Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 28, 2007

Alonso shines light on graduation woes

Some people might have read The Sun's headline "Colleges report dismal results" (Oct. 24) with sadness, frustration and more than a little anger.

A more reasonable response would be to honor the courageous folks who chose to make this data public.

Kudos to city schools CEO Andres Alonso for using the school board meeting as a forum to raise an issue that should concern and engage all citizens of Baltimore, whether or not a public school student resides in their home.

Each of us should wonder: How might I contribute to solving this seemingly intractable problem?

Until the community recognizes its collective responsibility for both the problem and its solution, the city's graduation rate will languish at a dismal level.

Mr. Alonso has shined a light on the problem for us. Let us not ignore it.

Beth Drummond Casey

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Middle Grades Partnership, a program that provides summer and after-school programs to city middle-schoolers.

A prosperous state needn't rely on slots

I just don't get Gov. Martin O'Malley's decision to go forward with a special session of the General Assembly to address Maryland's fiscal needs, in part through the introduction of slot machines ("O'Malley warns of high `cost of delay,'" Oct. 24).

Why in the world does the nation's wealthiest state - a state with a high percentage of college graduates, a state that leads the world in many areas, a state with an abundance of natural resources - why does such an enlightened state even have a single thought about balancing its budget through gambling revenues?

Are we not a grown-up people willing to shoulder our responsibilities through the necessary level of taxation?

Wise taxation is our friend, not our enemy.

Income from gambling is just the opposite.

Fred Ruof

Baltimore

State must save its racing industry

Tomorrow, the special legislative session will get under way here in Annapolis. And once again, the issue of slots will be part of the budget discussion ("O'Malley warns of high `cost of delay,'" Oct. 24).

What often seems to be overlooked in the debate is the horse industry and the money it generates for the state.

According to the American Horse Council, the goods and services the horse industry produces are worth $1 billion in Maryland and help employ 28,000 people.

The economic impact of the racing portion of the industry is worth $600 million, with 9,000 people employed in its racing and breeding sectors.

With more and more horse owners and breeders deciding to take their horses elsewhere, more and more money that used to go into Maryland's economy goes into the coffers of other states.

And in these difficult times, that is not a good thing.

It would be a great shame if the horse racing industry disappeared from Maryland.

Jalina Jovkovich

Annapolis

Franchot is right to counsel caution

If Gov. Martin O'Malley wins approval in the special legislative session for the tax plans outlined in The Sun's articles "O'Malley warns of high `cost of delay'" (Oct. 24) and "Insuring 100,000, plugging shortfall" (Oct. 24), Maryland voters very soon will feel the tax-increase consequences of last year's vote that put the governor's office and the legislative branch under the control of the same party.

State legislators should step back and follow the advice of state Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has objected to handling the state's budget problems in a special session.

Ron Wirsing

Havre de Grace

Rival rights claims can't be absolute

As the local lawsuit against members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church proceeds, I find myself hoping that it will eventually find its way to the Supreme Court ("Funeral protest case opens," Oct. 24).

The lawsuit concerns an issue of competing rights, the sort of issue that is long overdue for national public judgment.

The church on trial claims a First Amendment right to express its opinions and beliefs in public, while the father of a slain soldier claims a right of privacy in the matter of mourning the loss of his son.

Each claim has its own legitimacy, and for this reason this might make a good test case for a social phenomenon that has persisted in public and private discourse and seems to have escalated recently.

In America today, the claim of "my rights" is often expected to be sacrosanct and honored in full, without regard for anyone else's rights.

The story of King Solomon in the Bible shows that this kind of argument is not a new phenomenon, and that a king's wisdom is sometimes needed to solve the dilemma.

No individual's rights can be guaranteed to be absolute.

Thaddeus Paulhamus

Baltimore

Disguising cruelty as religious speech

As a parent who has buried a child, I am appalled at the lack of compassion shown by a so-called religious group.

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