Letters To The Editor


August 11, 2004

A new trustee would be setback for city schools

The call for a court-appointed school trustee by state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick is very disturbing ("Grasmick tries to shift debate over city schools," Aug. 6).

Under the recent collaboration of Mayor Martin O'Malley and Baltimore schools CEO Bonnie S. Copeland, things are getting better, not worse, for city schools. Since this collaboration and the increased involvement of the mayor began, Baltimore's schools are, for once, hitting all their financial markers, and the following have occurred:

The system paid back its $34 million loan on time, and eliminated its cash-flow problem.

It finished the year with a slight surplus that will be applied to the schools' deficit.

The school system has developed a solid two-year plan to eliminate the deficit and build a rainy day fund.

More than 1,000 people have been laid off - almost entirely in administrative jobs - to create a system that the city can afford.

A court-appointed school trustee would deprive parents of the right to have a say in their children's education. And it could plunge the school system back into the chaos we saw a few months ago, with students, parents and teachers uncertain about the future.

The NAACP's Baltimore Branch recognizes that appointing a trustee would affect a disproportionate number of minority families, who want a quality education for our children as well as the chance to stay involved in this process.

On behalf of my members, I say that this is a bad idea that I hope will be instantly dismissed.

G. I. Johnson


The writer is president of the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP.

State must explain starving city schools

State schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick must explain, on behalf of the state, why Maryland was not in compliance with Circuit Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan's order to provide adequate funding to Baltimore schools from 2000 until the current fiscal year - underfunding city schools by approximately $1.2 billion over that time ("Grasmick tries to shift debate over city schools," Aug. 6).

We can continue pointing the finger at anyone and everyone, but noncompliance with the judge's order has harmed our children and their education.

Marvin L. "Doc" Cheatham Sr.


The writer is president of the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Voters see economy with more clarity

As "July job growth falters" (Aug. 7), economists are mixed in their analyses of what that portends.

President Bush contends the economy is looking up. I suggest, however, that there are more than 100 million better economists in this country than ever are reported in the newspapers. That is about the number of people who will vote in November.

Better than anyone else, they unequivocally know whether or not they are better off than they were in 2000. They will know the fear factor - not the fear of terrorists, but economic fear.

And in the final analysis, self-interest will override every other issue in the forthcoming election. You can bet the ranch on it.

Stanley M. Levy

Silver Spring

Cuba still suffers from U.S. sanctions

The poor people of Cuba are reported to have a high literacy rate and to receive relatively good health care, but for decades they have suffered from the sanctions the United States has imposed, as was accurately noted in Gregory Kane's column "A revolutionary idea: Dump America's failed Cuba policy" (Aug. 7).

The Cold War is long over, and we are spending billions in the hopes of helping the people of Iraq, who long suffered from our failed sanctions policy.

The Cuban people deserve better of American diplomacy.

Ross Sanderson


A new name for Disney film?

Maybe the Walt Disney Co. should change the name of the movie Annapolis to Philly- opolis ("Disney moves `Annapolis' filming to Philadelphia," Aug. 5) - then everyone would want to see this new city.

Phyllis Heverling


Purging gay troops is costly to all of us

The Sun's article "Army, in need, raises bonuses" (Aug. 5) outlined the manpower shortages in the military. To combat the growing personnel deficit, the Army is considering a bonus of up to $15,000 for each new recruit.

This raises some serious questions.

At the same time this expensive effort is being undertaken, reservists and others are being required to extend their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and U.S. troop strength is being stretched thin around the globe.

And yet thousands of trained and qualified military personnel are being fired.

The ineffective policy of "don't ask, don't tell" has led to the discharges of nearly 10,000 gay service members over the past decade, according to Pentagon data.

As we attempt to buy new recruits to maintain proper troop levels, the taxpayers are footing the bill for this archaic, irrational and unsafe policy.

Steve Charing


Corrupt state culture really hasn't changed

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