Ehrlich working to fund projects, end congestion

In his column "And now for a little liposuction on the body politic" (Opinion


Commentary, June 27), C. Fraser Smith takes issue with the Ehrlich administration's ability to finance new transportation projects

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. shares Mr. Smith's concern about the quality of Maryland's road network. Maryland highways were underfunded for years, leading to severe congestion and safety problems. That is why Mr. Ehrlich took decisive action to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund and finance new projects across the state.


The very first bill that Mr. Ehrlich signed after the 2004 legislative session was the centerpiece of his transportation initiative, which will raise more than $230 million annually in new revenue.

At long last, Maryland has a governor who is committed to getting this state moving again.

Robert L. Flanagan


The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Workers gain little from recent growth

Jay Hancock's article "Corporate cash stash raises query: Where will it all go?" (June 27) completes the picture of who is benefiting from our current "recovery."

Statistics confirm Mr. Hancock's observations. In other recoveries since the end of World War II, increased profits have been distributed such that roughly 50 percent to 60 percent went to workers and 20 percent to 30 percent to corporations and stockholders. In this recovery, those figures are almost flipped, with workers sharing little of the fruits of their labors.


As the bill comes due for President Bush's tax cuts for wealthy Americans, the middle class will shoulder an increasing share of the tax burden. Yet middle-class wages remain stagnant as rising health care costs increase the stress on middle-class incomes.

Someday the middle class will realize that the only use that President Bush had for them was as a piggybank to rob and give money to his wealthy friends.

Tim Eastman


Bush's feet planted well right of center

Mike Lane's June 28 editorial cartoon depicting President Bush and Sen. John Kerry side by side and leaning rightward on the political spectrum appeared to be an evenhanded view of the candidates. But closer scrutiny reveals an asymmetric inaccuracy that - intentional or not - resulted in a "slant" in favor of Mr. Bush.


While it is at least debatable that Mr. Kerry stands on the left and leans toward the center, no serious argument can be made that Mr. Bush stands in the center and leans to the right. In fact, it's just the reverse.

Whether it's a "Clear Skies" bill easy on polluters, a "Healthy Forests" bill inviting clear-cutting, or social programs loudly promoted and quietly underfunded, Mr. Bush's mouth repeatedly slips toward the center as his shoes slide to the right.

In fact, he plants his feet so far to the right of his face that an accurate illustration would violate the laws of gravity.

Daniel Fleisher


President sought no profit from Iraq


The Sun's editorial "Arrogance, big-time" (June 27) states that "Mr. Cheney and President Bush stand for re-election this fall amid questions about how much the financial connections of both former oilmen played in their decision to launch an ill-conceived war in Iraq." This amounts to an allegation that our president committed treason by starting a war for oil.

This is worse than standard partisan rhetoric in The Sun's editorials. It demeans the office of the president and offers no facts to validate this serious charge.

There was no financial gain for President Bush in removing a murderous dictator and trying to replace terrorism with democracy in Iraq.

He risked his political career to do the right thing.

Stanley J. Glinka

Ellicott City


Will Bush confront smoking epidemic?

President Bush recently announced that the United States will spend $500 million in 15 nations fighting the AIDS pandemic ("President announces HIV/AIDS money for Vietnam," June 24). I find this commendable.

However, since the tobacco pandemic kills far more people each year than AIDS, I wonder why the administration does everything it can to support the tobacco industry rather than trying to curtail it?

John H. O'Hara


Police chief, recruits deserve our support


God bless the new Baltimore police recruits who are assigned to stand as a police presence in dangerous neighborhoods ("Recruits get a corner on training," June 28). Not only are they reducing crime in those areas (which is their job, right?), they are also getting on-the-job training and providing a positive image of the police to local residents.

It's sad that critics can't seem to let Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark do his job the way he sees fit.

The city hired him to be in charge of the Police Department and ensure that it functions effectively.

The Sun should give his system a chance to work, instead of going out of its way to find "experts" and critics to fuel negativity and pessimism.

These new recruits need all the support they can get. They lay their lives on the line every day so that we all can be safer.

Susana Link



Mattie's courage won't be forgotten

Thanks for Tuesday's excellent article on Mattie Stepanek ("Remembering Mattie," June 29). I have a local story to add to it.

In October 2001, Mattie and his mother visited Villa Julie College's Stevenson campus to speak to our junior pediatric nursing class. He came in a special van and with his motorized wheelchair plus breathing apparatus to present a stirring message to inform aspiring nurses about the special care and understanding pediatric patients need.

Mattie had just survived a near-fatal episode, one of many he endured, and one of our nurse instructors had assisted with his recovery.

It was Mattie himself who suggested the talk, which he drafted himself in words beyond the scope of most people, let alone an 11-year-old boy. He even read a few of his poems.


Mattie was one of the best speakers any of us had ever heard, and he contributed most effectively to the first-hand pediatric patient caring knowledge gained by our nursing students, faculty and staff.

He will be missed but not forgotten.

Glenda LeGendre


The writer is director of marketing for Villa Julie College.