Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 04, 2008

Schools real key to city's renewal

In an article about the apparent demise of high-rise condominiums as Baltimore's economic development engine, I was pleased to see Richard Clinch of the University of Baltimore acknowledge the necessity of improving our public schools ("Project stall," April 27).

Few residents of Baltimore would agree that building a high-rise condo across the street from their house is the key to renewing their neighborhood.

Here at ground level, we know that an essential step in revitalizing a neighborhood is to establish a safe and healthy environment for youths and to demonstrate to prospective residents that their children can go to good public schools.

So let the condo developers stand aside on their increasingly cold feet. We now have a new city schools CEO stepping in to help educate Baltimore's children.

Let's jump in with him and convince our elected officials to embrace education as the authentic engine for sustainable economic development in Baltimore.

Joan Floyd, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Remington Neighborhood Alliance.

Program for gifted could boost others

Having taught Farai Chideya in Baltimore's Gifted and Talented Program at Harford Heights Elementary School and watched her blossom there and later attend Harvard University and attain a highly successful career ("Woman Behind the Mike," April 27), I have often wondered how many other city students could have done the same if we had continued to adequately fund the once-successful gifted and talented program in our city schools.

B.A. Zalesky, Columbia

The writer is a former teacher in the Baltimore public schools.

A cheap shot at our troops

As the proud parent of one of our nation's finest, I found The Sun's editorial "A wavering military" (April 28) insulting and a cheap shot at those serving in uniform and their families.

Our "once-proud military" continues to be proud. The commitment and dedication of our sons and daughters as soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen has not wavered.

What has wavered is the support for our troops by liberals.

Democrats came into power in the House and Senate two years ago promising an end to the war in Iraq.

Cities, colleges and universities and high schools across this land have made it increasingly difficult for our military to recruit.

Coupled with an unpopular war, this has made military recruiting even more difficult.

But rather than praise those choosing to serve, The Sun chooses to take a slap at all of them because of a few bad apples.

I was raised in a church that taught forgiveness.

And I know that giving someone a second chance doesn't free that person from having to perform at a higher level.

The Sun was right when it wrote about "how disconnected most are from the suffering and sacrifice of those serving in Iraq."

Commentaries like this editorial do nothing to improve that connection. Rather, The Sun's condescension serves only to widen the gap at the expense of the reputation of those serving in harm's way.

Michael S. Riley, Towson

Letting gays serve could ease crunch

While I agree with the gist of the editorial "A wavering military" (April 28), I was surprised that The Sun didn't suggest the most obvious method of reducing the need for the military to accept substandard recruits, which is to change the military's policy of excluding gay men and women from military service.

Many other countries accept members of the gay community in military service and have reported that they serve with the same degree of competence as other recruits of the same age, education and socioeconomic status.

Having commanded U.S. armored cavalry troops twice, and in each case having had gay men in my unit who were among my best troops, I wonder about the psychology of those in the military who continue to oppose a change in the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which is denying the military access to a substantial pool of potential recruits.

Most of the arguments that have been put forward against a change in this policy sound very much like those made against racial integration.

The "don't ask, don't tell" policy is downright stupid, as it accepts ignorance and bigotry as factors in policymaking.

Rex Rehfeld, Baltimore

McCain health plan leaves out too many

Sen. John McCain had to offer something to deal with the broken American health care nonsystem ("McCain outlines plan to fix health care crisis," April 30). But he proposed something that would fall far short of guaranteeing effective care to every citizen. His plan may not even do very much to serve the 47 million people who lack health insurance.

Mr. McCain would drop tax subsidies for employer-sponsored health insurance and shift the burden to individuals, offering $5,000 per family in tax credits to help folks shop around for insurance policies.

This is just cost-shifting, and the value of the new subsidy would be eroded by rising costs.

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