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

Battle over Kosovo is not a conflict...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Battle over Kosovo is not a conflict that U.S. should enter

As a military retiree with combat experience in three wars, I would find the president's edicts to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and the Kosovo revolutionaries the height of folly if not for the danger of inserting our already depleted military into another civil war that is none of our business.

The questions arise:

Will Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright's repeated farcical threats of U.S. or NATO military intervention stop anything? Who the heck is she (or our draft-dodging president) to make threats?

How are we going to bomb the Serbian army without killing hundreds or thousands of innocent civilians who live near military bombing targets and have no way to leave or nowhere to flee?

What is the administration trying to achieve?

If U.S. or NATO troops go into Serbia, they will be attacked by the Serbs, if not by both sides, and become involved in an open-ended guerrilla war. Remember the flow of body bags from Vietnam? I do; I darn near came back in one.

What are we going to do when allies such as Germany and France see casualties and pull out? How do we get our troops out?

Sure, people are getting killed over there. On any given day, 40 or so wars are fought in the world. Unless we're going to spend our entire budget and wipe out our armed forces stopping all 40 wars, let's keep out of other people's fights.

Chuck Frainie, Woodlawn

Nations turn too quickly to violence as an answer

Thank you for your recent coverage of international events, particularly our bombing of Iraq and the unfortunate killing of demonstrators in Berlin.

In conflicts, personal, social or national, people so often resort to violence. Many would do well to renounce violence, at least as a tactic, if not based upon personal conviction.

But if we consider war, or the use of violence, it will be better if we know our objective, and we clearly understand the stake.

Frank Kasper, Baltimore

Private foundations not controlled by UM

During the past year, The Sun has expressed, in articles and on the editorial page, concerns about private foundations in support of our public universities in Maryland. This sentiment was once again on display in the article "Foundations at UM given tighter rules" (Feb. 6), which wrongly characterized all of Maryland's independent foundations as being under the control of officials at University System of Maryland headquarters.

I quote the article: "They are all run out of the University System office and are essentially independent of the campuses."

Your readers should know that there are several private, independent foundations in Maryland -- at Towson University, the University of Baltimore and at Salisbury State University -- which are not directed by system headquarters, but work closely with their host institutions. There's also the University System of Maryland Foundation, which maintains accounts for the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and several other universities in Maryland.

Our foundation at Salisbury State University has been in existence since 1981. The activities of the foundation are under the control of a private, independent board of directors. The foundation annually signs an agreement with the university in which the concerns of the Board of Regents and statewide university officials can be taken into account with respect to the obligations and the privileges the foundation enjoys.

Martin E. Williams, Salisbury

The writer is executive director of Salisbury State University Foundations Inc.

Thanks for donations to United Way fund

Kate Shatzkin's article "Record Year for United Way" (Feb. 19) inspired me to applaud the good work the United Way is doing in funding much-needed services and programs in Central Maryland.

Combined Health Agencies of Maryland is a federation of 24 voluntary health charities that receives funding from the United Way of Central Maryland campaigns.

Through the United Way, our health charities provide many health programs, support groups, community outreach and medical research. We help hundreds of thousands of Marylanders every year.

When the United Way benefits, we all benefit. We are grateful to everyone who donated even one dollar.

Sue Lovell, Baltimore

The writer is chairwoman of the board of Combined Health Agencies of Maryland.

Kudos to Sun, technology for Maryland section

Compliments on the front of The Sun's Feb. 17 Maryland section. The photograph at the top of the page looks just like the artwork of Edward Hopper. To top it off, the photograph of the two-alarm blaze on the bottom of the page looks like a painting by Reginald Marob.

Of course, the new technology of color printing gets part of the credit.

Marjorie K. Greenebaum, Baltimore

Legislators make excuses to scuttle ethics reform

If, as state Del. John S. Arnick says, legislators ought to be entitled to free tickets to sporting events because they approved funding for the state's major stadiums, shouldn't the people of Maryland also get some freebies?

After all, the people of Maryland ultimately paid for the stadiums. Would there be anything wrong with them "coming over to see what they paid for"? On the other hand, maybe it would be better if Delegate Arnick and his cohorts paid for the tickets so they could see how the common folk of the state live.

If state Sen. Michael Collins cannot get by on a measly $30 per day for meals in Annapolis, let's raise the meal allowance. It's better that the people pay the legislators' bills than for lobbyists to buy meals and expect something in return.

Delegate Arnick and others do not want meaningful reform. They want to eat like kings and be seen as great rainmakers for charitable causes.

Peter M. Moulder, Towson

Utilities should assume loss from sour investments

It is understood that we assume a risk when investing in the stock market. We can double our investments or lose them all in a matter of hours. When we win, we keep the profits. When we lose, we bite the bullet and don't expect someone else to pay off our debt.

Unfortunately, electric utilities seem to think this principle does not apply to them. Maryland's utilities, such as Baltimore Gas and Electric, are demanding that consumers foot the bill for more than $2 billion worth of their bad investments, which have been labeled stranded costs. This would raise electric rates, undermine competition and undercut efforts to make the state's electric industry more cost-efficient.

On the bright side, state Sen. Brian Frosh and Del. Leon Billings have introduced pro-consumer bills that would protect consumers by requiring utilities to be responsible for their bad investment decisions.

The Maryland General Assembly should support these bills and not proceed with deregulation unless utilities assume the full burden of their bad investments decisions.

Emily Greenfield, Baltimore

Colleges should hear about harassing student

Kay Sokoloff should not only have received firm and unwavering support from her school administrators, but she also should be commended by the National Honor Society for her courage and professional integrity ("Student barks, teacher frets," Feb. 13).

Obviously, the teacher gave a fair and accurate evaluation of the student seeking National Honor Society membership. The actions of the student before, during and after he was denied nomination suggest that Ms. Sokolov was keenly aware of the unworthiness of his candidacy.

What poetic justice if colleges where this young man applied for admission were to become aware of his appalling behavior.

Adele E. Hammerman, Baltimore

To our readers

The Sun welcomes letters from readers. They should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.

Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is letters@baltsun.com.

All letters are subject to editing.

Pub Date: 2/27/99

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