City about to receive another blow
Baltimore City appears about to receive another blow to the competitiveness of its educational system. Those who care about improving the city's schools and who understand the economics of teacher preparation and hiring are surely struck by the irony of the proposed freeze on city teacher salaries.
At the moment when educational equity is on many lips, both the city and state are trying to renege on a negotiated agreement with city teachers to work toward salary parity with surrounding counties. The city suffers every year as many fine teachers leave to work under less trying conditions in places where teachers are paid as much as $5,000 more a year.
The wealthy and powerful would perhaps rather see funds spent on more immediately profitable and less labor-intensive enterprises than schools. They will try to label as "self-serving" teachers' pleas for better salaries and time for training and preparation.
For decades, these same forces have blamed the victims of underfunding in the city. City teachers deserve better. The children of Baltimore deserve better than to be sacrificed on the altar of war and recession.
The writer is president of the Baltimore City Teachers 1/2 Association.
A better home
I'd like to respond to Margaret Herring's letter (Forum, March 4) applauding animal research. I think she should find a better home for her companion animal. If she doesn't turn him over for the good of mankind, she at the very least won't take measures to secure his future from the people who steal companion animals and sell them for research. (Researchers like pets because they are easier to handle and are trusting.)
I wonder when the day will come that Ms. Herring will tire of her dog and advertise him "free to good home," which translates to "free to research facility."
Child, or dog?
The meaning of Robin Fuller's letter (Forum, Feb. 25) has been twisted and distorted by Lawrence D. Lease (Forum, March 6). This is the usual tactic of those who want to keep the public in the dark on how researchers are using federal tax money. Eight billion dollars a year is put into animal research while America is ranked 20th in global infant mortality.
Because of their preoccupation with using animals, drugs like DES, thalidomide, Bendectin and Accutane, all thoroughly "tested," have deformed thousands of children. I ask then: Who is choosing between a life of a child and that of a dog? The real choice the public has to make is between an animal researcher and his grant!
Pride in victory
It is cause for rejoicing that the infamous Vietnam syndrome can now be laid to rest! The agonizing failure of America's heroic mission to civilize and democratize the errant Vietnamese people left Americans with bitter and lingering feelings of national humiliation and self-doubt that were only partially dispelled by our conquests of mighty Panama and puissant Grenada. But with the glorious triumph over Iraq, America can at long last draw itself up proud, unchallengeable, great.
I am filled with resentment by those mean-spirited cavaliers who suggest that America waged a barbaric and pusillanimous war against an incomparably smaller and weaker foe, and that our president opted for war rather than negotiation precisely because of Iraq's hopeless disadvantages. Such aspersions should not diminish the pride all real Americans are experiencing.
That President Bush and his staff did a masterful job in the Persian Gulf war goes without saying. However, had they not had the hardware provided by the Reagan administration, they might still be in the desert jump-starting Jimmy Carter's helicopters.
The much-maligned defense budgets of former President Reagan provided our troops with the edge needed to win. He must be given considerable credit for having the vision to strengthen a military force that was in decline. Let this be his legacy to us in the 1990s.
Joseph L. Bishop
Lessons of war
Now that the gulf war is over, I hope we have learned well from this experience - above all, that we must continue to have a strong military, and the doves will have to live with it. For it is the hawks who have given them the right to be doves. We have learned by our strong leadership that the members of the United Nations can work together and by doing so might prevent another horror such as the one Iraq put upon the people of Kuwait. One hopes that from now on when the United Nations speaks, others will listen.
We have also learned that thousands of American dead did not come home, as the "bleeding hearts" told us they would. The president said in the beginning, "This will not be another Vietnam." And he kept his word. Let us learn from what we have just witnessed and let the hawks and the doves together work for the welfare of this land and its people.
Jean C. Kittel
Cut City Hall
Here's a suggestion for Baltimore to ease its budget deficit while redistricting City Council boundaries: Why not add a seventh district?
The city then could have one council member per district. Eliminate the other 11 members and do away with the council president's position. Members could alternate the chairmanship on a rotating basis, as is done in Baltimore County.
Why does it take 18 council members in Baltimore city, with a population of 736,014, and only seven in Baltimore County, with a population nearly as large? If the city has to make budget cuts, why not start with City Hall?
Richard K. Glacken
Cheers for Cowherd
I recently have been amused by several readers' letters castigating Kevin Cowherd's humor. To me, it resembles viewer ZTC problems with television programming. If you don't like it, change the channel. If you don't like it, turn the page.
I fee that Mr. Cowherd has the truly great humorist's gift of turning the mundane into the ridiculous and of turning the pretentious into the foolish. His wit and sarcasm are a welcome relief from the reality of everyday life.
I'm confident that I write for the majority of The Evening Sun's readers when I say that, not having Mr. Cowherd to look forward to after having had his genius in showing us the trees in the forest, there really wouldn't be any forest left in some of our lives.
William P. Duffield