Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 23, 2007

Take-home vehicles can aid taxpayers

The decision by two of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s senior communications staffers to appropriate unmarked police cruisers for use during their service to the state was unfortunate ("O'Malley curbs use of state cars," May 17).

Not only does it perpetuate unfair stereotypes about state workers, but it also obscures the fact that state vehicle use by public employees is not necessarily a bad thing when it is done appropriately.

Responsible state vehicle use benefits taxpayers who would otherwise have to pay mileage reimbursements and employees who travel frequently on state business and would otherwise sustain wear on their personal vehicles.

Let's face it: A state vehicle isn't exactly an icon of luxury. Cadillacs, BMWs and Porsches generally aren't found in the state fleet. Many of the cars are dingy and utilitarian.

When I worked in the State House for Mr. Ehrlich, some of my colleagues were offered state vehicles but chose to drive their own cars (as did I).

However, Mr. Ehrlich actually reduced the state motor pool by 300 vehicles.

I hope Gov. Martin O'Malley's recent focus on state vehicle use results in a similarly balanced review of the program.

The interests of many state workers shouldn't be permanently harmed by the bad decisions of a few.

Richard J. Cross III

Baltimore

The writer was a speechwriter for former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Record gives Carter no basis for attacks

It was with complete incredulity that I read Sunday's article "Carter calls Bush `the worst'" (May 20).

Apparently, Jimmy Carter has conveniently forgotten the debacles that were his foreign and domestic policies during his presidential tenure. But I haven't forgotten.

In foreign policy, President Bush is attempting to deal with the terrorist threat to U.S. security that Mr. Carter helped create.

If Mr. Carter truly wants to see the "worst" president in our nation's history, he need only look in the nearest mirror.

Dominic M. Romano

Baltimore

Former President Jimmy Carter is such a morally confused man that his mean-spirited statements are more pitiful than insightful.

The man simply has no moral compass and is unwilling to confront evil even when it spits in his face or spills the blood of his fellow countrymen.

Just as President Harry Truman's leadership has been more appreciated as time passes, I think President Bush's leadership will stand the test of time.

Does anyone think the same thing is true of Mr. Carter's leadership?

Thank God Mr. Carter is not in a position to further harm me or my children except by consoling our enemies.

Morris L. Gavant

Baltimore

The `Ugly Betty' of U.S. presidents?

I am no fan of President Bush. But having your presidential policies called the worst in American history by Jimmy Carter is like having your looks criticized by "Ugly Betty" ("White House says Carter is `irrelevant,'" May 21).

Jerry Levin

Baltimore

Bush should listen to Carter's wisdom

For the sake of this country, I hope someone in the White House has the simple good sense to advise the current president to stop being a bully and listen to former President Jimmy Carter, who has been tested and proven to be a man of simplicity and wisdom ("White House says Carter is `irrelevant,'" May 21).

Someone has to stop the killing in Iraq and President Bush's squandering of all the good will the United States has ever held in the world.

Mr. Carter has tried to do that. Mr. Bush should listen and learn.

I, for one, find Mr. Carter's leadership relevant, riveting and inspiring.

Brenda Falcone

Towson

Keep a close watch on Firestone's abuse

As The Sun's article on Firestone's rubber plantation in Liberia notes, the tire company has been the target of a worldwide campaign and lawsuit because of its 80 years of exploitation of Liberia ("Fragile Liberia struggles to protect a crucial industry," May 20).

The Firestone plantation has been characterized by child labor and widespread abuses of workers' rights, and a report from the Liberian government recently confirmed that the company dumps toxic chemicals into local rivers.

One way that the company could address illicit rubber-tapping on its plantations is by ensuring a living wage for employees and meeting workers' other demands.

As the Liberian government and Firestone negotiate a new concession agreement and workers prepare for new union elections in June, it is essential that public attention be brought to Firestone's continued abuses.

The Sun should cover the situation facing workers in Liberia more closely in that period.

Timothy Newman

Washington

The writer is a campaign assistant for the International Labor Rights Fund, which is part of the Stop Firestone Coalition.

Killer deserved the death penalty

I'm sure the jury thought long and hard about the sentence for John C. Gaumer ("Gaumer gets life sentence," May 17). But after such a horrific crime, should we really feed and clothe Mr. Gaumer in prison for perhaps the next 50 or 60 years?

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