April 21, 2009

Reaction to audit very disturbing

I am outraged by the complete lack of leadership evident in Annie Linskey's article "Auditors unearth millions for city" (April 16). I'd like readers to consider what the administration's response to the discovery says about its ability to lead Baltimore.

Specifically, I'd note that the article reported "there wasn't much finger-pointing or anguish at Wednesday's Board of Estimates meeting, where the audit was presented."

The City Council president just "shook her head back and forth." Mayor Sheila Dixon "matter-of-factly noted ... the problem."

According to the article, neither of them called for future standards of accountability. You'd have thought they were informed that a seal had accidentally escaped from the Aquarium, not that the administration had lost, then found, $40 million.

The nonchalance is staggering.

Furthermore, the administration lays the blame at the feet of young staffers. That's unacceptable.

Good leaders accept public fault personally and dole public praise to their team. Good leaders make plans to correct their mistakes.

In this case, our elected officials did neither.

I saw no mention in the article of a plan to correct this failure. I saw no mention of creating continuity plans so that personnel in ever-changing political administrations understand the work of their predecessors.

I saw no call for more frequent accounting or a public inspection of the books. All I saw were excuses.

All that makes this failure of leadership just another Baltimore "oops" moment rather than a demand that our government do a better job for its citizens.

Dennis Robinson, Baltimore

A public protest of profligate policies

I attended the tea party protest in Havre de Grace, and I can assure the writer of the letter "Tax protesters just sore losers" (April 17) that the protesters were not sore losers.

Those in attendance were Democrats, Republicans and independents who held signs protesting members of Congress for approving spending bills without even reading them; protesting President Barack Obama for signing a spending bill that contained earmarks after promising to abolish earmarks in the campaign; protesting the government for bailing out banks, car manufacturers and insurance companies without proper oversight; and objecting to the government for interfering with our capitalist economy by not letting poorly run companies fail.

The tea party protest is an important symbol of grass-roots and growing discontent against all our federal and state government officials for not properly spending taxpayers' money.

Ron Wirsing, Havre de Grace

Killing for fashion can't be justified

Thank you for running Kathleen Parker's column about Canada's annual commercial seal slaughter ("Canada, it's time to put down the hakapik," Commentary, April 15).

Although killing "whitecoats" is illegal (as the Canadian government likes to remind us), hunters can legally club and shoot baby seals as soon as they begin to molt their white natal fur.

This happens when they are about 12 days old - before they have eaten their first solid meal or taken their first swim.

The difference between bashing in the head of a 12-day-old seal and bashing in the head of a 13-day-old seal is lost on most people.

During the commercial seal slaughter, seals are killed for one reason: their fur. Carcasses are left to rot on the ice because there is no market for the meat.

In this day and age, with so many alternatives available, killing animals for something as frivolous as fashion is impossible to justify.

Paula Moore, Norfolk, Va.

The writer is a research specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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