Shared Pay Cuts
Editor: Regarding your editorial Jan. 24, "Averting State House Layoffs," you failed to take into consideration several important facts:
* The current 35.5-hour work week was established years ago to offset the 15-20 percent disparity between state employees' salaries and their counterparts in the private sector.
* By increasing the state work week 12.67 percent, without a commensurate raise in salaries, makes the difference between state- and private-sector salaries 28 and 33 percent.
* In these times of economic malaise, the governor accepted a 41 percent raise in his salary, the lieutenant governor 38 percent, the attorney general 38 percent, the comptroller 38 percent, the treasurer 38 percent, and the secretary of state 56 percent.
Shouldn't all Marylanders be asked equally to shoulder the burden of the state deficit?
J. M. Butkiewicz.
Editor: It's easy to wave a flag and carry a sign saying you support our armed forces.
If you really mean that, show it by sending them a pint of blood.
Standing in line at the Red Cross Blood Bank would look better than parades.
.J. Bullinger. Baltimore.
Editor: How the term "progressive" got applied to unequal, unfair tax rates, and "regressive" to flat, fair and equal rates, is pure semantic chicanery. Their respective connotations are exactly opposite their real meanings.
The Linowes scheme of making our already graduated income tax rates even more so is merely a less eloquent version of Marx's, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
The cost of everything in our society is "regressive." We don't pay for a loaf of bread, a TV set or telephone service based on our ability to pay, so why should tax bills be any different?
And while The Sun has been force-feeding us this manifesto from its front pages to the editorial pages, I wonder if it has "progressed" and restructured its ad rates to charge advertisers according to their ability to pay.
Dave Reich. Fallston.
School No. 69
Editor: What a pang of sadness I felt when I opened The Sun Jan. 10. There I saw a picture of a wrecking ball demolishing "my school", Mordecai Gist Elementary School No. 69.
I immediately called some of my "old" classmates to commiserate over this event. Not only was this an outstanding elementary school but it also served as the "annex" for Garrison Junior High School in the 1940s. This school truly supported us in our progress through childhood and into adolescence.
The physical structure may be gone but memories of Frances Christopher, the principal, and teachers like Paul Yaffe will always remain. The lessons of responsible living which they instilled were as important as those of any formal class work.
#Marcia Cohn Buxbaum. Baltimore.
The writer is a member of the Class of 1943 at No. 69.
Assault Weapons Kill
Editor: The Sunday Sun (Jan. 27) in two editorials, "Machine Guns, Handguns" and ". . . and Assault Weapons," has once again focused the spotlight on the subject of weapons. This is a bottomless pit that few dare venture into. Especially since the National Rifle Association is ever ready to retaliate with its arsenal of legal maneuvering.
Nevertheless, The Sun has taken the plunge into this bottomless pit this time also Gov. William Donald Schaefer has once again led the way. Both editorials are, in retrospect, simple in their presentation and yet make the point clearly and definitively: assault weapons should not be allowed in the hands of citizens who in reality have no need for them.
The NRA can no longer make the case that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution supports their rationale that all citizens are entitled to weapons including assault weapons. Fellow citizens, we are killing ourselves with the speed of summer lightning. Make no mistake about it assault weapons kill and kill many.
It it ludicrous for anyone to make a case that a person needs this type of weapon for protection. Not only is The Sun correct in its polemic that assault weapons should be eliminated, it is also correct that it is time that the Brady Bill, requiring a national seven-day waiting period for police to check out would-be purchasers of handguns, should become a reality.
Our cities are becoming battle grounds, worse than Iraq it is time that we bring an end to some of the killing. We can do this by eliminating assault weapons and providing for a seven-day waiting period. The Sun is correct when it states that the governor's motives are not personal or petty in relationship to his concept of eliminating assault weapons from the streets of Maryland. Few of our elected officials have dared to speak out for new gun legislation, for fear of reprisals from the National Rifle Association.
However, Governor Schaefer has taken a stand, a stand that requires guts and honesty and, yes, caring for the people of the state. Perhaps as a result of the efforts of your paper and Don Schaefer, some of us may have the opportunity to celebrate another birthday, another anniversary and perhaps all of us may live longer.
John A. Micklos. Baltimore.
Editor: I wholeheartedly agree with Ed Gunts' critical assessment of the proposed addition to the south end of the B&O; Warehouse. As an architectural composition it is indeed a giant wart. Isn't it odd that a structure nearly a quarter mile long isn't big enough already? And why is a state agency in a high-rent district?
Why can't the state buy the building on Calvert Street now occupied by the State Highway Administration? It could raze this building and the courthouse behind it, then combine those lots to create a square block site.
Mt. Vernon is a struggling community that cannot afford to loose any assets and surely could use an infusion of well-spent tax dollars!
ed L. Pearson.
Editor: As a child, I was taught that fighting was wrong. "Turn the other cheek," "Two wrongs don't make a right." I realize that world politics are a bit more complicated than a neighborhood scuffle, but throughout my life, I have also been taught that similarly, war is not a solution to any problem.
As a senior at the Quaker Friends School, these teachings have been reinforced. I have been exposed to the Quaker belief, "that there is that of God in everyone." Yet also this year, I have learned about the history of the Middle East in an elective course. This course has allowed me to see how truly complex the issues surrounding the war in the Persian Gulf really are. This knowledge, however, has only made me more opposed to the use of force by the United States in this struggle.
I am fighting for peace, I am fighting against U.S. intervention, but I am not fighting against the U.S. troops. I support the U.S. troops as fellow human beings and am praying for their safe return.
Kyre Halle Rubin. Baltimore.
Editor: I disagree with Michael Olesker's statement that ". . . we all know the history of race in America."
In fact, a major issue not yet addressed is the true history of race relations in this country. We of all races need to listen, experience and realize what the ramifications of physical, sexual and emotional abuse can be on an individual or group of people. When we allow people to speak the truth, listen, truly hear and feel the pain of the abusive past, we will begin the healing process.
Where do we go from here? Sounds like the Baltimore summit on race relations was a good start.
I just hope we can afford to do more structured supportive group work with participants of all races so that the process of healing can truly occur.
' Judy Lombardi. Baltimore.
Editor: Fact -- Israel deports four Intifada inciters. Result -- In front page news, U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to condemn Israel for the deportations.
Fact -- Four Arabs, accused of collaborating with Israel, are murdered by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Result -- 10-line article on page 6A. From the United Nations -- silence, nothing.
To the United Nations, the deportation of four Arabs is much more serious than the murder of four Arabs by Palestinians. Why this double standard against Israel?
& Merrill B. Lehman. Baltimore.