Readers Respond

August 12, 2009

CEO pay outrageous

My compliments to you all, and in particular Jamie Smith Hopkins, for that great article on the outlandish compensation that is being paid out today ("Just rewards?" Aug. 9). It was a good followup to the piece by Hannah Cho on the Legg Mason situation. She suggested that the stockholders do not vote for directors who are on their compensation committee and award these big payouts.

Many people don't realize that all large public companies have a powerful compensation committee whose members are also on the board of directors.

They have much power in giving away stockholders' money and in many cases reward those that don't perform. Legg Mason was a good example, as they have lost heavily in five of the last six quarters yet have increased the compensation for their executives.

I hope you all continue these revealing stories, and I just think you should do one company a week. My original thought was that you list the compensation package for the five highest paid executives in the company and compare them to the previous year, but I would also suggest that you list the names of each director and single out those who serve on the compensation committee.

Finally I wish there was something we as average citizens could do, as we can't outvote the large stockholders. I for one would call, write or do anything reasonable to stop these giveaways. Please continue your efforts in exposing these antics.

Tom Lawson, Timonium

Sun vilifies private enterprise

As usual, The Sun wants to vilify CEOs of privately held companies in the state of Maryland for what it considers to be outrageous salaries.

Here's a novel idea, how about The Sun researching Maryland's eight U.S congressman and the two U.S. senators and adding up their total compensation and pay packages, including free flights on their own private Air Force fleet out of Andrews Air Force Base and all the perks, including staff, their yearly office budgets, and the health care package that as taxpayers, we all pay for.

Try comparing that to what a CEO of a privately held company makes. Maybe then you can start vilifying privately owned companies once again.

Dale Green, Street

Sotomayor coverage biased

With all due respect, the article "More to Sotomayor than 'firsts'" (Aug. 7) just brings out the hypocrisy of the debate and the hubris of a Democrat-biased media.

Associate Justice Sotomayor does have a compelling story. So did Clarence Thomas, Miguel Estrada and Janice Rodgers Brown. Two of the three were delayed by Democrats for months with threats of filibuster.

The simple truth is that the Democrats, with the media as willing enablers, had a complete disregard for the life stories of those nominees for the courts. Ideology and the wishes of extreme left activist groups who control the Democratic Party are the only thing that matter to the Democrats.

This sad road for judicial nominations was started by liberal icon Sen. Ted Kennedy. He was the willing tool of People for the American Way and other activist groups. The "Borking" of a nominee has now become a verb.

President Obama set a poor example when he was a senator. He was one of a handful of senators who did not vote for Chief Justice John Roberts or Associate Justice Samuel Alito. He gave ideology as his reason. While the Republicans are sinking to the levels of the Democrats, they are only doing this recently. The near unanimous votes for Associate Justices Ruther Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer were not a vote for their ideology. It was an adherence to the traditional standards of looking to the nominee's competency and education.

So long as the media is willing to give credence to the sorry state of the Democrats in Congress, we will have nothing but acrimony and gridlock.

Randall Gunn

Md. has too many failed transit promises

It's a good thing The Baltimore Sun did not run Governor Martin O'Malley's August 9th letter on new transit initiatives on a Monday morning. It would likely have been a hard sell to the state's MARC riders reading the newspaper that day.

MARC riders are accustomed to Mr. O'Malley talking about expensive transportation plans that never materialize. In 2007, the state unveiled a MARC Investment and Growth Plan that called for hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment. Two years later, the O'Malley administration has slashed service, and there are chronic delays on the MARC network. As of early August, the state had not even put into operation the "green" locomotives it promised would alleviate some of the worst breakdowns on the MARC system.

Regarding new transit initiatives, there is a broad consensus that the Purple Line in metropolitan Washington and the Red Line in Baltimore can improve the state's transportation system. In fact, Mr. O'Malley's Republican predecessor advanced both projects. Unfortunately, there are many Marylanders who question the O'Malley administration's pursuit of expensive, long-term initiatives when the state cannot deal with problems that affect current transit riders, here and now.

David Marks, Perry Hall The writer is the former chief of staff at the Maryland Department of Transportation and a rider on MARC's Penn Line.

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