January 31, 2009

Governor committed to affordable education

During last week's rollout of Maryland's budget for next fiscal year, Gov. Martin O'Malley again illustrated his commitment to making our state universities affordable by including an undergraduate tuition freeze for Maryland's public universities for the fourth straight year ("Painful cuts for budget balance," Jan. 22).

This means that students who entered a Maryland public university four years ago will not have seen a penny's rise in their tuition by the time they receive their degree. This is an extraordinary achievement.

From funding for community colleges to the creation of the Higher Education Investment Fund to grants and scholarships for Maryland's veterans, the O'Malley administration has demonstrated - even in difficult economic times - that making secondary education affordable for more Marylanders is a priority worth protecting.

This commitment has led to a record increase in enrollment at our state colleges and universities.

While Mr. O'Malley's 2010 budget included reductions that were undoubtedly painful, his commitment to affordable higher education in Maryland is commendable.

James E. Lyons Sr., Annapolis

The writer is Maryland's secretary of higher education.

Wrong to stereotype effort of state workers

The letter "State cuts may curb culture of entitlement" (Jan. 25) was insulting and offensive to state employees.

The letter writer appears deeply concerned about what she believes is an "entitlement mentality" among state workers and happy that 700 state workers may lose their jobs.

But the writer doesn't present any real facts regarding the compensation of state employees and overlooks the fact that state employees have often been furloughed to help balance the state budget.

Most state employees are truly devoted to their jobs, but they do expect to be treated fairly. And, clearly, "complacency, a poor attitude and substandard work performance" are attitudes present not only in state government but also in corporate America.

The letter writer should note that the current economic crisis was brought about by a "sense of entitlement" on the part of many in the corporate sector - bankers, investment brokers, mortgage brokers, etc.

To suggest complacency and substandard work performance is more prevalent among state employees than in the private sector, without any supporting data, is irresponsible.

Simple stereotyping is never helpful.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore

The writer is a retired state employee.

Wasting too much on heating, cooling

It doesn't make sense that many public buildings are heated and cooled to such extremes that in winter one must remove layers of clothing to be comfortable indoors and in summer we wear long-sleeved suits. This is wasteful and is not good for our health.

We as a people need to stop straining the power grid, and dressing appropriately for each season is one way to achieve that.

It would save the government and businesses a lot of money if we didn't spend so much to heat or cool our buildings.

Sydney Roby, Baltimore

Coverage condones atrocities by Hamas

As a Jewish-American, I take offense at the caption The Baltimore Sun ran under an Associated Press photo on Tuesday ("24 Hours in Pictures," Jan. 27).

The caption "Shattered lives ... Nearly 1,300 Palestinians died in the recent Israeli incursion" was a terrible slanting of the facts.

When the United States launched attacks in its own defense after the 9/11 attacks, were they called an "American incursion"?

No. America was defending itself, just as Israel did after Hamas made a conscious decision to violate the cease-fire and attack Israel.

Hamas' tactic of placing innocent women and children near its military operations to inflate tragically the number of casualties somehow gains sympathy, yet when rockets land in an Israeli caf? or bombs are detonated in shopping areas and innocent civilians are killed, that is often treated as just one of the dangers of war.

It's about time that Hamas stopped being granted a "get out of jail free" card for the atrocities it is committing.

Michael Schwartzberg, Pikesville

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