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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Mayor's new tax on nonprofits imperils services

The Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations opposes Mayor Martin O'Malley's telephone and energy tax proposals because they would tax nonprofits' ability to serve people ("Budget deadline near; tax plans aired," June 10).

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Nonprofit charitable and educational organizations exist to serve the public and community. They are inherently different from commercial businesses.

They have no shareholders and return their revenues in service to citizens and communities usually with more efficiency than government.

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Their property is held in trust for the community. Most expand services in tough times. The growth of nonprofits in the city during recession, while other employers are withdrawing, demonstrates why they should remain tax-exempt.

Nonprofits provide essential health and other social services to children, families and vulnerable individuals, bring national and international attention to the city for its educational, cultural and health facilities, and draw visitors, students and patrons from across the state and nation to enhance Baltimore.

Nonprofit leaders understand the problems facing Baltimore. They serve the same "constituents," and they've suffered from the same state and federal cuts that cause the city's budget woes. They are strong advocates for programs and policies that would benefit the city and its citizens.

They are willing to find ways to assist the city's delivery of services and more effectively reduce city costs. But taking their resources -- cutting their services -- is not a solution that helps people.

Henry Bogdan

Baltimore

The writer is public policy director for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

Ignoring dark side of Reagan revolution

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With all the adulation being heaped upon Ronald Reagan by like-minded politicians and the media, it might be useful to remember that, although amiable and likable, the former president was a right-wing ideologue who put the nation at risk.

His program of tax cuts combined with massive increases in military spending created dangerous deficits that would have been disastrous were it not for the economic boom of the 1990s and the subsequent Democratic administration's prudent fiscal policy of deficit reduction.

His military build-up aimed at what he called "the evil empire" was dangerously provocative, and it is a dubious proposition that it led to the demise of the Soviet Union.

The Reagan administration's "star wars" defense program was as fantastical as it was costly.

The damage done as a matter of calculated policy to programs in such areas as health, education and environmental protection is still being felt.

President Reagan, moreover, was not above authorizing a clearly illegal scheme to funnel aid secretly to anticommunist forces in Nicaragua, a violation of constitutional restraints that should have resulted in impeachment.

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While all of this is history, which we managed to survive, the failure of the public and the news media to recognize fully the ideological content of the Reagan years poses a danger for the future.

Gene Oishi

Baltimore

Don't mourn the end of Reagan's suffering

As we remember President Ronald Reagan and extol his virtues and successes, we ought not mourn. He suffered from the most debilitating, tragic disease we know -- both for the victim and for the family. It takes one's ability to reason, to control one's body and finally to even recognize those always held most dear.

President Reagan's death is not a tragedy, but a release.

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Bert Booth

Towson

Absurd appeal rightly rejected

The Maryland Court of Appeals has rejected Steven Oken's argument that the execution procedure known as lethal injection would inflict unnecessary pain and suffering ("Court refuses to delay execution," June 10).

Had Mr. Oken's penalty been death by hanging, would his attorneys have argued that this procedure might cause unnecessary pain and choking? Sorry.

Dr. Bert Miller

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Baltimore

Multiculturalists want it both ways

I could not disagree more with Katayoun "Katy" Deljoui ("A multicultural dream," Opinion * Commentary, June 10).

My mother came to this country from Sicily in 1922 when she was 16 years old. She endured the same taunts and ridicule that Ms. Deljoui did. But my mother gritted her teeth and vowed to fit in because she came from poverty and appreciated early on the opportunities here. She taught herself English and the ways of this country. She and my father, also an Italian immigrant, raised three sons to be American, not hyphenated Americans. My mother is now 99 years old and still blesses the day she stepped foot on this soil. So do we, her children, and our families.

I believe people who come here should "melt" into the "melting pot," however inconvenient it may be for them. All of these metaphors such as "salad" and "mosaic" are just clever attempts to avoid commitment. You can't have it both ways.

Sal Cammarata

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Baltimore

Coffeehouse plans neglect local brews

I was extremely disappointed to read Mayor Martin O'Malley's comments regarding Starbucks coffee ("City seeks a jolt from Starbucks," June 9). While the renewal of Baltimore has been exciting, we need to make sure to hold on to the qualities that make our city unique.

The model of success for one city does not have to apply to all others.

I, for one, am proud to live in a city that is able to sustain small and independently owned businesses. The success of such coffeehouses as the Daily Grind and Patterson Perk speak much more for the strengths of Baltimore than any Starbucks.

Baltimore needs to do what it can to prioritize its own entrepreneurs before such national corporations. The two can coexist, but loyalty to our own should come first.

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Kara Harris

Baltimore

Graduates' stories were spirit-raising

I would like to thank you for adding a bright spot to my daily reading of The Sun. In a time when the war and other horrific situations cover the pages of the paper, it was a pleasure to read the wonderful, heartwarming article "Two students show two kinds of success" (June 2).

To see Michael Waschak's smiling face on the front page was extremely uplifting and brought a smile to my face. It was a spiritual lift that was much needed.

Darlyn Youngman

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Cockeysville


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