Letters to the Editor - April 13

April 13, 2011

Barbara Ingram students put on quite a performance

To the editor:

Over the last year or so, there have been numerous negative comments in Mail Call as well as letters to the editor indicating that the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts is a waste of taxpayer money. Well, the students, both those on stage, and those behind the scenes, as well as the faculty who guided them, proved the naysayers wrong this weekend with their production of “The Phantom of the Opera.”

I, for one, am glad to see my taxes used for such a worthwhile endeavor. The students created a magical experience for a capacity crowd at The Maryland Theatre and I applaud them all. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”

These students made the world more bearable, and due to the education and training received at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, will continue to do so for the rest of their lives.

Cynthia J. Shank

Letter writers should not be limited to so few words

To the editor:

Being an individual who always looks forward to both reading and participating in writing letters to the editor, I have noticed that it has been quite some time since you have published any letter longer than a brief note. Therefore, I would suggest that you rename your current letters to the editor section to notes to the editor.

It is my opinion that your desire to only publish brief notes diminishes the value of the potential ideas that can be expressed in your paper. There are a great many matters that interest, excite and inspire the public that cannot be expressed and explained properly within the current word limitation that you have imposed and are rigidily enforcing.  

Rodney Pearson Sr.

Delegate outlines changes to state pension systems

To the editor:

Many people have asked me to update them on the changes to the state pension systems. I stated in a previous Herald-Mail story that I felt this was a “good first step.” To confirm, I was encouraged that the governor and other legislators recognized that something needed to be done. I further concurred with former Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Casper Taylor, the chairman of the Employees and Retirees Benefit Sustainability Commission, who stated that more needs to be done.

The pressures on the operational budget, as well as the $18 billion unfunded liability, were not sufficiently addressed.  Employees are being asked to make higher contributions, but the governor is transferring $120 million per year over the next two years from the plan to the operating budget. You could easily argue that this is in fact a tax on the participants that is not put towards the pension fund, but to the general fund.

The Republican House Caucus is committed to retirees, benefits earned to date for current employees and taxpayers.  During this session, we studied and offered a solution that did not include increased employee contribution, but rather real structural changes. It did not increase employee contributions, and rejected shifts to the local governments while providing budgetary relief. This proposal also offered help with the unfunded liability.

Please keep in mind that the “pension” changes have absolutely no effect on current retirees. I plan to provide information on state health programs in the future.

There will be a public forum May 11 at Hager Hall to discuss all of the activities during this session.

Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington
Subdistrict 2A

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