Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 05, 2003

State's `windfall' for educators not so generous

Isn't it ironic that on a day when a headline on the front page of The Sun proclaims "Windfall for teachers, not needy schools" (Dec. 1), we find on Page 2 of the sports section that Gary Sheffield accepted a three-year contract with the New York Yankees for $36 million ("Report: Sheffield accepts Yanks' offer, worth $36M to $38M," Dec. 1)? Now that's a windfall.

The teacher windfall The Sun noted has two parts. The first is a retirement benefit for teachers who worked for more than 30 years that was paid for with 7 percent of the teacher's paycheck deducted for that same 30-plus years.

The second stipend or windfall is a salary for teaching full-time. In the case of Ian Cohen, a former principal of Polytechnic Institute now teaching at Pikesville High School, he works 7.5 to 8.5 hours per day, before homework, for a yearly salary of almost $60,000.

Where is the windfall? The retirement money belongs to the teacher much like a bank account into which deposits are made over a long period of time. So the windfall must be the $60,000 salary paid to the teacher for full-time work.

It is a shame that someone who has six to seven years of college-level coursework and has devoted 30 or more years to education is portrayed as greedy for earning as much as a driver for United Parcel Service or the Maryland Transit Administration.

David Lang

Baltimore

The writer is a teacher at Baltimore's Western High School.

Glad to see leaders put politics aside

It is commendable that our governor and Baltimore's mayor - the shining lights of the state's two opposing major political parties - have joined forces to help save the General Motors plant ("Ehrlich, O'Malley join in effort to save Baltimore GM plant," Dec. 2).

To me, this is true cooperative government at its best, and is a rejection of the standard "regime of the parties" that has plagued our republic for most of my 56 years. Our own past Govs. Theodore R. McKeldin and William Donald Schaffer were able to govern by consensus for the common good, and we need this spirit again now.

We are fortunate to have two bright young men in Maryland who may both want to be governor as well as president of the United States and both may actually hold these positions someday. It is unfortunate, for us and them, however, that they are now like two scorpions locked in a bottle, engaged in a bitter fight that benefits no one.

Both are tireless campaigners for whom the battle of 2002 has not stopped, but has merged into that of 2006.

But if both our governor and the mayor don't want to find themselves politically dead in the future, the former should cease government by gridlock and the latter should concentrate more on the job at hand.

Both should de-emphasize campaigning and let 2006 arrive when it will. In the meantime, there is plenty of a more positive nature to occupy both men.

Blaine Taylor

Towson

Mayor should focus on city's problems

Mayor Martin O'Malley should worry about why more than 700 city school employees are losing their jobs, why the convention center has such a high vacancy rate and why the city's murder rate continues to be so high. These events have all happened on his watch and directly affect the quality of life and financial stability of the city.

Once Mr. O'Malley has solved these problems, maybe he will be qualified to evaluate the Department of Social Services ("Mayor right to sue over lawless choice," letters, Nov. 28).

Until this happens, Mr. O'Malley should stop playing politics and let Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. do what the people elected him to do - streamline government with people he feels are qualified to do so.

Joe Collins Sr.

Reisterstown

Loyola threatens region's open space

Woodberry is not the only community threatened with devastation by Loyola College. Residents of the town of Parkton have paid for a private ad in The Sun (Nov. 30) decrying the college's plan to destroy their own bucolic neighborhood with a spiritual retreat.

The power of private institutions is enormous. Some communities, such as Woodberry, have neither the money nor the effective representation to fight for them. Others, such as Parkton, might have the money but are still faced with a county executive bent on developing open space and redefining the character of a community in someone else's image.

Loyola College is a force that must be stopped. Failing to do so would signal to all that rampant, self-serving and reckless development will continue without end.

Myles Hoenig

Baltimore

An asset to the city and theater lovers

Hope Quackenbush, the longtime director of the Morris A. Mechanic Theater, was indeed a Baltimore asset, and theater lovers particularly owe her a great deal ("`Great promoter' of Baltimore and a founder of the City Fair," Dec. 2).

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