Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 29, 2006

No one is meddling with news on VOA

Ed Warner's column "Don't let America lose its Voice around the world" (Opinion * Commentary, March 23) is one of a series of pieces written in recent weeks by Voice of America veterans who seem to long for the days when clattering typewriters and shortwave radios were VOA's means of communicating with its declining audience.

In those years, VOA's entire audience in the Middle East was estimated at a minuscule 1.6 million. It is little wonder that succeeding administrations and Congress allowed the budget of U.S. international broadcasting to decline a real 40 percent in the 1990s.

But the attacks of 9/11 changed all that. And because we now utilize satellite television, the Internet and AM and FM radios, the audience for U.S. international broadcasting is documented at 35 million in the Middle East.

The Bush administration and Congress have wiped out those budget cuts of the 1990s - and enabled us to move our agency into 21st-century communication.

As for Mr. Warner's assertion that there is political interference at VOA, I ask, where is his proof? Until his recent retirement, Mr. Warner was at the center of VOA's newsgathering operation.

Why does he not offer personal evidence of political tampering with the news?

Because there was none.

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson

Washington

The writer is chairman of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Blocking the merger won't harm business

I really don't believe that a threat by Maryland lawmakers to intervene in the proposed merger of Constellation Energy Group with Florida's FPL Group will undermine the state's business reputation ("Intervention poses a mix of problems," March 25).

Likewise, I totally disagree with Christine Tezak, an electricity industry analyst who says, "The appropriateness of linking the merger [with rate hikes] is something I think legislators should think about, because what kind of message is that sending to all businesses in Maryland?"

Other businesses, which face competition, need not worry about regulatory controls on price increases in their work.

It is only Constellation Energy that is trying to make huge profits for executives and stockholders while gouging Maryland ratepayers who have nowhere else to turn.

We need a Public Service Commission with the teeth to protect ratepayers against our monopolistic energy provider.

Jerry Todd

Linthicum

Who will safeguard the shareholders?

So the message is now clear: Don't invest in a company over which the General Assembly has any jurisdiction ("Energy merger might be leverage," March 24).

Now that the delegates and senators have sharpened their knives on each other, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the Public Service Commission, they are going after Constellation Energy shareholders.

It seems that people who have invested in Constellation over the years have received an above-market return ("Stranded consumers," editorial, March 24). So now the legislators want the shareholders to give up some of that return by killing the merger or having the company disgorge funds, both of which would likely result in a drop in the company's share price.

What I want to know is, who is looking out for the Constellation Energy shareholders?

It isn't The Sun or our elected representatives - not in an election year.

It looks like everyone has a voice but us.

Clint Black IV

Baltimore

Years later, mission remains incomplete

On May 1, 2003, President Bush appeared before a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

On March 21, 2006, he announced that there will be a U.S. military presence in Iraq beyond his term in office ("Bush sees U.S. in Iraq past '08," March 22).

What's wrong with this picture?

Clyde R. Shallenberger

Baltimore

Pursuing victory is hopeless folly

The quickest way to end the Iraq war is to promptly lose it, and not pursue the obstinate folly of "victory."

When the people are fed up with war, it is time to quit.

Maurice Mackey

Baldwin

Dixon helped area `fight the height'

While Mayor Martin O'Malley and Mount Vernon's own City Council representative, Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., were too afraid to challenge a powerful developer and his friends who have been pushing for years to build skyscrapers in the middle of this historic neighborhood, it was City Council President Sheila Dixon who had the guts to stand with Mount Vernon in its battle against these powerful interests ("Mount Vernon's plan advances," March 21).

For all of the minor issues now being raised about Ms. Dixon's actions concerning one city contractor - none of which appears to have resulted in her financial or political gain - let's remember that Ms. Dixon was the only political leader in Baltimore to step in to protect its premiere historic community when it needed her.

Cathy McDermott

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere Association.

Giving up drinking a better memorial

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