Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 18, 2003

City students, staff will pay for poor oversight

The Sun's article "1,000 layoffs at city schools" (Nov. 13) causes one to question the validity of the city-state schools partnership that began in 1997.

The state and the mayor have appointed every member of the Baltimore school system's New Board of School Commissioners. I assumed that state involvement included state oversight. But who has been minding the store?

The school system submits an extensive master plan to the Maryland State Department of Education. Why is the school system facing such a huge deficit?

No one ever seems to point a finger at the decision-makers. And it is easier to lay off 1,000 employees rather than acknowledge that no fiscal controls are in place. But I'd wager that not one employee receiving a layoff notice has anything to do with budgetary decision-making.

Now it's too bad that students and employees will have to suffer. But doing more with less is a mantra all too familiar to city employees and students.

Harvey Klupt

Columbia

School staff cuts are long overdue

It won't happen, but the decision to reduce the administrative staff in the Baltimore public schools is long overdue ("1,000 layoffs at city schools, Nov. 13). The question is, what took so long? And, more important, when will the geniuses on the school board realize that a common-sense conservative manager is needed to run the school system - not some glamorous "expert" from out of town?

Public school systems are an entity of their own. A significant amount of what they do is totally unrelated to the instruction of children and more the result of the self-indulgence of the individuals in charge.

A lean, mean administration is a first step in reducing the city schools' deficit. More important, it could be a first step in focusing resources and decisions at the local school level.

Dennis Sirman

Westminster

Use slots revenue to aid horse industry

I dearly hope Maryland will not resort to gambling to solve fiscal problems created by those who run the state. However, as The Sun points out in the editorial "Bad bet" (Nov. 13), racing has been an integral part of Maryland's history and is one of the top industries in the state if you consider the tracks and also the farms where the horses are bred and raised.

Gambling revenues need to go to the purses and horse breeders and owners who make racing possible. The baseball and football teams got quite a financial boost from the state - one not shared by the horse industry.

So I hope slots are put only at the tracks, that the tracks are open only during regular racing hours, and that the money goes to the horse industry and benefits that industry.

Anne Hackney

Parkton

GOP right to push for vote on judges

The Sun's editorial "Senate charade" (Nov. 14) missed the mark. What the Republican senators were attempting to do was remind their Democratic counterparts that the minority should not use legislative tactical maneuvering to block judicial nominees from reaching the floor of the Senate for a simple yes or no vote.

The editorial mentions that this 30-hour, all-night protest was a waste of taxpayer's money. That was nothing compared to how much has been wasted by the minority party with its trick of blocking highly qualified candidates from filling longstanding vacancies on the federal bench.

I'm certain the Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves.

Dean Landers

Glen Arm

Abortion procedure doesn't save lives

The chairman of Planned Parenthood of Maryland claims that President Bush has issued a "death warrant" for some women by signing a bill that bans partial-birth abortions ("Abortion ban doesn't protect the mothers," letters, Nov. 12).

But for years, doctors have used emergency C-sections, not abortions, to save the lives of mothers and babies when either was in danger during a pregnancy. Having a partial-birth procedure or any type of abortion in such situations increases, not decreases, the risk to the mother.

The "health of the mother" claim is just the abortion industry's loophole to keep abortion legal from any time after conception for any reason.

Keeping partial-birth abortion legal would only serve two purposes: To kill somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 viable babies each year and to line the pockets of Planned Parenthood and other abortionists.

Jon Shoemaker

Columbia

Wind power is just another boondoggle

The article "Farming wind in Western Md." (Nov. 9) was another Sun exercise in Babbittry, promoting an industry long on promises, short on performance and committed to tax-credit schemes worthy of Enron and WorldCom.

Wind power is an intermittent, sideshow technology with a great potential for environmental harm. Nonetheless, like the U.S. synthetic fuels industry, corporate wind power will milk its government tax credit "incentives" so that a few individuals and industries can make enormous profits while delivering very little product.

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