Tulip gardens not a priority for city budget

Howard Friedel and the Guilford Association should be embarrassed to protest the proposed budget cuts for the tulips in Sherwood Gardens ("City aims to clip off funds for Guilford tulip display," May 4).

While Mr. Friedel worries about the loss of "perfection" to the flower beds if the tulips are allowed to bloom more than one year in a row, hundreds of city parks and playgrounds are poorly maintained, schools are understaffed and facing more layoffs and curbside recycling may be cut.

Rather than expecting the city to decorate this "upscale enclave," the members of the Guilford Association can surely donate a few hundred dollars apiece, or even raise the price of the tulip bulbs (which they sell at the end of the season), to make up the $23,000 budget cut.

Chris Rutkowski


Pruning gardens, funding developers

It's understandable that a struggling city would balk at paying $23,000 to help beautify part of Baltimore ("City aims to clip off funds for Guilford tulip display," May 4). After all, the aesthetic amenities of city living are a very low priority for Mayor Martin O'Malley's administration.

However, the administration did apparently find wisdom in giving a 15-year property tax amnesty to a powerful developer ("Developer in inquiry says tower is on track," May 2) who may become phenomenally wealthy from rental units.

"Believe" in the power of the special interests.

Myles Hoenig


City continues to fail its schools

Once again our leaders and, I suppose, we as citizens have demonstrated that we don't care enough about our city children to budget whatever dollars it takes to educate them ("Schools plan would boost class sizes," April 28). We should all be outraged that city schools CEO Bonnie S. Copeland had the audacity to propose increasing class sizes and that the school board accept that proposal to cut the budget deficit.

Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that adding two children per class is harmless. Some children will drop out because of frustration as the learning environment gets more difficult. Some children will fail their subjects because of the change in teacher-pupil ratio.

In high school, some classes simply won't be taught. And some children will miss out on having their universe open up in a magical way that only an exciting classroom experience can bring.

Some talented and motivated teachers will lose their enthusiasm and walk away from the system as well.

Let us not be surprised if angry and frustrated teen-agers consider drugs and crime or wonder why the best and brightest never get educated enough to help make this a great city.

And please, no more haughty comments about our failing schools. What do we expect when there is no political will to make them succeed?

Gwen L. DuBois


The writer is the mother of a junior at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

Police gave up raises to help out in crisis

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark's comments in City Council chambers regarding Baltimore police officers "getting paid less because union representatives did not secure raises" were erroneous and demeaning to the men and women who serve the citizens of Baltimore ("Clark defends work of police to council," April 30).

Commissioner Clark neglected to note that his officers forfeited a pay increase last year to support the department and the city during a fiscal crisis. Mayor Martin O'Malley approached the Fraternal Order of Police to request the membership's assistance.

The membership, out of respect for the mayor's commitment to our officers, ratified a contract without salary enhancements.

Commissioner Clark not only owes an apology to the men and women of the Police Department, but his comments should have caused embarrassment to Mr. O'Malley.

Daniel J. Fickus


The writer is president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3.

Role in Vietnam isn't the key issue

Linda Chavez's column, "What he did after Vietnam" (Opinion * Commentary, April 29) is notable for the assumptions she makes about the peace movement and the outcome of the Vietnam War.

But Sen. John Kerry notwithstanding, those who denounced the Vietnam War did not necessarily support Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Cong. Many in the peace movement condemned human rights abuses by both the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese.

Whatever Mr. Kerry, or President Bush, did or did not do during the Vietnam War, it should be remembered who was responsible for the pointless carnage of that unfortunate time.

President Lyndon B. Johnson and President Richard M. Nixon, as well as Henry A. Kissinger, Gen. William C. Westmoreland and other officials, lied at the outset and kept on lying all the way through that miserable war to save face, while millions of Americans and Vietnamese were wounded and killed for no reason.

But today I am more concerned with who will be less likely to lead the United States into pre-emptive war and more likely to promote a fair and just economy in which poverty is nonexistent and health care is a right, not a profit-driven business.

Lee Lears


Political comic strips should be relocated

I object to The Sun putting "The Boondocks" and "Doonesbury" on the comics pages of the paper.

Both these strips have obvious political agendas. I find I have to make the comics pages "disappear" each day for this reason.

My grandchildren like to read the comics, and I do not want them to be told that their president is "staggeringly dim-witted" ("The Boondocks," April 28).

These strips belong on the editorial pages.

Alicia Catalano


Bad time to lose favorite newsman

Thank you so much for your moving tribute to our very, very favorite newsman, Bob Edwards ("Goodbye, Bob," editorial, April 30).

How can we possibly face the new day without his lovely voice?

We're especially sorry to lose him now, when every morning's news seems worse than the morning before.

I hate hearing how many more sons of parents somewhere have lost their lives. We shouldn't have to lose Mr. Edwards, too.

Ralph Rigger

Rebecca Rigger Monkton

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