Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 05, 2007

Stadium Authority serves the state well

The Sun's editorial "In need of oversight" (Feb. 27) put the recent legislative audit of the Maryland Stadium Authority in proper perspective on one key issue but, in my opinion, came up with a mistaken conclusion regarding its work and mission.

The editorial accurately pointed out that the audit uncovered internal financial control and oversight issues that need to be addressed by the Stadium Authority's new leadership. It also noted that fraud and abuse were not found.

The editorial, however, veered off the mark when it suggested that Stadium Authority projects such as the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center or Coppin State University's new physical education building are beyond its mission.

The Maryland Stadium Authority has demonstrated over 20 years that it is highly adept at managing large construction projects for athletic, convention and entertainment venues funded through substantial state government investments.

No other agency has been as successful in ensuring that the state taxpayers' significant financial contribution to these projects is protected and leveraged to maximum benefit.

It's entirely appropriate to ensure the Stadium Authority has adequate management controls and financial oversight in place. But it's also important to note the valuable role it has played in managing major publicly funded construction projects in a manner that gets them built, on time and on budget.

The Maryland Stadium Authority has served our state well in this role.

Donald C. Fry

Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

`Mission creep' is asset to taxpayers

As The Sun notes in its editorial "In need of oversight" (Feb. 27), the Maryland Stadium Authority was originally formed to execute the design and construction of Camden Yards - a project that it shepherded, in conjunction with the Orioles and others, to a fantastically successful conclusion, on time and within budget.

During the course of this success, the MSA became one of the most respected organization of its kind in the nation - building expertise, staff, systems and infrastructure.

Having put together these assets for the Camden Yards project, it would have been a tragic waste not to see them applied to other projects.

What The Sun's editorial terms "mission creep" is, in fact, a prudent use of a resource that, having been developed by the state, is readily available to improve other projects that involve public dollars.

While there are always areas in which we can improve, we should not overlook the fabulous and effective resource we Maryland taxpayers have in the Stadium Authority.

Peter Kirk

Annapolis

The writer is chairman of Maryland Baseball.

Public perturbed by the `robo-calls'

State Sen. E. J. Pipkin suggests that automated calls are a way to fight negative campaign advertisements ("Bills blocking `robo-calls' meet resistance," Feb. 28). Sen. Robert J. Garagiola says they're a way to reach the voters.

I and thousands like me would say: Print a list of our elected officials who don't vote for a ban on such calls, and we will make sure that these representatives hear loud and clear the will of the people.

David James

Aberdeen

Our mission in Iraq is accomplished

The Iraq war is at an impasse. So let's step back and take an overview:

There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Iraq has now had elections and has a governing structure.

Therefore, I say, "Mission accomplished."

It is time to declare a victory and bring all our forces home.

Yes, the aftermath will be terrible, but we have no business in a civil war.

Yes, Iran will move into the power vacuum and be a major threat, but we can handle Iran. And that threat should wake up our European "allies" and unite us in a common cause.

George Pfeiffer

Bel Air

Legacy of slavery still with us today

It seems that lots of folks out there feel that no present-day apology for slavery is needed ("Saying we're sorry won't alter history" and "Atone for wasting our time, money," letters, Feb. 28).

The main thrust of their argument is that no white or black Marylanders around today were involved in slavery, so let's all just get over it.

This argument assumes that slavery has not left us a lasting legacy - that the playing field is now level. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The legacy of subspeciating an entire race of people is all around us: resegregated schools, widely accepted negative stereotypes, discrimination in housing and lending and, maybe worst of all, diminished expectations.

Apologize for slavery? Most certainly. And while we're at it, how about reparations in the form of investments in community-building?

We are both a product and a captive of what has come before.

If we want to be free in the future, we had better acknowledge the wrongs of the past and work toward righting them.

Dennis Kaplan

Baltimore

Slowing trucks would boost safety

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