Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Many forces in state must pull together...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Many forces in state must pull together to save manufacturing

The editorial "Saving jobs on Broening Hwy. . . ." (Jan. 16) is an excellent example of the importance of manufacturing jobs to the state's economy. I applaud The Sun for the attention it gives to General Motors, and I encourage the newspaper to examine in greater detail the overall picture of Maryland manufacturing.

Employment in manufacturing has been reduced by a fifth over the past 15 years, according to the Regional and Economic Studies Institute at Towson University.

Recently, a group of manufacturers from the Regional Manufacturing Institute (RMI) and Maryland Manufacturing Association met with state Sen. Tom Bromwell, state Del. Kathy Klausmeier, an RMI board member and members of the Baltimore City and Baltimore County delegations to discuss Maryland manufacturing.

Some outstanding state programs are available for manufacturers, but state programs alone will not reverse the downward spiral of manufacturing job losses. Maryland leaders of business, labor, government, education and the community should give more attention and more zeal to the development of a comprehensive plan designed to increase manufacturing jobs.

Anything less means the state's economy, and the average weekly paycheck of Marylanders, will remain far less than what we should expect.

Michael Galiazzo, Hunt Valley

The writer is executive director of the Regional Manufacturing Institute.

Clinton's comments on firm unfairly damaged standing

As president of Real Estate Auditing Services Inc., I am appalled at the comments made by the president in regard to Columbia National Mortgage Co.

As an auditor of major financial real estate institutions, I have never seen the reputation of Columbia National Mortgage questioned. To say it has violated fair housing laws without offering facts to support that claim is the type of sloppy management practices the Clinton administration is becoming known for.

It is clearly obvious that this announcement was a political maneuver to produce news copy on Martin Luther King Day. But because these allegations are wholly unsubstantiated, they do no one any good; they only damage the reputation of one of Baltimore's leading financial institutions.

Richard Taylor, Ellicott City

It's better not to go hog wild over good budgetary times

I write in reference to the Jan. 18 articles "Falling hog prices trap debt-burdened farmers" and "Taxes and spending in Annapolis."

The farmers' plight appears to be the direct result of good times, which encourage spending money on their businesses today, with an assumption of continued prosperity tomorrow. When the hog market fell, farmers began to encounter desperate financial circumstances.

I could not help but notice the similarity between Gov. Parris N. Glendening's proposed big-spender budget and the hog farmer's decision to go forward based on good times.

The governor would do well to heed the message in the debt-burdened farmers' plight, and adjust his spending in a manner that considers eventual bad times. Less politics and more frugal spending are needed to lead Maryland toward a successful economic future.

Helen E. Ryan, Abingdon

Justice's jazzy gold bars may be sending a message

Has no one noticed the message Justice William H. Rehnquist is sending about the impeachment trial?

He is sporting gold bars, derived from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, on the sleeves of his judicial robe.

Gilbert and Sullivan were supreme satirists of the foibles of society. Each comic opera is a burlesque of contemporary behavior.

What do the gold bars indicate? Could it be: "This trial is a joke"?

Margaret Schiavone Hill, Baltimore

Harnessing environment can be a free-fall over cliff

My first reaction to the letter ("When human needs matter, nature has no rights," Jan. 19) was that it was a joke. The writer would like to shape the earth to serve human needs and deny nature any rights. I recommend a book he can take exception to, called "Ishmael," by Daniel Quinn, which addresses the letter writer's attitude toward humankind's attempts to harness the environment.

The book has an interesting image of a man who launches himself off a cliff in a flying contraption. While in free-fall, before he hits the ground, he thinks he's flying very nicely.

Emily G. Clement, Severna Park

It's premature to reject Patapsco greenway plan

Your article ("Greenway proposal rejected," Jan. 20) emphasizes environmental problems with the proposed Patapsco Heritage Greenway. The proposal has been beset by controversy, but rejection at this point would be premature.

The planned greenway trail would begin as an extension of the existing Grist Mill Trail in the Avalon area of Patapsco State Park, which certainly is not considered to be an environmental hazard.

The first segment of the proposed route, just beyond the swinging bridge in Baltimore County, features a very large, above-ground sewer pipe. One could hardly argue that a nature trail would degrade this environment. Such an addition very likely would improve it.

If runoff is a concern, the trail could be surfaced with porous pavement. The threat to wildlife would be minimal. Deer abound in the park, and they are not put off by roads, trails or people.

Before this plan is rejected, the area should be surveyed by state scientists to determine if the concerns of environmental activists are justified.

Robert Schulze, Elkridge

Frivolous civil lawsuits also clog court system

I applaud judges in Baltimore seeking to reform the court system in hopes of relieving some of the burden suffered from an overloaded court docket ("Judges seek to reverse reform," Jan. 14). But these proposed reforms concentrate on our criminal justice system.

Our civil courts need help, too. About every two seconds, a lawsuit is filed in the United States.

While legitimate claims need to be heard, and those who have been wronged should be compensated, our civil courts simply have no room for the many frivolous lawsuits brought by people who think they can use our justice system as a lottery.

Research shows that in Baltimore, the average time span between the day an incident occurs and the day it is brought to trial is nearly three years. The reason is too many frivolous lawsuits.

Gary O. Prince, Baltimore

The writer is secretary of Baltimore Regional Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

Republican tax reductions would benefit the wealthy

In their response to President Clinton's State of the Union address, the Republicans stated that their first priority would be an across-the-board 10 percent tax cut.

President Clinton stated that his first priority would be to fix Social Security, and he did not mention any across-the-board tax cuts.

I believe that most Americans would agree with President Clinton on this important issue.

An across-the-board tax cut strongly favors high-income people. Very little, if any, benefit goes to low-income families because they pay little or no tax. In the past, every Republican tax cut bill has favored the high-income families, such those that reduced capital gains taxes from 31 percent to 28 percent to 20 percent.

In addition, over the years, the top income tax rate for the wealthy has been reduced from 70 percent to 39.5 percent.

As someone once said: "We who have money ought to be paying a lot more in taxes."

Bernard Siegel, Irene Siegel, Baltimore

Pub Date: 1/24/99

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