LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Tax credits spur efforts to revive communities

Thank you for The Sun's well-written editorial on the Maryland historic rehabilitation tax credit program ("Summer reading," March 17). While Maryland is, without a doubt, experiencing severe budget problems, lawmakers should not cut this program.

I recently received reimbursement for the renovations to my more-than-200-year-old home in Mount Vernon. Without this program, I would not have been able to undertake such a project. Furthermore, I would not have had the guidance and incentives to keep the rehabilitation respectful of our community's history.

As The Sun rightly pointed out, the program has not only proved important for the continuing revitalization of Baltimore, but is a very valuable resource for other communities in the state to attract the right people and projects for their neighborhoods. The program is too important, and works too well, to be cut.

Our lawmakers should look elsewhere to make up for the shortfall they helped cause - maybe to their own salaries?

James Reeves

Baltimore

Repealing pay hike could stem shortfall

While the people we elected to govern our state argue about how the citizens of Maryland should suffer to cut the budget deficit, there is one action they should all agree on, a simple way the legislators and governor can help alleviate the budget shortfall: They can repeal the law the legislature passed last year giving themselves and the governor 38 percent raises.

Such a raise at any time would be outrageous. To give themselves such a raise during a time of a huge budget shortfall is criminal.

Why should the people who determine in what ways everyone else in the state will bear the burden of the economy be allowed to make sure they not only bear none of the suffering and burden, but indeed receive an embarrassment of riches?

Laura F. Davies Tilley

Arnold

Politics still favors the well-connected

As a resident of the 8th Legislative District, I was amused by Del. Eric M. Bromwell's comment that his famous last name had little to do with his election last November ("Two famous freshmen begin to carve own niche in Md. House," March 18).

As the article points out, Mr. Bromwell was able to raise $40,000 at a single fund-raiser, an unprecedented amount for a first-time candidate. Does he really believe he could have raised this money without the clout of his father, former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell?

Eric Bromwell's political connections allowed him to defeat Democratic and Republican candidates with far more community experience.

Sadly, politics seems to favor the well-heeled and politically privileged, not the most deserving.

Wayne Guraleczka

Nottingham

When will wealthy have to sacrifice?

President Bush finally uttered the word "sacrifice" in association with the war against Iraq ("Bush tells nation: 'Events have now reached final days of decision,'" March 18). Certainly this applies to our soldiers, and I would personally extend this to the Iraqi civilians who will be placed in harm's way.

At home the sacrifice would seem to apply to belt-tightening on the part of the majority of the American public. Money will no doubt be diverted from programs to pay for the war. It's reasonable to expect the administration to cut away at Medicare, Medicaid and probably Social Security.

But what of the fat-cat recipients of Mr. Bush's tax cut? It appears they are not being called upon to "sacrifice."

I hope someone in Congress, as well as in the media, will take Mr. Bush to task over his policy of continuing to pad the pockets of his rich supporters, even in the face of a mounting deficit and impending expenses for a war.

Michael Baker

Baltimore

Tax cuts, war hurt average citizens

If the Republicans pass the president's $726 billion tax cut, who's going to pay the costs of war and homeland security and the billions in aid we have promised our "allies" ?

I believe it will be the average citizen who will be hurt as Congress reduces programs such as Medicaid and forces states to raise local taxes to cover these losses and the increasing cost of first-response teams that must be ready to respond to terrorist threats.

It's time for the president to tell us the cost of the war and its aftermath as Congress debates his economic plan.

Margaret F. Ingram

Baltimore

Waging wrong war at the wrong time

The president's spokespersons say he is "comfortable" ("Hussein defiant; war looms," March 19) with his decision to send hundreds of thousands of our soldiers into war, to wreak havoc in a country, Iraq, that has not attacked the United States, to walk away from the United Nations and from a worldwide commitment to joint action.

This makes me exceedingly uncomfortable. The administration has not listened to those of us who believe diplomacy and peace-seeking is the far braver choice. We still believe this is the wrong war at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.

The damage that this war will do, and has already done, to the reputation of America will take generations to heal.

While I will fervently hope for the safe return of our courageous men and women who will be sent into battle and honestly admire their strength and dedication to defending our country, I still feel I must protest the wrong-headed action of the administration.

Corinne Hammett

Parkville

Bless our effort to end tyranny

I have gravely thought about war with Iraq. I have concluded that I support President Bush's initiatives.

My experience is that those who have not served look at freedom glibly. But those like me who have fought for freedom value this concept much more dearly.

"Peace in our time" is a lame lament that helps tyrants.

God bless America as we crush oppression in Iraq.

Lawrence J. Simpson

Baltimore

Baraka's racism deserved censure

Amiri Baraka is a vicious anti-Semite whose recent appearance at Coppin State College merited a passionate denunciation from The Sun's editorial page. Instead, readers were treated to an article that focused most of its attention on Mr. Baraka's bogus defense of a poem in which he repeats the vile canard that Israel had a hand in the Sept. 11 attacks ("Literary warrior uses poetry as a weapon," March 15).

The article also omitted Mr. Baraka's long history of statements characterizing Zionism as racism, comparing Israel to South Africa under apartheid and alleging Zionist control of the country's media and intellectual life.

Like any other racist, Mr. Baraka should not be provided a forum by our public universities.

Coppin failed morally by inviting Mr. Baraka to campus, and The Sun failed morally by not raising its editorial voice against this outrage.

Jay Bernstein

Baltimore

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