December 11, 2008

How can city leaders take a raise now?

In this horrendous economic atmosphere in which masses of workers are being laid off, furloughed or fired or just can't find jobs, it is incredible that the leaders of city government are going to be enjoying a raise ("City officials quietly OK raises for one another," Dec. 10).

It is beyond belief that Mayor Sheila Dixon and other city officials can take these raises when so many city workers are having to tighten their already strangling belts.

I'm sure it will be comforting for city taxpayers to know that even though they are celebrating Christmas with fewer gifts for their children and family members, and maybe even dining in a soup kitchen, their leaders will have a little extra money for their own gift-giving.

Jo Ann Fasnacht, Randallstown

At a time when people are losing their jobs and their homes and struggling to pay for utilities and food, I do not think City Council members should be getting a raise. Do they not understand that we are in a recession?

City government is freezing hiring, cutting services and asking city workers to take time off without pay while city leaders get a raise.

Shouldn't city leaders lead by example? Shouldn't they decline the raise until the economy gets better and people get back to work?

Lisa Andreasik, Baltimore

Use salary boost cash to pay police overtime

I can't believe that city leaders would even consider a raise at this time ("City officials quietly OK raises for one another," Dec. 10).

The city has announced that it will lay off workers and do other things to offset its budget woes. So how dare city leaders take a raise for themselves in one breath and lay city workers off in another.

Instead of taking that raise, why don't city leaders give the money to the Police Department to pay for overtime expenses to fight crime?

Like many others, I believe that you lead by example - and that's what city officials should be doing.

Darnyell Tuggle, Sparks

Detroit must embrace efficiency before bailout

I want to see no bailout for the Big Three automakers in Detroit until they can prove that they are serious about producing more fuel-efficient cars and promoting these cars ("Congress unveils $15 billion bailout," Dec. 9).

But last Sunday during the football games, I saw Ford and Chrysler constantly hawking their F-150 and Dodge Ram trucks while General Motors continued to push its Cadillac Escalade.

These are definitely not the most fuel-efficient cars they produce.

Saul D. Jacobs, Randallstown

Will infrastructure work help high-tech workers?

It is good to see that President-elect Barack Obama intends to pursue a massive infrastructure improvement program that will boost employment ("Obama warns of worsening economy," Dec. 8). Gov. Martin O'Malley has indicated he has shovel-ready projects to pursue.

But what does this approach mean for the multitude of well-educated and highly trained knowledge workers laid off recently?

Will they get a shovel too?

Michael V. Ernest, Catonsville

Shafting subscribers hurts opera's future

The Baltimore Opera Company's decision in effect to confiscate the money of faithful subscribers by failing to refund ticket purchases for canceled performances is both unfair and short-sighted ("Baltimore Opera seeks Chapter 11 shelter," Dec. 9).

To the large number of seniors who attend the Lyric Opera House, the loss of a half-year's subscription fee is significant. For those committed people who will work to bring opera back to Baltimore, the resulting lack of subscriber confidence and loyalty will be a major problem.

It is popular to use public money to construct sports venues and to subsidize sports operations. The opera, however, can expect little assistance from government, and in this economy, even the suggestion of a public subsidy will be easily dismissed.

It will therefore be left to private individuals of the Baltimore area to resurrect a quality opera, one worthy of that fine city and its appreciative audience.

They will need all the help they can muster.

Hugh Tamassia, West Grove, Pa.

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