Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 20, 2007

MSDE must meet its child care bills

I read The Sun's article on the crisis caused by late child care payments from the Maryland State Department of Education with great disappointment ("Computer glitch delays pay for day care providers," April 12).

With our state's largest African-American population and highest concentration of poverty, Baltimore is home to more than 7,000 children who depend on this child care program.

MSDE has known about these payment problems for months. Providers have been struggling to keep their doors open and keep kids safe and cared for.

But since February, all they have received from MSDE are promises.

Our children cannot afford to wait any longer.

MSDE must take its responsibility seriously and make sure all children in Maryland get a quality early education and a fair start on life.

Marvin L. "Doc" Cheatham Sr.

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

I'm so glad to finally see an article on the problems families face as a result of late payments from the Maryland State Department of Education's child care program.

I am a home child care provider, and I have struggled with late payments for years.

I've often had to go three or four months without a check.

It's MSDE's responsibility to make sure kids in Maryland get good child care - and how can I do that when I can't afford food and supplies for them?

I'm glad that MSDE officials have apologized for the problem. But that's not going to help the kids who are going without child care.

The administrators who run the program are still getting paid while kids and families are suffering on their watch.

Annette Scurry

Baltimore

Other new laws also aid our environment

Two "sleeper bills" passed under the radar of The Sun's environmental roundup ("Renewed green emphasis scores successes for environmentalists," April 14).

The Energy Efficiency Standards Act, cosponsored by Sen. Paul G. Pinsky and Del. William A. Bronrott, sets energy-efficiency standards for seven common appliances and will require utility companies to use more energy-efficient transformers.

This law will reduce our peak energy load on hot summer days and save consumers millions of dollars.

Del. Dan K. Morhaim's bill to extend the statewide Electronics Recycling Program makes permanent a highly successful computer recycling pilot program and expands it to include televisions.

This program will remove thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals from our waste stream and hold manufacturers responsible for the whole life cycle of their products.

Kudos to the legislature for passing these important bills.

Johanna Neuman

Baltimore

The writer is a policy advocate for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

All college workers need a living wage

Cheers to the University System of Maryland for extending state employee health coverage to contractual lecturers ("Lecturers to get benefits," April 14). But the process has to go a step further.

Sadly, the living-wage law recently enacted by the General Assembly doesn't apply to contractual workers in the university system ("Agreement revives wage bill," April 5).

Campuses throughout the state have hundreds of workers who receive no benefits and minimum-wage salaries. But housekeepers who clean professors' offices and classrooms deserve decent pay and benefits.

The university system should step up to the plate for them also.

Roderick Ryon

Baltimore

The writer is a professor emeritus at Towson University.

End `trivial tyranny' of tangled tax code

Once again, Jay Hancock hit the nail on the head in his criticism of the insane, cruel complexity of the income tax laws with which Congress has saddled us ("After 94 years, filing taxes still a process of trivial tyranny," April 15).

I hope a future column will offer specific suggestions for a vastly simplified but reasonably fair tax system - in which it is no longer almost more painful to figure out the tax one owes than to pay it.

Cliff Terry

Baltimore

Gun in college logo an offensive image

In Wednesday's editorial cartoon, Mike Ramirez very cleverly incorporated a gun into Virginia Tech's school logo ("Another View," April 18). But given what transpired at Virginia Tech on Monday, this is truly one of the most tasteless and tactless depictions I've seen in a long time.

What exactly is the point he's trying to make with such trash?

Is one supposed to take away from it the idea that somehow Virginia Tech is to blame for the atrocity or somehow complicit in what happened on Monday?

Is everyone with a heart or social conscience at The Sun asleep?

This is the kind of thing I'd expect to see in a supermarket tabloid, not a newspaper in a great American city such as Baltimore.

Shame on everyone who had a part in this cartoon being published.

Chip Goetz

Baltimore

I was very upset after seeing Mike Ramirez's distasteful cartoon on Wednesday.

It was disrespectful not only to the college itself but to all the students, faculty and families of Virginia Tech.

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