State funding should go to public colleges

As a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County who struggles each semester to pay my bill, I am angry that any of my tax dollars go to fund private schools in Maryland ("Md.'s private colleges fear major cut in state aid," Jan. 30).

Tina M. Bjarekull, president of Maryland's Independent College and University Association, said that state aid to private colleges is important because "you want the best and the brightest. You want to retain them so they don't go somewhere else."

I don't know if Ms. Bjarekull has ever stepped foot on any state school campuses, but if she did I think she would find some of the best and brightest students, who are worth retaining, at those schools as well.

And I'm not sure it's fair for us state school students to have to pay a tuition increase of 5 percent for the spring semester because of budget cuts while people who chose to attend a private school see no fallout from Maryland's dismal economic situation.

Lindsay Tyler Bowlin


Having read in the past how far down on the list Maryland is in supporting its public institutions of higher learning compared with other states, I was shocked to find out how generous it has been with our tax money in supporting its private colleges.

My husband and I just received the bills for the mid-year tuition increase for our two children at the University of Maryland, College Park. Is the same thing happening to parents of students at Johns Hopkins University, Loyola College or other Maryland private colleges?

Something is wrong with this picture, and I hope those looking for ways to cut the state budget keep this in mind.

How can this state continue to support private schools while denying adequate support to its public colleges?

Maureen M. Mills

Bel Air

Law wasn't intended to target lobbyist

The Sun's editorial "Goodbye, Mr. Evans" (Jan. 29) expresses the concern that Gerald E. Evans' return to lobbying is evidence of legislative impotence. In fact, his ability to continue to lobby reflects the legislature's understanding of the law and the state constitution.

Maryland has a long judicial and legislative understanding that laws should not be passed that change lives based on past conduct; such an understanding reflects the concept of fairness.

Thus, when the Legislature passed House Bill 2 in 2001, it recognized that to inhibit Mr. Evans' ability to lobby because of a prior conviction would violate the state constitution, if the law only applied to him, and violate all legal precedent if it was made retroactive. The law was appropriately made prospective only.

And, in a written opinion, the state attorney general clearly expressed the view that the bill was not intended to affect Mr. Evans.

The Sun's opinion, along with the one written by the State Ethics Commission, were designed simply to get public approval, and in the process they ignore the law, the Maryland Constitution and basic fairness.

Daniel M. Clements


The writer is the attorney for Gerald E. Evans.

Don't terminate parks program

As a citizen of Maryland and a Baltimore resident who regularly enjoys my local park, I strongly object to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s intention to cut a program to refurbish parks ("Ehrlich to end program for parks," Jan. 25).

It is vital that we revitalize our communities and ensure our children have a future that includes open fields, forested streams and woodland areas to explore and learn from. As a parent, I'm sure Mr. Ehrlich understands that.

It is one thing to reduce the budget of this program or even keep it at last year's appropriation of $11 million. But it is a mistake to get rid of it.

I hope the governor reconsiders his position.

Sue Fothergill


Judge sends signal to the criminals

Rarely in this politically correct world do we see the sort of courage Baltimore Circuit Judge John M. Glynn displayed in the case against two businessmen who had experienced numerous break-ins at their Baltimore business ("Judge acquits two men who shot intruder," Jan. 24).

It is sad that a man had to lose his life as Darrell R. Kifer and Kenny Der defended their business. But Judge Flynn correctly dropped the state's ludicrous charges and sent a message that it is not OK for a career criminal to threaten or harm decent people.

Gordon Yarbrough

Middle River

Bush didn't manage to make his case

The Sun's editorials on President Bush's State of the Union address were great ("The promise of prosperity," Jan. 29, and "Perseverance and Iraq," Jan. 29).

Mr. Bush's proposed tax cuts are so preposterous that even some Republicans can't support them.

I wouldn't be opposed to making wealthy Americans wealthier, if it really did result in jobs and economic security for lower- and middle-income Americans. But history has shown that trickle-down economics does not work, no matter how you package it.

And despite his unrelenting cry for war, Mr. Bush is still unable to make a convincing case for attacking Iraq and risking the lives of our troops.

No one disputes that Saddam Hussein is one of the vilest people alive.

But we won't help the Iraqi people by bombing them into the dark ages, alienating the rest of the world and putting Americans at greater risk of terrorism.

Eileen Gillan


Ehrlich talked to us in State of the State

I listened to the State of the Union and the State of the State speeches.

My conclusion: the president talked at us; the governor talked to us.

Robert A. Cloutier


Let U.N. inspectors continue to work

The Sun's editorial "A false choice on Iraq" (Jan. 28) hit the mark quite precisely.

We have many options besides invasion - options that would be not only more effective but also far less costly.

For the sake of humanity and our own security, we must allow the inspection process to continue and refrain from plunging ourselves and Iraq into a devastating war.

Andrew Stewart


Arena's facelift is welcome sight

As a longtime season ticket holder for the Baltimore Blast, I think it is great to see team owner Edwin F. Hale Sr. give the old arena a welcome facelift ("Billboards on arena to net city very little," Jan. 28).

When one walks in the main entrance, the first thing one now notices is the new and refreshing paint, along with the new and attractive signage.

Let's face it, the old arena building has needed this attention for a long, long time.

Raymond Foehrkolb


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