Ex-parks chief has no place on city...


Ex-parks chief has no place on city payroll

Fired months ago after less than two years on the job, former city parks director Marvin F. Billups Jr. remains on the city payroll and continues living rent-free in city-owned housing, with the blessing of Mayor Martin O'Malley ("Ex-parks chief, fired in July, still on city payroll," Sept. 11).

The mayor says it's only right to give the guy time to find a new job.

Clearly, the mayor has never worked in the private sector. Typically, when an employee is terminated for cause, he or she receives one week's pay per year worked, unless another agreement has been made.

The city's largesse is excessive, and the fact that it is open-ended is simply bad management. The mayor has done a lot of things right but, in this case, he has taken his eye off the ball.

Facing incredible financial pressures, Baltimore simply cannot afford the luxury of such misplaced generosity.

W. F. Herrfeldt


Former city parks director Marvin F. Billups Jr. was fired because of poor performance. Yet he remains on the city payroll, at a salary of just under $100,000.

Baltimore does not have the funds to pay individuals who have been terminated, especially for poor performance.

William G. Holmes Sr.


Commuter tax is a bad idea

While I understand the need to explore all avenues to increase city revenues, I have some real problems with the commuter tax approach ("Regional, commuter taxes could bolster city finances," Sept. 5).

First, this idea smacks of insulting the populations that have been moving out of the city to the suburbs. They have their reasons for moving, and I think the politicians should be working to address those issues better than they have.

Second, taxing somebody who is passing through smacks of another abhorrent idea: taxation without representation.

Daniel W. McAndrew

Forest Hill

Reluctance to attack is well-justified

The Sun's article "Powell again is 'reluctant warrior'" (Sept. 8) says in its subheading that the secretary of state is pitted "against President Bush's more conservative advisers."

To the contrary, I see Colin Powell's position as the conservative one. He is pitted against radical advisers.

Mr. Powell is the one who is trying to conserve: lives, money, the stability that exists in the world and America's good name. Thank goodness for Mr. Powell's reluctance.

If the United States attacks Iraq with no proof of its complicity in last year's terrorist attacks or that Iraq is continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction, we join the amoral and law-breaking nations against which we rail.

It seems to me that the only responsible action to take now is to get the U.N. inspectors into Iraq to prove or disprove the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Joan K. Parr


Bush, Ashcroft work to make us secure

Jules Witcover is being naive if he believes that we can sit back and do virtually nothing and the Saddam Husseins of the world will co-exist peacefully with the United States and Israel ("Fresh eyes see America adrift," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 11).

And let's not forget, we are still the most open and hospitable nation in the world. President Bush just wants to institute much-needed, common-sense reforms to our immigration policy, and Attorney General John Ashcroft is making an extraordinary effort to root out those who wish us harm.

I am grateful for their efforts, and I only wish that Mr. Witcover and the rest of the political left would leave their heads in the sand instead of coming up for air and spouting nonsense.

Michael DeCicco


John Unitas inspired memories to treasure

As a child, I used to accompany my neighbors and their season tickets to Memorial Stadium to watch the Colts. At that time, I didn't understand football and was just interested in being among all the excitement and loud, face-painted fans.

I didn't know why a single man, with his plays and last-minute, game-saving tactics, threw this steelworker crowd into a wild frenzy that seemed to go on forever. I knew his name, but didn't understand what he did to make so many grown men scream, pound, dance, jump and act like 9-year-old children.

Now when I look back, with understanding this time, to those games of my childhood, I realize just exactly who and what I was watching during those face-painted, wild days at the stadium. Most of all, I know that I was watching football history as it happened.

Thank you, John Unitas, for giving me these wonderful memories I carry so close to my heart.

Kathy Brown


Unitas taught city about real values ...

John Unitas taught a generation of Baltimore kids how to play with courage, win with humility and lose with grace. He taught us one may rise to great heights through hard work, discipline and placing team goals before personal goals.

He modeled generosity without fanfare and was never shy about expressing his feelings regarding love of family, God and country. He could throw a football and command an offense pretty well, too.

He elevated and solidified professional football with his classic style, but he won Baltimore's heart with a crooked smile -- the smile that made opposing defenders grind their teeth as they retreated toward their end zone in the final two minutes of play.

And he, more than any other individual, gave Baltimore a taste of self-esteem when this city needed it.

Gary Rostkowski


John Unitas was larger than life. Yet he eschewed power and glory, preferring the camaraderie and laughter of "the regular guy."

I had the privilege about 10 years ago of finally thanking him one-on-one for being such a great role model. Not for his on-the-field heroics, but for the values he embodied off the field -- above all, humility.

It was a privilege to grow up in Baltimore in the Colts era, and let John Unite-us.

Richard Berkow


... and name belongs on football stadium

The death of Johnny Unitas, as sad as it is to us old Colts fans, can solve the problem of finding a permanent name for Ravens Stadium.

Since he personified professional football in Baltimore, wouldn't "Johnny Unitas Stadium" sound great?

Don Klein

Ocean City

PSINet's purple letters are gone from the football stadium and should not be replaced with another corporate name.

The name "Unitas" in huge blue and white letters would be perfect.

Ilene Kayne


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