No Big BenefitEditor: Baltimore County paid $24,400...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

No Big Benefit

Editor: Baltimore County paid $24,400 for a Lincoln Town Car for its county executive in 1989. The county sold it in 1991 for $10,300, minus auction expenses to replace it with a Ford costing $15,900.

I hope County Executive Roger Hayden's handling of other county fiscal matters is more cost-effective than this one.

oseph C. Rohe.

White Marsh.

Road Plan Menaces Canal

Editor: I was dismayed to read of plans to develop a portion of the C&O; Canal near Cumberland by building a highway alongside of it with access to historic sites. A careful reader may ponder the wisdom of building a highway next to a historic canal.

The concept becomes all the more questionable given the existence of State Rte. 51, which now assures immediate access to the canal and towpath. Your correspondent failed to mention the existence of the incumbent roadway.

I have hiked and run on the towpath of said canal many times through the remote and fantastic wilderness between Cumberland and Paw Paw, W.Va.

There is not the slightest inconvenience in obtaining access to the canal. There is no traffic to speak of on State Rte. 51. Parking lots abound. Signs are well posted.

A state that is sinking into the red can ill afford the Sisyphean upkeep of its existing transportation infrastructure. Upgrading access to the C&O; Canal via an expensive and redundant highway would only ruin this interesting and attractive locality.

This is certainly contrary to the intent of William O. Douglas and others, who wanted to conserve the canal in its unique natural state.

P. Rodney Schlitz Jr.

Baltimore.

Maryland Shield

Editor: Operation Maryland Shield, an intensive program to assist families of Maryland military personnel serving in the Persian Gulf, was announced by Gov. William Donald Schaefer at a press conference on Feb. 14.

The program resulted from the governor's concern for those families, particularly those of members of the National Guard and Reserves, who were left to maintain households and care for children in most cases with a reduction in income.

The plight of these families was described in an editorial in The Sun on Feb. 24. Unfortunately, the piece did not let these families in Maryland know that their state government has a program for them and how they can take advantage of it. Indeed, while lauding the efforts of organizations as far away as Cleveland, the editorial implied that Maryland was doing little or nothing on their behalf.

Ironically, the editorial appeared the day after a Maryland Shield Family Services Day held for these families at the Ruhl Armory in Towson went unreported in The Sun, even though one of its reporters was at the event.

We do not expect a pat on the back from The Sun for our efforts. We would hope, however, that if its concern for Maryland's military families is sincere, it would help us get the word out that help is available.

Perhaps, through this letter, we can invite any family member who needs financial, housing, job search, medical, or any other family support assistance to call Operation Maryland Shield on 1-800-564-9991.

uther Starnes.

Annapolis.

The writer is the governor's coordinator of citizens' services.

Children Need Their 'Mommie Warriors'

Editor: "Men and women at war in Saudi Arabia" -- those words ring sweetly in my feminist ears. Alongside the joy, however, is a sour note. Women warriors are often mothers as well. "Mommie warriors" is a concept that curdles my soul and screeches disharmony in my ears.

Perhaps my credibility as a feminist will be challenged, but I don't believe mothers should be in the military and definitely should not be going to war. Being a mother is a full-time commitment, not one that can take second fiddle to a military career, a demanding 24-hour per day job. Children cannot be put on hold until it is convenient to care for them. They need love

and attention all the time, not just when a military commitment allows. To send a woman to war would not only risk her life but cause her children undue heartache while she is gone. If she fails to survive the war, her children's lives could be shattered, possibly maiming them for life.

At first, I blamed the military for our present dilemma. Then, looking at the history of women in the military, I found that it was far more complicated than that. The military resisted women joining their forces and previously discharged women as soon as they became pregnant. The relaxation of restrictions against mothers came after a long, uphill battle by women aided by the feminist movement, in an effort to assure equal rights for women. As the women pushed, the military relaxed in light of its need for more volunteers in its "all volunteer force."

To my horror, I was left blaming the actual women, themselves, for joining the military. I realize that educational and financial benefits were probably their focus and that most of them didn't ** dream of being called to honor their commitment other than short stateside duties on a limited basis. Still, one would think they could have read the fine print.

Then, after reading about the mothers ordered to leave their newborns, I left blame aside and rallied on the side of the children. Sending fathers to war is horrible enough. Sending mothers to war is preposterous. Proponents of sending the mothers to war despite their passionate pleas to stay behind with their children are right in that the women did sign a commitment to serve, just like everyone else. However, they miss the point. The issue is not who signed what paper. The issue is the fate of the children. No matter who made the mistake, it is a mistake. Mothers should not be fighting in the Persian Gulf, or in any war. If they do and if this country is not wise enough to correct its mistake before some of our mothers come home in body bags, we will not hear the end of it as we will be crippling our children for a long time to come, if not forever.

Terri Detmold.

Columbia.

Teacher Salaries

Editor: Your editorial entitled "Hypocrisy in Suburbia" is another in a series on teacher-salary bashing. This time you paragons believe that teachers' salaries should be deferred while the school system retains governmentally regulated programs that swell the school budgets to overflowing. Your feigned concern over programs versus teachers' salaries is misplaced at best. If you cut a program, you can always revive it once budgetary constraints or needs change. If you lose a talented teacher or fail to hire one because of inadequate salary, we all suffer.

You claim the wage freeze of state workers is unfair if teachers get a raise. What a crock! Is a sanitary worker's job to be compared to a teacher's? Is some bureaucratic pencil pusher's job to be compared to a teacher's? Most teachers work nine to ten hours a day. The pay for most teachers is so inadequate that they are forced to work other jobs during the summer months. The average postal worker's salary is greater than the average teacher's with a lot less responsibility, yet The Sun's position is that teacher's pay increases should be deferred or delayed.

Does The Sun ever give any consideration to teachers' education and its cost? Of the continuing education required to remain current in one's field? Apparently not. How many times in the past have teachers bargained in good faith only to have their agreed upon increase eliminated or substantially decreased by local government? Get real. If you want quality education in Maryland, you have to pay the price. A teacher's salary is only a little part of that price.

Before you conclude that I am just another teacher feathering my own nest, let me correct you. I am a concerned citizen who values educators and appreciates what they constantly strive to do in spite of all the obstacles against them.

G. Raymond Valle.

Baltimore.

Sabatini Plan

Editor: I am appalled by Fraser Smith's article about the Medicaid funds and the so-called "Sabatini Plan."

The fact that this type of scam is even discussed shows that our revered legislators have missed the point when it comes to understanding who is paying the freight, namely the taxpayers.

This proposal sounds like fraud. If a private citizen tried this approach, both he and the doctor would be prosecuted and fined to the fullest.

This plan, however, seems to gain credibility because it has the endorsement of the administration in its never-ending quest to milk the taxpayers.

Rogers Thompson.

Baltimore.

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