Milken creates wealth, helps those in need The column...


July 26, 2002

Milken creates wealth, helps those in need

The column "White-collar crime pays" (Opinion*Commentary, July 12) invents outrageous fictions regarding Michael Milken.

He never "sold worthless stock." He did not "destroy" any company, much less the one he worked for. He did not pay "$1.1 billion in fines."

An accurate assessment of Mr. Milken's career would show his enormous structural contributions to the economy and his lifelong philanthropy.

He is widely recognized as the financial genius who made modern capital markets more democratic. This set the stage for the late 20th century economic boom and the resulting explosion of wealth in 401(k) plans and IRAs that will support the retirement of millions of Americans.

And the thousands of companies he financed created millions of jobs.

As a philanthropist, Mr. Milken ranks among the most generous living Americans for the $750 million he and his family have provided to education, youth programs, inner cities, AIDS research, pediatric neurology and cancer research.

In the midst of a lifetime of philanthropy and job creation, Mr. Milken's conduct briefly resulted in what was determined to be five violations of complex securities-reporting regulations. Such conduct had never before (and has not since) been subject to criminal prosecution. Four of the five violations were found by the judge to have had zero economic effect. And the total effect was a relatively tiny $318,082.

Fairness dictates that The Sun provide both sides of the Milken ledger.

Geoffrey Moore

Los Angeles

The writer is an assistant to Michael Milken.

Warming trend turns the heat more deadly

Jonathan Bor's article "Baltimore's heat turning deadly" (July 19) highlights the danger that summer heat poses to the elderly, but fails to point out the main reason why this problem is so bad and getting worse - global warming.

Scientists predict that global warming will mean more frequent and more extreme heat waves in cities such as Baltimore. And a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on Maryland cites a study that predicts heat-related deaths in Baltimore could rise by 50 percent with just slightly more warming.

It's critical that Maryland's leaders take action now to address the problem, before heat waves get even worse.

But the good news is that it's possible to take action on global warming while improving the state economy. Clean energy sources such as wind and solar power could provide an increasing amount of our power while creating new jobs and revenue streams.

Gary Skulnik

Silver Spring

The writer is vice chairman of the Sierra Club of Maryland's Air and Energy Committee.

Forget about house and back Towson U.

In the article "Costs of college's mansion detailed" (July 20) The Sun again detailed the problems involving Towson University's former president, Mark L Perkins, and his management of the university's recently purchased residence in Guilford.

Enough is enough. The time has come to put the mansion behind us and combine our efforts in the interest of the future of Towson University.

Such teamwork could provide the university the impetus to reach greater success and national recognition.

Quinton D. Thompson


Locust Point needs new investments

As a resident of the Riverside neighborhood, which is right next to Locust Point, I am also concerned about keeping these neighborhoods affordable for those who have grown up in them ("Uncomfortably on the beaten path," July 9). The solution, however, is not to discourage new investments and revitalization.

The city should look instead at tax-rate freezes for long-time residents, while reaping the benefit of higher taxes from the newcomers.

Jennifer McLaughlin


City dwellers work to improve parks

Does the writer of the letter "City residents should clean up their parks" (July 16) really think city parents don't try to maintain their parks? If so, he is sadly mistaken.

Each year the Herring Run Watershed Association and its volunteers spend numerous weekends removing large debris from the Herring Run Park and stream. On the weekend of April 6, they removed 350 bags of trash.

Other residents have cut the fields so they can be used for sports. My husband recently cut a small piece of field whose weeds were 2 feet high, just so his lacrosse players could scoop the ball. This field took 2 1/2 hours to cut with our lawn mower.

Many other residents also work to keep up our park. But is it too much to ask to have the fields mowed?

Eileen Crocetti


Ehrlich must earn support from blacks

I couldn't agree more with Michael Olesker on Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the GOP's racial history ("Ehrlich shows up, bearing his and GOP's racial history," July 21).

It is presumptuous of Mr. Ehrlich to think that all he has to do is select a black candidate for lieutenant governor and wear his "black social hat" and that will convince people of color in this state to vote for the Republican Party.

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