Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 09, 2006

Consider the costs immigrants impose

At Wednesday's state Board of Public Works meeting, the board was asked to consider a $2.4 million contract to create a standardized test to assess the annual progress of approximately 30,000 Maryland students learning English as a second language.

Before voting to approve the contract, I expressed my frustration with spending state taxpayers' money for a situation that is the result of an ineffective federal policy on immigration ("Schaefer's words stir criticism," July 6).

I realize that, in the process, I may have conveyed the impression that I do not support education for everyone in this country.

But my concern is: Who pays for the education?

The federal government, by failing to resolve the question of who is allowed into this country and under what conditions, has, in effect, created another unfunded mandate for state and local governments.

I know that we are a country of immigrants and that people come here seeking opportunity, and many make tremendous contributions.

But we need to carefully consider the fiscal impact that illegal immigrants have on our school systems and other public services.

And let me also go back to the issue of speaking English.

The McCain-Kennedy bill, which passed the U.S. Senate and which many people, including myself, see as a positive step in dealing with the complex issues of immigration, contains a provision that makes learning English part of the process of earning citizenship.

People can disagree on that point. But supporting it does not make one an opponent of immigrants, merely a supporter of a common language for the country.

Make no mistake: I well recall when the language of my family's heritage was widely spoken in Baltimore.

But I also remember that German immigrants worked hard to learn the language of their adopted country.

William Donald Schaefer

Annapolis

The writer is comptroller of the state of Maryland.

Taxpayers get bill for costs of growth

Cynthia Jabs' exposure of the development process in Baltimore County ("Saving open spaces" Opinion

Commentary, July 5) was pointed and powerful. But she couldn't say everything in a short space.

Luckily, The Sun's editorial "Who's minding the Shore?" (July 5) fills an important gap. It points out that providing services to new developments often costs more than the tax revenues they generate.

And, as the editorial notes, "And what's the prescription for that ailment? Higher taxes."

That's the big irony: Municipal officials and politicians tango with the developers, and Joe Citizen gets to pay the bill.

And not just in higher taxes, but in overcrowded schools, lower property values and a diminished quality of life.

Paul Romney

Baltimore

Israel's aggression takes a heavy toll

As an American Jew, I am appalled at Israel's recent actions in the West Bank and Gaza ("Israel widens Gaza offensive," July 6).

The destruction of Palestinian infrastructure and the wholesale arrests of Hamas politicians are a sort of collective punishment that can only wreak havoc on innocents.

I believe that such a policy will, in the long run, if not the short run, wreak havoc on Israel.

Jews and non-Jews alike should be urging negotiations and restraint on the Israeli government.

And the U.S. government, as Israel's principal donor, should be exercising its muscle to reverse these disastrous and immoral policies.

Anna Rubin

Ellicott City

Leave Lieberman to his own devices

If Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman has a higher loyalty than his loyalty to his party ("Lieberman is ready to run as independent," July 4), then his party's loyalty should go to the candidate chosen by the Democratic voters of Connecticut.

Indeed, had Mr. Lieberman voted in Congress as his constituents elected him to do, he would not have a problem winning his party's nomination.

Judith Bacon

Owings Mills

Seeing flag burned rekindles patriotism

As a proud American who still gets chills when the flag is displayed and can't complete the National Anthem or "God Bless America" because of the lump in my throat, I am confused by the enthusiasm for a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning ("An issue - but not exactly a burning issue," July 2).

I am one of eight sons of an immigrant mother and first-generation American father. All my siblings served in the military. We proudly represented this great country in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

My parents instilled in us a love for America based on the freedoms given to us by the Constitution over which we are now fighting. And as much as I love our flag, I love our Constitution more.

When I see or hear that someone has burned the flag to express his or her hatred for the United States, the flames rekindle my pride in our freedoms.

Arthur Koszoru

Aberdeen

Flag once waved with 15 stripes

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