Editor: Baseball player Pete Rose broke the law, was suspended and is in jail.
Football player Dexter Manley broke the law, was re-instated and is returning to play the game.
C. Bucky Muth.
Squash the Traps
Editor: The Cothams' Nov. 19 letter, "Tourist Trap," really hit home. I also received a $45 ticket at the same tourist trap and I am not a tourist. On Oct. 17, I was southbound on Light Street, negotiating heavy traffic and trying to get out of a mandatory right-turn lane near Lombard Street. Half a block before Lombard and just before reaching the solid lines for the mandatory turns, I succeeded in getting into the straight-through lane.
In the next block, an officer had just finished giving a ticket to another motorist and waved me over to the curb. He ignored my protest that I had rightly changed lanes across the broken white line but he gave me a ticket anyway for "failure to obey traffic device," i.e., a solid white line. I thought he was going to give me a warning citation, but the officer claimed police are not allowed to give warning tickets as I would expect in the suburbs. Apparently the tickets are targeted for tourists and suburbanites.
According to the official Maryland Driver's Handbook, crossing a single broken line is permitted and crossing a single solid line is discouraged, not illegal. Perhaps the Police Department should issue the handbook to all its traffic officers to avoid this embarrassment that reflects on the department and the city.
If the city is really intent of encouraging tourists to visit and suburbanites to move into the city, then we must get out of this hick-town mentality. Aside from eliminating tourist traps, a good starting point would be to improve the traffic conditions in the city.
Start ticketing the trucks and buses that spew out black soot and carcinogens from their exhaust pipes and require mufflers that truly muffle noise. Keep interstate trucks and dangerous tankers out of the heart of the city.
Harborplace is a tourist attraction not a "Hicksburg" truck stop. I am sure most traffic officers would rather ticket traffic-law violators than fine law-abiding citizens as another source of income for the city.
As a good-will gesture, the least the city could do is return the $45 fine to the Cothams with a sincere apology. As for me and my ticket, all I can say is -- see you in court.
Rudolph V. Gerace.
Editor: I just read the front-page article, "Sergeant ordered to gulf sues U.S. over authority," Nov. 14, and I was outraged at the audacity of such resisters. Unlike Vietnam, where the issue was one of being drafted, these volunteers have signed up to serve their country and have been paid for it. While on the government payroll, they are privileged with the opportunity to receive vocational training or to earn money for college.
Did they think that this was all a free-ride and that the taxpayer who foots the bill would not hold them accountable if called to serve? I am positive when they gave their oath "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States . . . and to obey the orders of the President . . . without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion," It was not followed by the disclaimer: as long as I receive $17,000 for college and am not called upon to perform.
How dare reservists, many of whom have collected a second-job paycheck for years, balk at being called up to active duty?
TTC I applaud the 230,000 military personnel, full-time and reserve already active in this crisis, as well the 200,000 currently preparing for duty. I can only hope those who shirk their sworn duty should be allowed a dishonorable discharge and the loss of all benefits that discharge will entail.
Raymond E. Smith.
Sick to Death
Editor: Gov. William Donald Schaefer's comments concerning Eastern Shore election results seem to suggest that we should be grateful for the "roads and bridges" he is building here on the shore -- and that his turning the state into Carnival Land, U.S.A. should fill Eastern Shore residents with joy.
Isn't he at all in touch with reality?
His most detestable program is the "Reach the Beach" promotion with its resultant traffic snarls, bedlam, noise and ugly signs all over the highways. The bridges and roads built here (with our taxes) are not beneficial to us who live on the shore, but to those who race across the shore to get to Ocean City.
We are sick to death of Maryland's mob rule, the standing order of things which declares that what Baltimore and the Baltimore-Washington area want are what Maryland gets. Then to add insult to injury, we have a tantrum-throwing governor telling us that we here on the shore should be happy with such a state of affairs.
C. R. Jones.
No New Taxes
Editor: Perhaps if Gov. William Donald Schaefer did less fund-raising out of state and less globe-trotting, he would have heard taxpayers' voices during the past election. Taxpayers are tired of his tax and spend habits. Read our lips governor: "No New Taxes."
Tools Hike Mail Efficiency
Editor: Your Nov. 12 Opinion * Commentary article, "Mailmen Ring Late," fails to mention the magnitude of U.S. Postal Service accomplishments in the fields of automation and technology. These are pivotal elements in improving the service performance discussed by contributor Daniel Greenberg.
The Postal Service is in the midst of a corporate automation plan geared to process fully bar-coded mail pieces by 1995. Although only 20 percent of such 10,000 units of planned equipment was (( in place in fiscal year 1990, it was the chief element in achieving an all-time high in productivity and enabling us to cut the postal work force by 27,000 over 18 months through attrition.
Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank has pointed out that while the Postal Service was processing 42 percent of letter mail on automated equipment entering fiscal year 1990, the figure grew to 61 percent by the fiscal year's end.
The result has been that while private sector productivity declined, the Postal Service has posted five consecutive productivity increases
These facts are not the "grandiose plans and programs" to which Mr. Greenberg referred. They are demonstrable results and there's 80 percent more tide-turning units of automated equipment yet to come on line!
While Mr. Greenberg was correct in downplaying Postal Service research efforts early in the previous decade, he is off base today. The USPS has recently announced plans to establish a "research center of excellence" at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
One of the major efforts is to cause computers to read ZIP Codes on the 15 percent of letter mail that is handwritten to complete the cycle of automation effectiveness. Already, postal researchers have developed equipment which can read 75 percent of handwritten ZIP Codes with less than a half percent error rate.
Deborah K. Bowker.
The writer is an assistant postmaster general.
Editor: I was disturbed by the way The Baltimore Sun portrayed the firefighters' staffing legislation.
After reading the poisonous slant of the two editorials, I felt lower than "gutter life" because I dared to negotiate "in good faith" with the City of Baltimore for a livable wage and decent work week.
While taxes and inflation are eating away at my dollars, the editorials would have you believe we were out to take the money and run. I believe the opposite to be true. The profession I chose is more dangerous and stressful than many others paying far more dollars for fewer hours.
I believe the two editorials were written in favor of management's point of view. I object to being put at risk because of the political whims of our city's management. There are studies by fire service professionals which show the reduced efficiency and an increase in safety risks in reducing the number of personnel manning fire apparatus.
The city managers had two years in which to hire enough personnel to comply with their contractual obligations. They chose to do nothing, as is the norm with this administration. Now, they want to jeopardize the personnel and the whole
community by placing more fire apparatus on the streets of Baltimore with fewer personnel.
Safety risks for the sake of economy are no bargain.
Charles C. Nolte Jr.
The writer represents the Baltimore Fire Officers Association Local 964.