Limos not the same
I would like to share an experience my husband and I had this past spring.
In March, we were fortunate enough to go on a cruise. Instead of paying to park our car at the airport for a week we decided to hire a limousine to drive us to and from the airport.
A bit more expensive than paying to park, but the convenience was worth it. The cost of renting the limousine to pick us up at our door and deliver us to the boarding entrance of the airport was $40 plus 15 percent tip, a total of $46.
In April, my mother-in-law passed away. We were making the funeral arrangements at the funeral home and found that the limousine needed for immediate family members would be $150.
The rented limousine to take us to the airport would pick us up at our front door. The funeral home limousine would take us five miles from the mortuary to the gravesite and deliver us back to our starting point.
I cannot understand the vast difference in price. Is it because the grieving family has no choice when making funeral arrangements? There just seems to be no justified explanation for the vast difference in cost. Can any funeral director explain this to me?
No way to recycle
The recycling program recently implemented in Baltimore County is flawed.
If Maryland must comply with federally mandated recycling, Maryland should at least attempt to determine a sensible, uniform way to conduct the program with a focus on both convenience and sanitation for the taxpayer.
Baltimore County has merely slapped together a deficient program that requires taxpayers to store, in their homes, "real" trash (as opposed to plastic and paper) for an unacceptable time.
Prior to recycling, we had two "real" trash collections per week. We now have one and must let the trash accumulate in 90-degree weather, waiting for that one collection day to come around.
This is absolutely ridiculous. There is more environmental pollution generated by the hundreds of thousands of plastic trash bags being ripped apart by crows than is being avoided by this insidious recycling program.
Not only is the program the result of inept planning, what makes it absolutely unacceptable is that someone is making big bucks out of this process.
I want to know who is getting the paper, plastic, bottles, etc., hTC that are to be recycled. How much are these materials being sold for, and into whose pockets does the cash go?
Why should I be required to watch trash accumulate and at the same time be required to do the "raw material mining" for some bozo collecting millions of dollars for the hundreds of thousands of tons of recycling material?
Take this money and restore our second "real" trash pick-up day or we'll get some more people out of office at the next election.
Jerome S. McManus
Not really tribes
The Charles County "Piscataway" Indians want recognition as a "tribe" by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which would allow them to set up Las Vegas style casinos on land they will buy to be called a "reservation."
The federal government legalized large-scale reservation type casinos in 1988 without the federal/state controls that the non-Indian casinos must adhere to. To be classified as a tribe member, you only need to have a sixteenth of that blood line. This alone is a joke.
The "Pequot" Indians of Connecticut have already established the largest bingo parlor and casino on the East Coast using this federal taxpayers rip-off law.
They have amassed millions of tax-free dollars from unknown overseas sources to build their empire. They are not subject to commerce, anti-trust nor any other laws that control other ethnic type business groups. The "Piscataways" have these same discriminating rights.
This is a bad federal law that opens the door to huge tax losses and to drug money entering the country to start these gambling reservations. It must be stopped.
These "tribes" must be subject to all the laws that other casinos face or not be allowed to exist. If I were governor of Connecticut, I would block all roads to the "Pequot" reservation, cut off the water, electricity and all other taxpayer paid conveniences until they, like other people, pay their share. This is a disgrace to taxpayers.
I hope Gov. Parris N. Glendening is smart enough to not let it happen in Maryland and the federal governorment is smart enough to stop it. These people are worse than Al Capone, the crime lord of the 1930s.
Novel approach to welfare: Makepeople work
There has been so much controversy over welfare that after years of mismanagement and generations of people being paid with no effort I can't believe no one has discovered a solution. Here's my idea:
Categorize all people on welfare as (1) unable to work, (2) of limited ability or (3) fully able to work.
Then require all those in categories two and three to work 20 to 30 hours a week by giving them whatever minimum wage jobs are available in the state.
Whatever they earned would be deducted, minus taxes, from their welfare checks. So anyone who wants a check must work.
Welfare recipients would be required to stay on the job as long as they are able to work. By not working 40 hours a week, however, they would have some time left over they could use to find a better job.
People who are able to work but refuse to simply wouldn't get any money.
I realize many people wouldn't like the the kinds of jobs they
might be offered. But they must realize that working is a way of life and that they can improve on what they are doing.
The advantage of this approach is that no children starve and no one loses their benefits except those who deliberately foul up on the job and get fired.
Parable of the mayor's new clothes
Your story on Mayor Kurt Schmoke's new "trading cards" campaign scheme reminded me of the children's story "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Anderson (June 22].
Anderson's story was about a cadre of tailors who had convinced almost all the people in their mythical country that they had woven a garment unsurpassed in its beauty for the emperor's coronation parade.
In reality, the claim was all P.R. ' not superior cloth, only a superior con job.
When the emperor walked down the street, everyone "kept with the program" and pretended to admire the exquisite garments. Only a child was wise enough to point to the emperor and exclaim, "But he has nothing on!"
The mayor insults the citizens of Baltimore by using what is traditionally a child's toy, the baseball card, to talk down to adult voters.
This is a form of condescension. He thinks he has to make himself stupid for us.
But if we are like children, we are the wise child in the parable. We can see that he trivializes the issues this city faces, and this distances him even more from well-informed voters.
The content of the trading cards is even more despicable. They create an image of "something going on" in the Schmoke administration, when there has been nothing going on ' except exploitation of that office for the mayoral campaign.
Mayor Schmoke waited three months to ask the governor not to cut general public assistance. He has not reduced crime; it has worsened, and it will become worse yet because without general public assistance, people will steal just to survive.
Mr. Schmoke has not created treatment slots for addicts or alcoholics; we have fewer slots than we did in 1987.
He has not made streets cleaner; neighborhoods have hired their own garbage collectors out of desperation while continuing to pay taxes for poorly managed city services.
The mayor has not housed the homeless: he spent $25 million in federal housing funds without moving a single new family off the waiting list and into subsidized housing.
He has not improved education, and his school superintendent has been found in contempt of court by a federal judge because when called upon to submit a plan for special education he appeared without so much as an outline.
Baltimore City's mayor is a naked political boss who parades himself through the streets with his head raised, proud of his invisible accomplishments.