The Sun's article "City share of profit sharing is zero" (Aug. 10) presented an unbalanced picture of the role of profit sharing in Baltimore's economic development projects.
It should be understood that:
The city's basic economic judgment as to whether or not to support a proposed project (and to consider financial incentives) is not based on the possibility of profit sharing.
The city's analysis of the value of a project is wholly based, as it should be, on the core issues of attracting and retaining jobs and solidifying and increasing the city's tax base.
Profit-sharing negotiations address the potential (which is never a certainty) that a project will do substantially better financially than the original estimates by the city or the developer suggest.
Because the developer is taking the majority of the financial risks on a project, it is normal for that firm to get a preferred rate of return on equity before profit is shared.
In even the most successful projects, such as the Inner Harbor's Hyatt Regency Baltimore, it is unreasonable to expect any profit sharing in the early years of a project's operation.
Some profit sharing arrangements, such as the city's agreement with the Cordish Co. for the Power Plant (a project with a previous history of failure), recognize this condition: In this case, profit sharing will commence in year 11 of the lease.
Meanwhile, the Power Plant has provided hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenues to the city.
The writer is president of the Baltimore Development Corp.
Making better use of auxiliary police
It was disappointing but not surprising to read that the Baltimore Police Department makes so little use of its volunteer auxiliary police unit, despite the fact that the city has one of the highest crime rates in the country ("Auxiliary unit asks to do more," Aug. 13).
Sadly, many East Coast urban police departments are apathetic about the use of auxiliary forces because they are afraid of their police union or obsessed with liability issues.
However, even the New York City Police Department's weak program permits auxiliary police officers to perform foot patrols and carry handcuffs so they can make citizen's arrests.
Meanwhile, armed volunteer police programs in big city police departments in other areas of the country such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Detroit and Washington are flourishing under more dynamic police leadership and making a real contribution to the quality of life in those cities.
It is time for Baltimore's political leadership to get involved in this issue, as its Police Department appears not to be up to the task.
The writer is president of the Reserve Police Officers Association.
Praise for ousting Hamm an odd twist
As he endorsed interim Mayor Sheila Dixon for mayor, Gov. Martin O'Malley cited the firing of former Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm as an example of her effort to fight crime ("O'Malley returns the favor in mayoral race," Aug. 14).
But who appointed Mr. Hamm as commissioner?
Endorsement offers more of the same
Let me see if I have this right: Baltimore's interim mayor, who is still under investigation for numerous alleged ethics violations while she was City Council president, is endorsed by the former mayor and current governor, who left Baltimore in a shambles and is moving the state in the same direction ("O'Malley returns the favor in mayoral race," Aug. 14)?
I don't understand how more of the same crooked, do-nothing government can be a good thing.
Rove's exit too little and way too late
I would like to draw encouragement from the impending departure of White House top strategist Karl Rove. But, like virtually anything favorable that occurs in this administration, his exit is too little, too late ("Bush's top strategist, aide resigns," Aug. 14).
Mr. Rove has been the brains behind the actions of this president, and that is not something from which he should derive satisfaction.
He has been one of the principal drivers steering the nation into a ditch both domestically and internationally and sullying the prestige the United States has traditionally enjoyed throughout the world.
In part as a result of Mr. Rove's vitriolic brand of slash-and-burn partisan politics, the nation is now more divided and discontented than ever.
With only 17 months left in Mr. Bush's seemingly interminable eight-year reign as president, most Americans will not be jumping for joy that one of the figures who has been a major problem for our great nation is finally leaving public life to spend more time with his family - because the damage has already been done.
Oren M. Spiegler
Upper Saint Clair, Pa.
No evidence Nixon 'radicalized' Cheney
Using a tactic ever-more popular in the liberal media, Robyn Blumner makes a sensational claim with no basis in fact and tries to pass it off as insightful analysis ("Nixon set the stage for Bush's excesses," Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 13).
She assigns motives to the present-day actions of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, asserting without proof that they are based on events of 30 years ago.
But to suggest that a young Mr. Cheney was "radicalized" by the Nixon presidency, which turned him into a "nefarious" evil-doer looking to shred the Constitution, is pure fiction.
Don't citizens know the city is filthy?
If you can't see the evidence all around you that littering is clogging the gutters, killing our streams and the bay, then I cannot imagine where you have been living.
So am I the only one who thinks the city's anti-littering ad campaign will be a waste of $2 million ("$2 million ad campaign to take aim at litterbugs," Aug. 8)?
How about taking that money and using it to open after-school programs to get kids off the streets? Or for counseling programs for drug addicts and their families? Or to help the homeless? Or why don't we take that money and give it to teachers who deserve a raise?
If people can't see what is happening around them as a result of their actions, spending $2 million on an ad campaign isn't going to help.
Sense of urgency is needed on AIDS
Thanks to Scott Calvert for his recent follow-up on the efforts to help orphans in Lesotho ("A struggle to aid Lesotho orphans," Aug. 5).
I appreciated his efforts to help these three children, orphaned by AIDS. I understand his frustration that money alone could not help them.
There are so many children in the same situation; a sense of urgency to help this particular family was lacking.
I do hope that changes.