Careful control of energy use is saving money
The Sun's article "City overpaid its BGE bills by $200,000" (May 16) failed to share the good news about the city's energy management practices.
The truth is the O'Malley administration's Energy Management Working Group, formed in July 2001, identified credit balances on energy bills five months before the city comptroller's audit was published.
In addition to resolving the overpayment issue and setting in motion further improvements in bill verification, the administration has monitored energy consumption and spending through biweekly CitiStat meetings, enacted cost-saving modifications to buildings and awarded energy-performance contracts that will improve energy efficiency.
Together with the "Tighty Lighty" conservation campaign launched in February, these efforts have saved, when comparing the first three months of this year to last year, $240,000 for the city's 10 principal downtown buildings.
Moreover, the article misses the point by suggesting that unoccupied buildings require utility shutoffs.
There are common-sense reasons to keep utilities activated in certain unused buildings: Sprinkler and alarm systems need power, and the absence of heat can damage the interior of older, historic buildings such as the Peale Museum.
George L. Winfield
The writer is director of Baltimore's Department of Public Works.
Public must know what went wrong
After months of denial, we've now been treated to revelations about information the White House had about potential hijackings before Sept. 11 ("Bush defends handling of terror threats," May 18).
Regardless of the Republicans' desire to spin this controversy as just a matter of partisan Democrats seeking political advantage, a serious investigation is exactly what is necessary.
More than 3,000 people died on Sept. 11 - more people than died at Pearl Harbor - and it is the duty of "We the People" to demand to know what our government knew in advance, and what it did with that information.
We still have a representative form of government, and Congress and the people deserve a full accounting.
For eight years, the daily Republican song was: "What are you hiding? What are you covering up?" Now, with current revelations about the Enron scandal and Sept. 11, the same song is being banned from the radio by the same Republicans who wrote it.
Are President Bush and his inner circle saying that they cannot stand up to the same scrutiny President Clinton had for his entire term?
Michael S. Eckenrode
Sept. 11 'blame game' won't make us safe
U.S. politics has truly hit a low point. Recent Democratic Party charges that the White House was to blame for the sad events of Sept. 11 are ludicrous and destructive ("Hijack threats were vague, top White House aides say," May 17). As a registered Democrat, I'm ashamed of my political party.
Yes, the Bush White House should have known about this terrorist plan in advance, and should have implemented a plan to avoid the heinous outcome. Yes, the airlines and responsible federal agencies should have been prepared to thwart this mass murder.
However, all of the above entities weren't ready or successful, and we must learn from this terrible mistake.
The only way to properly remember those who died Sept. 11 is to learn from the intelligence and law enforcement errors that allowed the day's horrible events to happen.
I struggle with seeing how the Washington "blame game" serves this purpose.
President deserves bipartisan backing
The Democrats' despicable attempt to use the Sept. 11 tragedy for political advantage should backfire. To suggest our president knew about the impending attack and chose to do nothing is mudslinging of the lowest order.
The American people recognize that the Democrats are desperate politically and have resorted to a ghoulish attempt to use the suffering of Sept. 11 to win votes.
The public remembers that the Clinton-Gore administration did nothing in response to the first World Trade Center attack or the attack on the USS Cole and cut back our intelligence capabilities.
And now we are at war on terrorism, and Americans of both parties demand bipartisan support for our commander in chief.
Help for homeless in Harford County
As president of Holy Family House Inc., I was dismayed to see a recent column state that there is "no emergency and transitional housing facility in Harford County" ("Homeless in Harford," Opinion * Commentary, April 9).
Holy Family House has been providing transitional housing for families with children since 1989. In 2001 alone we provided 7,499 bed-nights for families. By 2003 that number should grow to more than 16,000. And other groups, such as SARC and Anna's House, also provide services to homeless populations.
The author's point may have been that Harford County doesn't have a transitional or emergency shelter owned and operated by the county. But Harford County already provides a portion of the funding for the private efforts to house and counsel the homeless. The funds for a transitional housing facility could all too easily be siphoned from funds now allocated for the homeless.
No agency can be all things to all people, but a cooperative effort between the public and private sectors can best help the homeless.
Merrie H. Standish
Shooting of priest can't be condoned
The media and Dontee Stokes' family are presenting him as a victimized man-child who simply wanted an apology.
Brushed aside is that Mr. Stokes allegedly went to meet the Rev. Maurice Blackwell with a loaded handgun that was fired three times at close range into Father Blackwell.
Premeditated attempted murder and vigilante justice should not be condoned, no matter how heinous the crime.
Gary F. Suggars
Pray for the victims and for the priests
There are always people who take delight in someone else's misery ("Church bashing delights the left," Opinion * Commentary, May 8). But let us not forget that the current Catholic Church scandal concerns only a small percentage of priests. We have a lot of wonderful, caring priests who help us every day.
I don't condone the way this child abuse problem was handled, but the priests who hurt our children have a sickness and need help.
Let's keep the victims in our prayers, as well as the priests, and ask for peace and forgiveness for all.