Gun Ban Votes
Editor: I applaud the senators who voted against the governor and the ban on semi-automatic guns.
It is refreshing to have senators not intimidated by the governor and your biased newspaper. Maybe with some compromises by both sides of the issue money and time could be spent on finding real solutions to crime.
It amazes me that the governor and your paper have no regard for gun owners' constitutional rights. Maybe the governor and his puppets would accomplish more by attacking the criminals and repeat offenders than the NRA and gun owners.
Paul Harman. Annapolis.
Hail to the Chief!
Editor: Let's stop picking on our governor and pave the way for President William Donald Schaefer!
B. J. Small. Baltimore.
Editor: Thank you for your excellent coverage of the Persian Gulf War.
I read with interest the excerpts from the diary of Spec. T. Ann McElroy. In expressing her compassion, she includes the innocent families of Iraqi soldiers, the fathers, sons, brothers and husbands who looted, maimed, murdered and devastated the people and country of Kuwait. She wrote of bravery with which these Iraqis picked their way across mine fields.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to Ms. McElroy and to all the troops who served in the gulf. We are proud of what they have done and will continue to do -- fight for the freedom of all.
! Elaine Flitt. Randallstown.
Sell Off City Neighborhoods
Editor: Baltimore City politicians should not be so quick to reject the wishes of Curtis Bay citizens to become a part of Anne Arundel County.
Properly structured, such a reorganization could help solve the city's seemingly intractable financial problems.
Any corporation that finds its costs exceeding its income must quickly do one of two things to avoid financial insolvency. First, it must cut expenses to match the available income. If that step proves inadequate, which is often the case, it must then sell assets.
The sale of assets in turn accomplishes two goals. It first eliminates the expenses associated with those assets, and then provides cash to cover short-term liabilities, and capital to finance solutions to more fundamental problems.
Ideally, the corporation will sell nonprofitable assets that are causing the problems. However for the obvious reason that they are not profitable, the assets often do not bring in enough cash to fund immediate or long-term needs.
The corporation must then sell its more profitable assets. Such was the case when the parent company of Maryland National Bank recently sold its most profitable subsidiary, the credit card operation, to raise cash.
Similarly Baltimore City now needs cash to cover immediate expenses, and capital to address structural problems.
Assuming it has already cut unnecessary expenditures and is still short, the next step would be to sell assets. A short definition of an asset is anything that if properly managed will generate a flow of cash.
Our neighborhoods fit this definition in that they generate cash through tax revenues. If the neighborhood is profitable, meaning that it provides more income to the city than it consumes in services, it will have measureable financial value which can be priced and sold.
Curtis Bay could be valued in such a fashion and sold to Anne Arundel county for a lump sum of valuable cash. Other neighborhoods, like Roland Park, might prove to be even more valuable under a similar valuation.
Where would Anne Arundel get the money to pay Baltimore City? Borrow it, of course, and charge the residents of Curtis Bay a special tax to meet the principal and income payments. A deal so structured should benefit everyone and solve a number of financial problems.
Historically, it would simply reverse what took place a hundred years ago when the city, for long-forgotten reasons, absorbed many of the surrounding municipalities.
Of course, if the city wastes the new cash assets like it has wasted the neighborhoods it now governs, the problems will eventually reassert themselves. Unfortunately, our politicians continue to look at our neighborhoods as nothing more than groups of fickle voters needed for their re-election, rather than precious cultural assets to be cared for and passed on to the next generation.
Fortunately this latter problem is easily fixed if citizens would only develop their electoral will to effect the solution.
$ Harwood Nichols. Baltimore.
Editor: When consumers buy American-made products they support our economy and create jobs and paychecks.
I've heard it said that products made in the U.S.A. are inferior or second rate compared to imports and that union workers are lazy and take no pride in their work, but that is just not true. Look at our armed forces in the Persian Gulf war, a lot of whom are part-time reservists and full-time American workers. All of which used American made products and technology to win the war.
Those products used by our soldiers are the envy of the world and most of those products are union made and in fact most were made by the United Auto Workers of America, with all the pride of workmanship possible.
As our troops come home they will be wanting their jobs back and their regular paychecks again. With our economy in a state of recession, will they be coming home to the American dream or a nightmare?
Buying American helps everyone, from manufacturing to services. Buying American is the true "trickle down" process that everyone will benefit from.
Flying the flag is patriotic but what does an American flag on a foreign car say about our priorities?
Should we be helping Japan or Germany with their economies, creating jobs in their market places, or shouldn't we concern ourselves with our economy and create jobs and paychecks at home?
Buying American is more than patriotic, it's smart and it helps Americans.
Our industrial base is eroding and our good paying jobs are moving overseas. It's time to think about ourselves, our children and our country. Now is the time to buy American!
+ Ron and Vernae Metzger. Bel Air.
Against Three-Trailer Trucks
Editor: As a motorist who uses I-695 twice a day, five days a week and uses I-70 and I-95 frequently on day trips around Maryland, I for one, oppose triple bottoms -- trucks with three trailers.
No matter how much training the truck drivers receive, there will still be tailgating.
Considering that the weight will go from 80,000 to 134,000 pounds, an increase of 54,000 pounds, how much will the braking distance increase? How many more accidents will occur?
One day I saw a gasoline tanker running 60 m.p.h. behind a VW Rabbit, separated by one car length. One can imagine what would have happened if the Rabbit needed to stop quickly.
The trucking industry claims efficiency will increase with the triple bottoms. The only savings will come from fewer drivers making longer hauls and fewer tractors on the road. But how much will this be affected by increased fuel consumption from the increased weight and rolling resistance?
Another important question is this: if triple bottoms are allowed only on certain roads, how will they arrange to drop off the last two trailers?
I know for a fact any trucks going to the I-70 truck stop in Frederick will never get up the access ramp as the turn is extremely tight even for a single 40-foot trailer. Making the transfer on the shoulder of the highway will be dangerous not only for the trucker but for anyone driving in the area at that time.
There are several stretches of highway that will be unsafe for motorists if these trucks are allowed to operate as the trailer will -- cut curves tighter than the cab. For example in a right hand curve on the highway, with the truck running in the fast lane, the cab can take the turn riding the edge of the roadway on the left shoulder and the end of the third tailer might follow in the center lane. Pity the poor driver who just happens to be occupying that spot at highway speeds.
There will also be a much larger blind spot with these trucks.
Hopefully the people of Maryland will not have to contend with the larger trucks. It's dangerous enough out there now.
Mike Jayroe. Baltimore.