Readers Respond

February 03, 2010

County Council's wrong on immigrant worker verification

Imposing harsh "enforcement-only" measures like the flawed "E-Verify" system on immigrant workers without fixing our broken immigration system will only make matters worse by pushing undocumented workers deeper into the shadows - something that benefits only the most unscrupulous off-the-books employers. ("E-Verify urged for Baltimore County," Feb. 2.)

The E-Verify verification system that Baltimore County Council Chairman John A. Olszewski Sr. wants to impose on Baltimore's workers and businesses is not the solution to our broken immigration system.

According to the Social Security Administration's own internal reports, this system could misidentify as many as 3.6 million workers a year, which would lead to unfair firings of thousands of citizens and legal residents in Baltimore County.

If Mr. Olszewski and E-Verify supporters want to protect American workers, they should call on Congress to pass comprehensive reform of our immigration system rather than penalize the hardworking men and women who are already part of our communities.

Fixing our immigration system is not just the right thing to do for immigrant workers, it's the right thing to do for all workers and for our economy.

Jaime Contreras, WashingtonThe writer is capital area director for 32BJ, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.

Until we change pay, we'll get second-tier teachers

Robert Embry's article ("Maryland must remove barriers to attracting quality teachers," Feb. 1) raises several fundamental issues. First, as one who supervised teachers for 22 of my 32 years in public school education, I would posit that individuals entering the profession should be referred to as "prospective" teachers.

Second, given the compensation disparity between the public and private sectors, the best and brightest are not attracted to teaching.

Until we offer pay and benefits competitive with business and industry, we will continue to select from among second-tier college graduates. As a manager of teachers, I would rather recruit the brightest available candidate over one who simply meets course work requirements.

Finally, we need to rank schools based on the level of the teaching challenge and scale teacher compensation commensurate with the difficulty of the assignment.

Arthur Pierce, Randallstown

Without stimulus, things would be worse

According to your Sunday edition, some business leaders in Baltimore are critical of the Obama administration's stimulus program, arguing that it has not created jobs or helped buoy up the economy ("Business tax-rate impasse emerges," Jan. 31). Most economists from all persuasions agree that without the stimulus, we would have unemployment of 14 percent rather than 10 percent and that we would now be struggling with a depression rather than recovering from a recession.

I hope that these business leader colleagues of mine who are critical of the stimulus are more clear-headed running their businesses than they are making political pronouncements.

Jack Kinstlinger, Baltimore

Obama budget isn't good for Maryland - or anyone

The title of the article on the front page today, "Obama budget a plus for Md." (Feb. 2) is misleading.

A budget of this size is not a plus for anyone in the long run. This budget carries a deficit of $1.6 trillion; there is no good way to cover a deficit. Borrowing is especially bad if we borrow from nations like China - which we have been doing.

With each year of deficit spending, the national debt becomes larger, and that is a huge problem, too, in the long run.

Spending like the Obama budget and other past excessive spending hurts the foundation of our rule of law and the free market.

Charlene Merrill

WTMD's plan for the Senator would attract 'creative class'

The proposal to allow WTMD to utilize the vacant Senator Theatre is a wise one ("WTMD bid to take over Senator draws concerns," Jan. 29). A post-industrial city such as Baltimore needs to attract and keep (as Richard Florida defines it) its "creative class"- exactly the type of listener WTMD attracts.

While the station may be located on the Towson campus, WTMD's reach extends beyond college students, and it is one of the few unique cultural arts institutions left in Baltimore.

Anyone who has been to a WTMD event in Mount Vernon, myself included, will say that it is a mix of generations - young adults, families with children, empty nesters - coming together respectfully to share in a musical experience.

To stereotype WTMD listeners on the past behavior of college students living in off-campus housing would be incorrect, and to use it as a reason to block WTMD's plan to revitalize the Senator is short-sighted.

Marla Shaivitz, Baltimore

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