November 23, 2008

Wrong time to trim city police budget

The editorial "Budget woes" (Nov. 17) briefly discusses the efforts of the Dixon administration to weigh in on the city's projected budget deficit, describes the city police and fire departments as "budget-busting" agencies and suggests that the city police "won't be able to spend millions on overtime that they routinely do."

In fairness to the Police Department, it should be noted that many of the overtime expenditures are expected; however, the city never accounts for them in the budget for the Police Department even though the City Council has asked time and time again that overtime expenses be included as a necessary component of its budget.

Further, and more pertinent to the taxpayers and citizens of this city, I wonder: Is it rational for The Baltimore Sun to describe the Police Department as a "budget-busting" agency?

Long ago, the philosopher John Locke spoke of a kind of social contract in describing the people's intent to form a government with a primary mission in mind - protecting the physical safety of each and every citizen.

Even as murders and shootings decline in Baltimore, it is prudent to keep in mind the "social contract" the city administration has with the citizens of Baltimore, and every effort should be made to continue the progress we have made in stemming the crime crisis.

This can only be done if our public safety priorities are reflected in the city budget.

Asking the Police Department to further cut an already tightened budget is far from prudent.

Detective Robert F. Cherry Jr., Baltimore

The writer is president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3.

Execution secures justice for families

The Baltimore Sun's article "Execution foes take heart" (Nov. 14) seems to want to make the case solely for the abolition of a practice that has been a time-honored necessity.

The death penalty was established by our earlier ancestors to try to deter the malicious acts of some people by taking away the most sacred thing known to man - life.

However, now, with an ultra-liberal body of legislators in Annapolis - and working with the findings of a death penalty commission appointed by a governor who was already publicly opposed to the death penalty - how will the families of murder victims be assured of justice?

Hassan Giordano, Baltimore

Gay families also merit public support

I was very disheartened by a reader's comments opposing gay marriage ("Traditional marriage still social cornerstone" Nov. 20).

The writer suggests that marriage "involves the union of a man and a woman, a premise that goes far back in time and makes the family the cornerstone of society." But as a heterosexual in favor of a stable society, I cannot understand her reasoning.

If a homosexual couple adopts a child, as many do, are they not a family?

The letter writer states that marriage "gives support to the couples who propagate the species and nurture children to maturity."

But what about children whose heterosexual parents have abandoned them to foster care?

Are the homosexual couples who chose to provide these children with permanent and stable homes not deserving of support as well?

The letter writer concludes with a request for gay activists to grant the same respect to her opposition to their marital rights that they wish to receive for their own beliefs.

Gay activists, however, are not demanding a retraction of rights for heterosexual couples to marry just because they are responsible for a divorce rate of more than 50 percent.

If they were, the letter writer's argument might make sense.

Emily Getlein, Baltimore

Demolish the statue blighting the station

Amid the exciting plans reported by The Baltimore Sun for improving the Penn Station area, I hope the demolition contracts soon to be let by the city will include one for eliminating the hideous metallic monstrosity in front of the station ("City unveils 30-year plan to transform 100-acre north of Penn Station in to a regional crossroads of culture," Oct. 30).

Elimination of this sentinel to misguided public arts would be a welcome step in ridding the station's 1911 facade of this discordant blight.

James G. Howes, Safety Harbor, Fla.

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