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The Baltimore Sun

Young and old alike back Social Security

If conservatives such as Gary Galles are so worried about the economic legacy we will leave future generations, why have they been so silent for six years as President Bush and the mostly Republican-controlled Congress ran up a record-high national debt ("Elderly-political complex bequeaths crushing burden to next generations," Opinion * Commentary, June 21)?

Interest payments alone on that debt will cost $261 billion in fiscal 2008.

This is the real "plundering" future generations face. But it was conveniently ignored in this column.

And, while Mr. Galles suggests that seniors don't want to "bear any of the costs" of reforming Social Security, the truth is they've been paying into the Social Security Trust Fund for decades.

Claims that this generation of seniors cares more about its handsome benefits (which are only about $1,000 per month on average) than about its children's future are a malicious falsehood.

Intergenerational warfare is merely the latest tool in a battle to kill social programs that many conservatives have despised since their creation.

The American people, young and old alike, do not want to weaken Social Security.

Social Security's long-term solvency can and should be addressed; however, we do not have to pit the young vs. the old to do so.

Barbara B. Kennelly


The writer is president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and a former member of Congress.

Streamlining state isn't abuse of power

It comes as no surprise that Maryland's minority party officials resent their loss of the State House in the last election.

However, for some Republicans to compare Gov. Martin O'Malley and his Cabinet's efforts to streamline state government and eliminate needless spending to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s partisan firings and hirings of midlevel staff is beyond the pale ("78 fired by gov., figures show," June 23).

This abuse of the state personnel system by a former governor to reward loyalists is no reason to restrict Mr. O'Malley's department heads in their efforts to realign positions to improve efficiency or to eliminate unnecessary positions to curtail costs.

The majority of Marylanders expect the O'Malley-Brown administration to create a more cost-effective and better-organized government. And they are not as naive as the minority party's rhetoric assumes.

Dick Shatzer


The writer was deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs under former Gov. Parris N. Glendening and a member of Gov. Martin O'Malley's transition team.

Judge found firing tainted by politics

With all due respect to The Sun's editorial board, the editorial concerning the ruling in Gregory J. Maddalone's lawsuit over his dismissal by the state, which argued that the ruling was not "about politics so much as procedure," suggests to me that the editors have not read the judge's decision ("Irony on ice," editorial, June 19).

Let me quote from Administrative Law Judge Susan A. Sinrod's opinion:

Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari's "credibility regarding the employee's termination is therefore severely undermined, because he could not possibly have known whether or not the employee fit within the framework of his reorganization.

"Thus it stands to reason and I conclude, that the employee has established that the only knowledge that Secretary Porcari had of the employee was through politics and the media, and the employee's politics were clearly conflicting to Secretary Porcari and that of the new governor's administration."

Jim Pelura


The writer is chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.

Rip down banners on city's boulevards

Imagine Chicago's Michigan Avenue or New York's Fifth Avenue or the Avenue des Champs-Elysees festooned with banners stretching across the streets advertising the latest sporting event, antique show or what-not ("World's grand avenues shape visions of Pratt Street," June 25).

It seems to me that the first thing we should do to beautify Pratt Street - as well as many other streets in Baltimore - is rid them of such hideous signs.

Jon Grose


Little scrutiny given to Section 8 tenants

I can relate to Mayor Sheila Dixon's problems dealing with Section 8 housing subsidies ("Dixon rental property failed 6 inspections," June 22).

I have no problem with the program nitpicking landlords to be sure the properties it helps pay the rent for are up to standards and codes. It's too bad, however, that the program doesn't hold its clients and tenants to the same standards.

I had a Section 8 tenant for six years. When she moved out last October, she left me with an unbelievable mess - nearly four truckloads of trash were removed from the premises at a cost of more than $1,000.

The Section 8 program serves a real need.

However, the program should screen and supervise its clients as stringently as it screens its landlords.

D. Pazourek


Equating embryos, living kids is wrong

When the writer of a letter to the editor compares the destruction of embryos to the medical experiments the Nazis performed on children, we all should be outraged ("Pastor offers lesson on the value of life," letters, June 18).

Let there be no doubt in anyone's mine - beautiful, living children have names, have souls and are mourned when they die.

Embryos have none of these characteristics. No one is mourning or burying stem cells.

Let's stop this silliness and move on with lifesaving embryonic research. Living, breathing human beings with names, families and souls cry and pray now for help.

Jerome Glazer


Segregation is also Ocean City's legacy

The Sun's article on the heyday of Ocean City's Flamingo Hotel in the 1950s and 1960s failed to note that the families who lodged there during Ocean City's Jim Crow decades were all white ("Families flock to Flamingo," June 24).

Ocean City's "Motel Row" and the boardwalk itself enforced strict policies against the presence of black Americans.

For many years - until Congress passed and enforced anti-discrimination laws - only one hotel in Ocean City, "Henry's Colored Hotel," served black visitors.

Many Sun readers would want to know that black residents of Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and the Lower Eastern Shore were unable to lodge at the Flamingo or enjoy the boardwalk for many decades.

That fact is part of the "family atmosphere" of Ocean City, to some extent, even to this day - among Maryland black families who have not forgotten this history.

Bruce Godfrey


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