Collective bargaining good for workers
So the Greater Baltimore Committee, Greater Washington Board of Trade and Maryland Chamber of Commerce are willing to spend several hundred thousands of dollars suing the governor over collective bargaining for state employees.
Is this an example of creativity, which the private sector always claims as its own? Is this an example of leadership?
What the business community really hates about collective bargaining for state employees is the idea that the employees might enjoy good pay, good benefits and good working conditions. The concept might spread to the private sector. Then what would happen to the excessive and unearned salaries that executives get at the expense of their employees?
Honest partners commit frauds
In an excellent Dec. 8 article, R. W. Rustmann documents the sinking morale in the Central Intelligence Agency and links it to events culminating in the recruitment of Aldrich Ames and Harold J. Nicholson.
While it is very difficult for us to understand how anyone who went through the training and lived through the professional risks could betray their friends, family and country for the Russians, the process was a classic case-study of vulnerability assessment and exploitation.
Don't imagine that the new KGB trainees have not been briefed on the process which led to success and are not elaborating plans to avoid the compromises of any future penetrations.
In the turmoil that attended the demise of the Soviet system, one of the lessons preached by U.S. advisers and consultants was the rewards of the free market economy. The idea was to convert the socialist lethargy by encouraging private enterprise and harness individual greed. It seems that the lesson was not lost on the KGB. What was sauce for the goose was sauce for the gander.
So we taught them that what motivates Americans -- especially regimented bureaucrats who get paid no more for high-risk activity overseas than those with desk jobs at home -- is financial rewards. In Soviet days, the KGB was notoriously low on pay and high on blackmail and control of its recruits. So the revelation that money could be made -- in the millions of dollars -- by someone like Aldrich Ames was a new offering in the Russian catalog. And, of course, with the exposure of Ames, the KGB doesn't have to advertise. A vulnerable candidate with a sensitive clearance in any security agency knows where to go and that the rewards may be handsome.
As Mr. Rustmann points out, there is usually a stronger, deeper, more personal reason that leads to treason, not just money. But the ills of American society at large and the ills fostered in a secretive bureaucracy which creates stress over a period of years and offers few financial rewards play a large part in what leads there. David A. Philips, former head of Latin American operations used to say as a word of caution about staying honest: "It is always difficult to find an honest partner to perpetrate a fraud."
Perhaps Harold Nicholson learned from William Casey. In this context, both John Deutch and Anthony Lake give us hope for what is to come.
Public should help private schools
I am responding to Clyde R. Shallenberger's Dec. 9 letter, "Private school aid hurts public schools." Private and parochial schools should not be viewed as competing with the public schools; each has its own niche and value.
Contrary to what Mr. Shallenberger states, parochial schools do not educate only "the best students." In fact, because of their more rigid structures they have been very effective in educating many children with educational impairments, such as attention deficit disorder. Many of the especially bright students select public schools, where they have access to gifted and talented programs.
As taxpayers, we believe our children are entitled to transportation, non-religious textbooks and technology. We do not advocate that the dollars to pay for these tools should come from the public school. It's in the best interest of our society and our collective future to educate all children to the best of our ability. Our representatives need to take a hard look at the total budget to find these funds.
While it might not be easy to "find" the necessary dollars, it sure beats the alternative. If the private and parochial schools were to close tomorrow, Maryland taxpayers would have to pick up the cost of educating thousands of additional children, at a cost exceeding $6,000 per student. The funding we are seeking is a pittance compared to that figure.
Joanne Creaney Meekins
Recognizing 'Ebonics' no help to its speakers
The decision by the Oakland, Calif., school board to recognize "black English" is an insane idea that should be condemned by all right-minded people.
This is a cop-out that neither addresses the real problem nor assists the affected students in their academic goal.
The school board should focus its time and energy on finding answers to the following questions: Why is it that a majority of those students cannot speak "proper" English? What can be done to help them improve their ability to understand and speak standard English?
The current plan to accept "Ebonics" does not answer those questions. Rather, it sends the following wrong message to those students.
"After years of helping you to improve, we have concluded that you are not capable of understanding and speaking standard English. Consequently, we are going to accept you as you are and absolve you of all responsibilities."
This approach is morally wrong and dereliction of duty. It will not challenge those students to improve or hold them accountable for failure to strive toward excellence.
This is sad and an unfair way to prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century.
George U. Ayetin
Evidence says no global warming
In response to Dan Buck's Dec. 19 letter, "Rain confirms global warming," I contend that we are not experiencing global warming at all. Rather, it appears that we are cooling down.
In an article also on Dec. 19, "Forecasters see snowy prospect for Baltimore's suburbs," the National Weather Service reported that the wettest year of all time locally was 1889, when 62.35 inches of precipitation fell in the Baltimore area. We would have to get an additional 4 inches before New Year's Day for 1996 to become the wettest year on record.
If Mr. Buck's logic that more rain is a direct result of global warming is correct, then 107 years ago we were warmer than we are now. Looks like global cooling to me.
Park Heights has more poisons to ban
The residents of the Park Heights community have spoken. They caused the closing of a food store charged with selling substandard foods and endangering the health of the community.
Since trading in illegal substances is also hazardous, can the same methods used with the Health Department be applied to police?
Can the community continually picket drug areas, drawing publicity? Will the media be alerted that the residents will not stop until eradication occurs?
If efforts can be concerted against a nonresident, shouldn't family and friends be held to the same standard? Or does the deadlock occur because offenders are family and friends?
Law-breakers are risk-makers. Parental and family blinders contribute to the epidemic and, make no mistake, the drug traffic is an epidemic that affects us physically, emotionally, economically and socially.
Pub Date: 12/30/96