Letters To The Editor


December 18, 2005

City should control area public transit

Jacques Kelly was right on the money in his column bemoaning the lack of true rapid public transit here in Baltimore ("City transit system needs to go beyond patchwork," Dec. 10).

Buses, limited light rail, commuter rail to Washington and a single Metro subway route just does not cut it for a city and metropolitan area with the size and potential vitality of the Baltimore area.

The recently announced proposed speedup of street traffic around the city is beside the point ("Drivers may get green lights," Dec. 6).

As Mr. Kelly remarks, Baltimore will not "really make it as a city" until we have a rapid mass transit system comparable to the systems in the two closest major cities -the Metro in Washington and SEPTA in Philadelphia.

One major obstacle: The fate of city mass transportation is in the hands of a state agency - the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA).

This is a harmful and unusual state of affairs - and a situation that is almost unique among large U.S. cities.

With other priorities and orientations, what does a state agency like the MTA care about Baltimore?

So, a good first step toward restoring the "more" in Baltimore would be to put the control of city and metropolitan area transit system back into the hands of our city's local government.

Arthur Cohen


Didn't Democrats also hire loyalists?

I read with interest the article regarding the Democratic allegations that the "governor reached deeper than necessary into state agencies to replace rank-and-file workers with devoted Republicans" and "systematically got rid of state employees believed to be politically or personally disloyal to the governor" ("Maryland workers said to be targeted," Dec. 14).

And this from someone who volunteered to testify as he was to be fired "because administration officials didn't think he could be trusted."

I wonder exactly how deep the Democrats believe is "necessary" and how many state at-will employees the Democrats believed were "politically or personally disloyal" to the string of Democratic governors who came before Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Had the Democrats ramming through the "investigation" not limited it to looking solely at the practices of Mr.. Ehrlich and, instead, examined those of the Democratic machine that held sway over Maryland for so long, perhaps we would learn the answers to those questions.

And can you imagine the nerve of a chief executive who wished to replace employees in his organization he believed were not loyal, and would work at odds with his agenda?

My gosh, such a thing is unthinkable.

Douglas Dribben


Killing murderers upholds life's value

In response to the column "Opposition to death penalty upholds the value of life" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 11), I would argue that that opposition to the death penalty denigrates the value of human life by implying that the murder victim's life is not worth the vile and odious life of the murderer.

To elevate our humanity, we must kill, in the case of the death penalty, to preserve life.

And someone who commits murder in cold blood forfeits his right to live.

The murderer's life has no value.

August A. Conomos


Both parties distort use of federal power

Steve Chapman's column "Liberals display sudden disdain for federal power" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 12) reminded me of Gov. George Wallace's startling statement that there wasn't a "dime's worth of difference" between the Democrats and Republicans.

Mr. Chapman accuses liberals of inconsistency. But politicians from left to right consistently and cheerfully attempt to harness federal intervention to support their respective agendas, especially if theirs is the party in national power.

Mr. Chapman's essay happens to entertainingly illustrate a current, liberal somersault to the anti-federal posture.

However, conservatives are equally skilled and agile in such political gymnastics.

Angelo Mirabella

Silver Spring

Excessive spending causes the deficits

The Sun's latest hand-wringing editorial highlighting the horrors of tax cuts is an analysis that is - to put it mildly - static ("Tax shame," editorial, Dec. 9).

It presupposes that if taxes are raised sane people don't flinch - and seek to hide the remainder of their monies that the government hasn't deemed that it can spend more wisely than they can.

And when folks run and hide with their money, economic constriction usually begins running fairly close behind them.

President John F. Kennedy saw what so many of modern-day Democrats fail to see: that decreasing taxes does not on its own increase deficits.

What balloons our deficits is undisciplined spending.

And as bad as President Bush and the Republicans have been at mindlessly spending lately, if a Democrat mentions anything to you about "fiscal responsibility" you'd better start counting the spoons.

As far as spending goes, the grades are in: Republicans - D; Democrats - F.

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