The Baltimore Sun

Not selling drugs but hailing hacks

One of the letters offering a suggestion for "A better Baltimore" (Readers speak out, March 23) displayed a bit of ignorance. Those "people allowed to stand on main streets waving their fingers" are not selling drugs. They are trying to hail a cab or a hack (unlicensed taxi driver).

Having lived in various parts of Baltimore for most of my life, I have known several cab drivers, hacks and people trying to hail a ride. If the writer of the letter had simply spoken to a few of the folks "waving their fingers," she would have realized that most Baltimoreans are just going about their business getting from A to B.

John Williams, Towson

Unlicensed cabs still pose a danger

A writer recently asked "why people are allowed to stand in the road on main streets and wave their fingers to traffic as a signal that they are selling drugs" (Readers speak out, March 23).

I asked this question a year ago when I saw someone doing this near a school, and I was told this person was actually signaling for a ride from an unlicensed, unmarked taxi. Apparently these drivers are willing to risk their lives, and possible the public's lives, by picking up people and charging lower prices than licensed and marked cabs.

I would ask the same question as the writer: Why don't officials in Baltimore do anything to curb this problem?

Julie Frein, Brooklyn Park

UM undercuts case against budget cuts

In its editorial "University math" (March 26), The Baltimore Sun laments the addition of budget cuts to the tuition freeze imposed on the University System of Maryland and opposed by its chancellor. We are informed that the Board of Regents is "better equipped" to determine the balance between the cost and quality of education.

The University of Maryland, College Park recently demonstrated this with a million-dollar guarantee to an assistant coach if he is not selected to replace Ralph Friedgen as head football coach ("Franklin received $1M vow from UM," March 25).

Money well spent by an institution campaigning against budget cuts.

Charles Herr, Perry Hall

End of financing bill keeps elections free

The defeat of the public campaign financing bill ("Dead again?" March 26) is a victory for a free and vibrant democracy without government controlling the playing field.

Despite the hysteria and hyperbole by self-anointed "reformers," most Maryland legislators were properly skeptical of the grandiose and discredited claims of supporters of taxpayer-funded campaigns, and wisely rejected this scheme to divert scarce public dollars to subsidize politicians.

Sean Parnell, Alexandria, Va.

The writer is president of the Center for Competitive Politics.

Sad to contemplate death of newspaper

Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column on the future of newspapers almost made me cry ("No mourning from crooks over demise of newspapers," Commentary, March 23). How can anyone think that TV and the Internet can replace the printed page?

Sure, I watch the news on television. Then I read The Baltimore Sun the next morning to get the full story, as well as the stories that the half-hour newscast doesn't have the time or the inclination to report. Plus the letters to the editor, the editorials, the local stories, the obituaries, the comics. Where else can I find what's going on in my community?

No other medium can provide the pleasure of propping your paper against the toaster and reading with the morning coffee or the evening meal.

Please don't take my newspaper away from me.

Matilda Weiner, Baltimore

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