The Baltimore Sun

Ehrlich had to work to balance budget

The Sun's article "O'Malley's frugality under scrutiny" (July 23) said that former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. "routinely raided special funds to pay for operating expenses, which made the general fund budget look more flush than it was."

As I read the article, it was unclear whether that line was a paraphrase of the views of political science professor Roy T. Meyers or if The Sun's reporter was editorializing.

However, the governor does not have the authority to "raid special funds."

He can borrow from those funds only after getting explicit permission from the legislature, which Mr. Ehrlich did because he entered office facing a $2 billion deficit.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller and their respective legislative bodies authorized borrowing from the transportation trust fund to help cover the costs of the Democrats' 2002 election-year spending orgy.

Of course, they then turned around and blamed Mr. Ehrlich for doing the tough job of bailing them out of the mess they made - proving again that no good deed goes unpunished.

Mike Collins


The writer is chairman of the Republican Central Committee for Anne Arundel County and was a security analyst for the Maryland Department of Transportation in the Ehrlich administration.

How can companies avoid the tax toll?

I was appalled by the article about companies operating in Maryland and not paying taxes ("Taxes avoided by many Md. firms," July 24).

There is always enough blame to go around. But how can our elected leaders allow this?

Companies should not be allowed to manipulate the laws in their favor.

Is it any wonder that so many CEOs are paid outrageous salaries? I guess it's easy to find the money if you do not have to pay your share of the taxes.

The character Michael Douglas played in Wall Street was wrong: Greed is not good.

It breeds corruption, cheating, cooking of the books and lies.

Frank P. Manganaro


Millions want to see all troops go home

The Sun's article "How many U.S. forces required for Iraq?" (July 22) suggests that nearly everyone agrees some U.S. combat forces should remain in Iraq to protect the support troops, diplomats and contractors. That is false. Millions of people believe the support troops, diplomats and contractors should leave Iraq, too, which would obviate the need for any combat troops.

Some of those millions are Iraqis, who, after all, own the country and have the right to say who should be there.

Others are citizens of other countries, including this one, who have been disgusted by the lawless rapacity of the U.S. government and American business interests.

Millions of people agree that the United States should get out of Iraq, bringing home all its troops, and let the businesses take their losses.

Citizens who are still uncertain should be told that this point of view exists.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam


Impeach Gonzales to save rule of law

With many Democratic and some Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee agreeing that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has been lying to them, it is well past time for him to leave his position ("Gonzales accused of deceit," July 25).

If Mr. Gonzales will not step down, and if President Bush will not fire him, Congress should act immediately to remove him from office.

If it does not, Congress will be abetting the destruction of our Constitution and our very form of government.

There could hardly be a more appropriate situation for the stringent remedy of impeachment.

David Schwartz


Immigrants struggle to support families

Two articles in last Sunday's Sun, "Immigration crackdown 'gonna get ugly'" and "Immigrants race to beat clock" (July 22), described some of the difficulties facing immigrants to this country.

How sad it is that current law enforcement practices can be so painful for immigrant families.

Meanwhile, if you are a poor Latin American, immigrating legally to the United States has become very difficult, and is getting even harder.

Yet the feature article "No work here" (July 22) from the same day's Sun provides insight as to why Latin Americans accept separation from their families and unbelievable horrors to try to come here.

Many Mexicans who cannot make a living wage at home are trying to support their families from afar. How much different is this from the immigrants throughout our history who came to America seeking economic, religious and political freedom?

Rather than spend our money on walls, raids and deportations, I believe the United States could do much more to help our Latin neighbors improve their lives at home so that they can remain at home with their families.

One way to do this would be to change the U.S. policies implemented through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that have resulted in the impoverishment of Latin Americans.

Nancy Meier


Foster care system proves toxic to kids

It is true, as University of Maryland Professor Richard P. Barth writes, that the landmark study of more than 15,000 children that found that children placed in foster care generally fared worse than comparably maltreated children left in their own homes did not include children under 5 ("Finding too much in foster care study," letters, July 22). But another study did.

In that study, even infants born with cocaine in their systems did better when left with birth mothers able to care for them than they did when placed in foster care.

For the foster children, being taken from their mothers was more toxic than the cocaine.

Still another study found that foster care alumni had twice the level of post-traumatic stress disorder that Persian Gulf war veterans experienced, one in three said they had been abused by a foster parent or another adult in a foster home, and only one in five could be said to be doing well as a young adult.

Isn't it time the burden of proof shifted to those who want to place more and more children in a foster care system that churns out walking wounded four times out of five?

Richard Wexler

Arlington, Va.

The writer is executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

Fine Frisco dining at bargain prices

Why would The Sun publish an article about San Francisco and Napa County dining written by someone who, before working on the article, didn't know what Michelin stars signified ("Frisco for foodies," July 22)?

Perhaps the reporter could have redeemed herself had she pointed out that the prices for dining in most of those world-class restaurants are lower than the prices we pay in Baltimore at our better restaurants.

Deborah Greenstein


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