Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 02, 2007

Classes complement state's ties to China

I was delighted to read that Mandarin is now being offered in some Maryland schools ("Md. schools joining trend, add classes in Chinese," Dec. 25).

I am a graduate of Mount Hebron High School and became interested in China while in high school. I wasn't able to get serious about learning Mandarin, however, until graduate school, when I had to go to another state (and eventually Beijing) to become proficient.

By the time I started learning Mandarin I was already a young adult, and obtaining fluency has been arduous. I envy and admire the high school-age students who are getting exposure at a young age.

Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick's commitment to offering Mandarin in Maryland schools complements the state's impressive efforts to forge business and government relationships in China.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development regularly sends officials here to promote Maryland, and there is even a "Maryland Center" in Shanghai.

To my knowledge, few other states are as active in China.

As a Marylander, I am proud of my state's forward-thinking commitment to making sure Maryland students and businesses are positioned to get a piece of the China pie.

Chris Schob

Shanghai, China

The writer is practice development manager for a U.S. law firm with a practice in China.

Lousy leadership has hurt the city

Let's see if I have this straight - in the last four years, the ratio of Baltimore city's median housing values to the housing values in the suburbs has declined so severely that the disparity now ranks as the worst in the United States ("The Baltimore disparity," editorial, Dec. 26).

And in the same edition of The Sun I saw the headline "City passes '05 homicide total" (Dec. 26).

Even Baltimore's downtown streets are suffering badly from neglect.

Riding on major arteries such as St. Paul Street has become a bone-jarring obstacle course of potholes and washboard surfaces.

With such signs of city government mismanagement and poor leadership evident at every turn, was The Sun's endorsement of Mayor Martin O'Malley for higher office perhaps a shrewd stroke to rid City Hall of ineffectual leadership?

For the life of me, I can't think of any other reason a public official who couldn't run a city of 600,000 should be deemed fit to run a state with 10 times that population as governor.

James G. Howes

Lutherville

15-day delegate a waste of funds

Kudos to reporter Bradley Olson for his article "Delegate takes office - for 15 days" (Dec. 27).

A Republican central committee nominates William Breitentenbach for a 15-day term in the House of Delegates, with the approval of our outgoing Republican governor, at the request of the newly elected Republican county executive of Anne Arundel County, whose former legislative office Mr. Breitenbach will fill.

What a waste of taxpayer money.

Mr. Breitenbach will receive more than $1,800 in salary. But he can't vote, introduce legislation or attend committee meetings. He won't have an office, letterhead or an official phone.

All he can do is receive taxpayer money for doing absolutely nothing.

I thought Republicans were against government waste.

Irwin E. Weiss

Baltimore

Killers should pay by losing their lives

I agree wholeheartedly with the writer of the letter "Who will speak up for Evans' victims?" (Dec. 26).

It's about time that we put to death the killers who don't have any respect for life or even care who they kill.

If you kill, you ought to pay by losing your own life.

I have always believed in "an eye for an eye."

Elinor Jackson

Westminster

Larger health issues cause ER gridlock

Patients with minor medical issues are not the cause of overcrowded emergency rooms ("A third of ER visits aren't emergencies, state reports," Dec. 21).

They may wait a long time while people with more serious medical problems are cared for first. But once they are seen, they usually can be treated and released quickly.

And these patients are not "a national problem," as a report from the Maryland Health Care Commission suggested.

Only 12.5 percent of visits to emergency departments in 2004 were classified as "non-urgent" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The real issues that threaten the care of all emergency patients are uncompensated care and the lack of such hospital resources as bed capacity.

Millions of people have no health insurance and seek medical care in emergency rooms because they have no other place to go.

Solving the emergency room problems will mean covering the uninsured, opening inpatient beds in hospitals and ensuring medical specialists are available.

None of these are easy matters to fix. But fixing them is necessary to ensure that life-saving emergency care will be there when we need it.

Dr. Brian F. Keaton

Dallas, Texas

The writer is president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Let children revel in joy of presents

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