.

Herbert Shankroff

Towson

Bush's chiding of Israel mocks American values

The United States should take a good look at itself when President Bush has the audacity to say Israel's defense of its land is "not helpful" to American cease-fire efforts and war on terror ("Bush chides Israelis for escalation," March 14).

For the United States to attempt to appease the nondemocratic, despotic nations of the Middle East at the expense of democratic Israel makes a mockery out of our nation's values.

Like the United States, Israel considers its army a defensive force and does not attack unless it is absolutely necessary to preserve the stability of its nation.

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