Postal Service gives only half the story
Obviously in its eagerness to display postal employees as money-grabbing ingrates, the Postal Service only gave you half the picture, which you chose to use as the basis for your editorial of Nov. 27.
While it is true that wages and benefits have increased steadily since the Postal Reorganization Act of 1971, so have the profits of the U.S. Postal Service. There is a direct correlation between these increased profits and the performance of the employees of the Postal Service. Less than a month ago (before contract negotiations hit a snag) Postmaster General Anthony Frank sent a letter to all postal employees stating that first-class volume had increased 4 percent and third-class volume 2 percent in the past year alone. He further stated that productivity is at an all-time high (11 times the annual productivity of the preceding 19 years) and the number of career employees on the rolls declined by 27,000 people in the past year. So you see, there is more mail being processed than ever before with far fewer people! The Postal Service wants to restore the ranks of the letter carrier craft to the level that existed in 1978!
What the Postal Service also failed to tell you is that any dramatic increase in the 30-cent postage rate will be due in large part to the $4.7 billion assessment that Congress imposed on the service as part of the federal budget reduction acts. The Postal Service provides the most sophisticated, efficient mail service at the cheapest price in the entire world. This is due to the diligence and dedication of its employees, who deserve to be compensated accordingly.
Henry W. Marshall Jr.
The writer is director of education of the Maryland and Washington, D.C. State Association of Letter Carriers.
Bravo! Put my name on the top of the list of any petition to expunge, or in the FBI's lingo, "redact," the name of J. Edgar Hoover from any federal building. As you observe, recent books have illuminated the twisted life and methods of Hoover and the ways in which he had a negative effect on the lives of so many people.
Though "the Boss" is physically dead, his spirit walks the hallways daily in the building bearing his name. That's why Herbert Mitgang saw the great escape, "national security," used to withhold Picasso information from him, and that's the reason I have seen, as has Fred Rasmussen of The Baltimore Sun, the same Freedom of Information Act exemption used to withhold data from us on a case that is now 56 years old.
So, let us not stop with removing Mr. Hoover's name from the building. Pictures and any other items intended to make an idol out of this despot should likewise be "redacted," using the same rationale as the present day FBI uses to withhold important information from historians. The man was a "national embarrassment."
Let's give him some credit, however; he picked up dirty information as efficiently as a vacuum cleaner. The Hoover Upright then should be this country's only tribute to J. Edgar Hoover. Let's face it, the man could blackmail a rug!
Robert J. McDonnell
When to fight
Never having sat in a poker game with the president, I can't read him very well on his handling of the gulf crisis. Nor am I privy to the information he and members of his team have.
But I do know that I don't trust my government. After more than 25 years of lies, half truths, deception and a tremendous breakdown of moral values, I've had enough.
However, there are conditions under which I would back the president's order to use force 100 percent:
His sons and the sons of every elected member of Congress and those of all his appointed staff (Secretary of State Baker in particular) are in the first strike force and remain there.
Every U.N. member pays its agreed share of men (also in that first strike force), money and materials.
President Bush seeks the advice and consent of Congress.
Will any of this happen? I urge all to express their views in writing to their representatives. The greatest crime of all is apathy.
James T. Cavey
I am so tired of hearing certain American troops bellyache about their present plight, that they "only joined so that they would have the funds to attend college."
Were they not aware that the purpose of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines is to fight, that the financing of a college education is a mere perquisite? Were they under the impression that the world is a fool's paradise? To them I say, "Man, you got a reality adjustment comin'."
President Bush scorns that "vision thing" and "prudence" when the knotty problems of the Mideast require them. His bellicose rhetoric reflects a willingness to embrace war as the only solution. He has shifted from a defensive mode to a belligerent one with his deployment of 200,000 more troops to Saudi Arabia. His willingness to "bribe" Egypt with a $7 billion loan forgiveness and his embrace of terrorist Syria as an ally means jettisoning his moral principles.
So far, we have a picture of George Bush zig-zagging across the desert, unaware fully of the fatal quagmires ahead, shunning the oasis of patient and persistent diplomacy, traveling without a compass and blindly thirsting for blood.
It is time for the president to tell the nation more definitively his goals, strategy and the cost and consequences of his Mideast "mission."
If the president expects the American citizens to march in lock-step to his obfuscatory commands, then, foreign and domestic disasters lie before us.
Thomas M. Waldron
I am mystified, irritated and frustrated by The Evening Sun's failure to give the bottom line impact of the Linowes commission property tax recommendations. You exalt the proposed tax rate reduction, give inadequate attention to the companion proposal to raise assessment of property to full value and completely neglect to mention the horrible truth of the net effect.
For example, the "potential property tax rate cut" for Baltimore city is 74 cents making the 1990-'91 rate $5.21. This is a 12.4 percent cut. However, current assessments are about 42.5 percent of full value. Therefore, full value assessment is 2.35 times the presently used figure. Combination of the rate reduction with the assessment increase results in a net property tax, which is more than double the current tax. Some of the counties fare very slightly better -some worse.
Although fewer taxpayers are affected, I feel that you should also set the record straight in regard to the commission's proposal for income taxes. The Baltimore Sun has reported that incomes between $40,000-$200,000 would not change. The fact is that with a combined state/local rate of 8.75 percent instead of the existing 7.5 percent, there will be an additional tax of $125 for each $10,000 over $40,000.
M. O. Robinson
Do now, tax later
R. Robert Linowes, chairman of the state tax study commisiion says that, "Marylanders are willing to pay more tax if money is spent well."
I wonder if Mr. Linowes or the governor ever realized that if the present tax money was spent well, additional taxes would be unnecessary. We always hear the excuse that more population, more cars, etc. demand more services.
It is also true that more people, more cars are all paying more taxes already. Our elected legislators at all levels should stop the "do it now" and tax later policy that is causing deficits before all our government is bankrupt.