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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dog walkers helped reclaim neglected park

The editorial "Reaping what dogs sow" (Jan. 19) suggests that dog walkers at Robert E. Lee Park have shown a lack of respect for the park and their fellow citizens by not cleaning up after their pets. The Sun must not be aware of the recent history of the park.

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For many years, Robert E. Lee Park was an unattractive and threatening place, a hang-out for teen-agers and other drinkers. I have been going there for more than 20 years and saw the dog walkers slowly reclaim the park.

They sponsored park clean-up days, held picnics, erected a small bulletin board with notices of pet immunization clinics and other matters of interest to pet owners, and put out containers for bags for people to clean up after their dogs.

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A sense of community developed among the many people - old and young, black and white - who used this park regularly. People realized that we needed to care for this park, which had been ignored by a cash-strapped city.

But after several years, the Schmoke administration decided that this citizen self-help was not permitted. It took down the bulletin board, removed signs reminding people to clean up after their dogs and began removing the supply of cleanup bags almost as soon as they were put out.

Thus the city and those opposed to any dog park discouraged and hindered the very type of responsible activity The Sun now advocates.

If you truly believe in a healthy park, then encourage use of the park by those who have already demonstrated responsibility. Dog owners don't want to lose this unique place where they and their dogs can socialize and, given the chance, will take care of it.

This editorial is barking up the wrong tree.

Eric Waller

Baltimore

Reasons for cynicism about executive pay

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Jay Hancock complains that the public is glad to see high-paid executives humbled ("Public disgust with executive enrichment is humbling," Jan. 21). But there have been far too many instances of executives running companies into the ground and then giving themselves bonuses, raises or golden parachutes. Just because such practices may be legal doesn't make them moral or ethical.

The resources of the company are not the personal property of the executives. Excessive compensation given to executives (often by themselves or by compliant boards of directors) is compensation denied to workers or stockholders, who are also entitled to a fair return on their labor or investment.

Many companies pay paltry or no dividends, squeeze workers for wages and benefits, and at the first sign of lagging profits lay off workers or send their jobs overseas. How often do we hear of corporate executives sharing the sacrifices?

When executives start sharing the profits and the pain, maybe the public will be less inclined to celebrate when a few of the greedy are humbled.

Craig Herud

Aberdeen

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Look for wrongdoing in schools' shortfall

Finally, an investigation by state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick into the $58 million mismanagement of school funds ("Answers sought in schools' deficit," Jan. 23).

But this is the fox investigating the henhouse. Where is The Sun's call for a criminal investigation? Or that of local TV investigative teams? Or of the state's attorney general? Or Mayor Martin O'Malley? Or the City Council?

As in many corruption scandals, a lot of people are afraid of being tainted when the truth comes out.

Hang 'em all.

Myles Hoenig Roland Moskal Baltimore

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The writers are teachers at Southwestern High School.

Law shouldn't make killing any easier

In her letter "Scaring women away from right to choose?" (Jan. 18), the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland suggests that women, not politicians, should make the choice to have an abortion.

What this position fails to recognize is the fact that a human life is implicated.

Should the law be faulted for making it more difficult for someone to kill an innocent human being? Should bank robbery be legalized so it is safe for felons?

Benedict J. Frederick Jr.

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Pasadena

Illogical to resist regulating abortion

I was appalled by the letter "Scaring women away from right to choose?" (Jan. 18).

It is illogical for abortion centers not to be regulated. Beauty salons have to be accountable for a healthy environment. So do dentists' offices.

Abortion is a major surgery. If abortion is safe, there should be no problem in opening up the records without disclosing patients' personal information.

Mara Herzberger

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Cockeysville

Cutting cost of care is the real solution

I read with interest about the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) ad campaign to raise awareness of the high cost of malpractice insurance ("GOP caucus a hot session topic," Jan. 20). MedChi wants a limit on pain-and-suffering awards and says some doctor's saw insurance premiums increase 28 percent in the past year.

How about the pain and suffering of their patients? Insurance premiums are going up for all of us. I am a retiree of Harford County government, and our premiums have gone up an average of 47 percent a year for the past three years.

I don't have the option to raise my fees, as the MedChi doctors do. My choice, like that of other retirees, is to bite the bullet and pay the rising premiums, get another job to help pay the premiums or not have health insurance at all. This does not leave us with many good choices.

Maybe the answer is an overall lowering of all health costs nationwide.

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Robert K. Taylor Sr.

Street

'Civic' obligation to save energy

Nicholas Leonhardt's column "Good Car-ma" (Opinion Commentary Jan. 18) said there were three hybrid cars, and all had uninspiring names. However, he missed one: The Honda Civic I drive is a hybrid, and I take great pride in its appellation.

Indeed, I feel a "civic" responsibility to cut down on emissions, conserve fuels and tread as lightly as I can on the Earth in order to preserve it for future generations.

This isn't a perfect solution, but it's the best we've got, and I'm happy to avail myself of this technology.

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Susan Hartman

Baltimore

Bringing comfort to the homeless

Thank you for the article about Patrick Rhodes' project of giving sleeping bags to homeless people ("Cold Comfort," Jan. 20). It is encouraging and refreshing not only to learn about a caring, action-oriented person such as Mr. Rhodes but also to be invited to actually help out with his project.

Many folks who are equally concerned about the plight of homeless people on our icy streets will respond to this story with practical help.

A future article about the success of the endeavor would also be helpful.

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Elke Straub

Baltimore


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