Letters To The Editor


December 28, 2003

Tax incentives for revitalization boost the city

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer deserve praise for their strong support for continuing the state's tax credit for commercial rehabilitation of historic buildings ("Ehrlich supports tax-credit renewal," Dec. 23).

In Baltimore, the renovation of the historic Hippodrome Theater as well as the Centerpoint, Tide Point and Montgomery Park projects, to name just a few, would not have been possible without this credit.

The program, which is rightly credited with providing a key incentive for much of the private investment in the revitalization of Baltimore's west side, is also an effective redevelopment tool that is available throughout Maryland.

It nurtures development creativity in situations where the business economics of the project may not otherwise work. It fosters redevelopment innovation in preserving the unique, enduring character of traditional commercial neighborhoods.

This tax credit's effectiveness (which, ironically, has prompted some legislators to consider allowing the program to end in 2004) is clear evidence that it provides the best kind of inducement in a free-enterprise system - one that works.

Donald C. Fry


The writer is president of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

No accountability for school spending

The Sun's article "Schools consultant got $600,000 for 18 months' work" (Dec. 24) exemplifies all that is wrong with the management of the Baltimore city schools system.

Who sits on the school board anyway? After reading the sordid details and the weak reasons defending this outrageous expenditure, I assume that the members at least include Larry, Curly and Moe.

The board must hold the school managers accountable and must stop approving such ridiculous contracts.

If allowed to continue with business as usual, this system will continue to penalize the very people it is there to serve - the children.

Raymond J. Colombo


Software expert's fee appears reasonable

Having been in the software industry for the past five years, I am not shocked or dismayed by an implementation cost of $600,000 for a $16 million computer system - especially if it works ("Schools consultant got $600,000 for 18 months' work," Dec. 24).

If Annmarie L. Wells routinely charges $1,500 per day as a consultant and has the appropriate experience, then such fees are not out of line, and I can find no fault.

The only aspect of the matter that may seem suspect is that Ms. Wells is a sole proprietor. But the deal cost the city less than it would have paid to a national consulting firm.

Whether or not the system works as specified should be the primary and initial focus of any investigation.

Gary Gamber

New Windsor

The writer is president of a computer consulting firm.

Malvo deserved a sterner sentence

Maybe if the jurors had had to experience pumping gas into their cars while looking over their shoulders they would appreciate the terror Lee Boyd Malvo spread over the region.

This punk terrorized hundreds of thousands, killed several, targeted area schools, shows no remorse, and now leaves many family members suffering. And this jury thinks he deserves "life" ("Malvo sentenced to life, no parole," Dec. 24)? Our justice system really stinks sometimes, and this is one of those times.

Mark Elliott


Don't drag families through more trials

Lee Boyd Malvo received a sentence of life in prison without parole ("Malvo sentenced to life, no parole," Dec. 24).

That's a long time in prison for an 18-year-old. And, as he has just one life, is there a need for him to stand trial for his actions in other states?

Why put the families of the victims through the torment of more trials? Let's get on with life - or in this case, the life sentence.

David Bielski


Crime victims have reason to flee city

I can identify with the victims mentioned in the article "Burglar's victims fear, fret and flee" (Dec. 21).

Before I moved out of Baltimore City, I was burglarized 10 or more times. Only one person ever stood trial because of those burglaries - and that was me, as a result of holding one burglar and his gang at bay with a hunting rifle. After losing thousands of dollars in lost work time and legal fees, I was found not guilty at my much-postponed trial.

Until it is legal to defend yourself in this state, I will do my best to stay out of Baltimore City.

David Titus


Bloodied city shows little respect for life

It is deeply disturbing to read about the excessive number of murders in our city ("4 killings in less than a day bring homicide total to 256," Dec. 20). All of our political, business and spiritual leaders should be responding in a unified manner to this state of emergency.

Baltimore reminds me of a war zone where bodies are picked up daily like trash. There seems to be no respect for life.

All of these people who were killed could have done something great, but choices, jealousies, drug turf wars and failed relationships have caused severe carnage on our streets.

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