Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 12, 2006

Selling our forests isn't the only option

In his article "National forest lands could go up for sale" (May 5), reporter Tom Pelton mentions that the forest land sale proposal is still alive because Western congressmen cannot find another funding source for rural schools.

Well, some Democrats have found that funding source and it doesn't involve selling our natural heritage.

Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Ron Wyden of Oregon have submitted a plan that would close a tax loophole that allows some government contractors to avoid their tax obligations.

At this time, the federal government does not withhold taxes owed by federal contractors. The senators want to withhold 3 percent up front of federal payments for the goods and services delivered by private contractors.

The money would be applied to the taxes owed by the contractors, who normally have tax bills that far exceed 3 percent. If their tax bills turn out to be less than the amount withheld, the contractors would be reimbursed.

The senators' plan would raise $2.6 billion over the next 10 years to pay for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

A spokesman for Mr. Baucus has pointed out that this is not a new tax - it's just a way to ensure that the government gets its payments from federal contractors.

Now the question is: Will the Republicans put aside their partisanship and embrace a solution created by those on the other side of the aisle? Or will they do nothing while the president sells out our natural heritage?

Lisa Mayo

Germantown

Voters can hasten comptroller's exit

Announcing that he will not seek re-election, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said: "I'd rather it be said, `Why did you leave too soon?' rather than, `Why did you stay too long?'"

It's a great shame that state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer has not issued a similar statement.

Mr. Curran has been a respected politician serving with dignity. Mr. Schaefer, on the other hand, has been a public embarrassment to Maryland for years.

He has insulted whole sections of the state, including hard-working immigrants in low-wage jobs and women of all ages.

Seeing him on the national news mortifying a young female employee in Annapolis was the last straw.

Since Mr. Schaefer will never have the sense to make the kind of statement Mr. Curran did, I urge the voters to retire the comptroller in the next election.

End our state's embarrassment. Enough is enough.

Kay Dellinger

Baltimore

Board fully funds smaller city schools

The Sun's article "Stadium School protests cuts" (May 10) was irresponsible.

The story plays up the claims by Stadium School advocates that their school's budget is being cut for next year, even though city school officials, including the school board, have repeatedly made clear in public statements that the school's budget for next year is going to be the same as it was this year.

The school system has many problems. But even when the system does something right - such as preserving the budgets of small, successful schools like the Stadium School and New Song Academy - The Sun often spins the story into something negative.

This is journalism unworthy of The Sun.

Kalman R. Hettleman

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners.

Why spurn outreach by Iran's president?

Amazing. The Iranian president writes an 18-page letter about Middle East history, culture and world politics only to have the Bush administration reject it out of hand ("Rice dismisses Iran letter," May 9).

Is that because it didn't immediately offer capitulation to U.S. demands?

Are we so completely conceited that we believe our destructive power entitles us to rule the world absolutely?

What if some people would rather die than be ruled by us? Should we listen to what they have to say and negotiate, or is it always "might makes right"?

And if all wars end in negotiation anyway, wouldn't it be smarter to try that tack first and save some lives, arms and legs?

William Trolinger

Ellicott City

Car-pooling can ease pain at the pump

Every day we hear about pain at the pump, conservation, hybrids, gasoline taxes, Big Oil, etc. ("More feel effects of gas increases," May 7). But we hardly hear a word about car-pooling.

One need only observe our streets and highways and see that the vast majority of the cars on the road have one occupant - the driver - to realize that businesses, large and small, would do a great service to our country and the world by coordinating car pools to and from work.

Think of the gas and money we could save. Think of the pollution we might prevent. Think of unclogging our streets and lessening traffic jams.

Car-pooling, efficient public transportation and intelligent use of resources are just a few of the things that demand our attention.

If we get serious about conservation, we may have a fighting chance.

But, right now, it doesn't look too good.

Jeannette Ollodart Marx

Towson

Poor mass transit keeps us in our cars

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