Letters to the Editor - Feb. 12

February 12, 2012

Romney has GOP voters hooked like fish

To the editor:

Now let me get this straight. People are voting for Mitt because he’s the best chance to beat the president in November. Really?

He doesn’t reflect GOP’s views and disagrees on most of their beliefs. It’s on the record what Mitt thought of women’s choice, gay rights, Social Security and real tea party beliefs as recently at 2010. He’s changed his views in 1 1/2 years? I think not; he’s telling you what you want to hear because he realizes this is his last shot. Newt, Rick and Ron all believe what the GOP believes.

But you would rather vote against yourself and your soul in order to beat a man you hate. That seems awful selfish to me. It seems you are worried about winning and not about America. Do you really think that after Mitt is sworn in, he’s going to repeal Obamacare (which was his blueprint), do away with Roe vs. Wade (he knows there is no chance of that) and do away with gay rights (no way because of the Civil Rights Act)?

Now Newt and Rick have said the same thing, but they truly believe in them. Mitt doesn’t. He’s lying and backpedaling and flip-flopping like crazy to get your vote. I’ve got no dogs in this race; you see, I’m a Democrat. Always have been, but I’ve voted for Republicans I felt could better serve America. You’re voting for your heart and hate, and not with your head and common sense.

Mitt’s got you hooked like a fish; and trust me, he’s not going to throw you back. But you go right ahead. Vote for Mitt. Vote against your beliefs; be a hypocrite. You will regret it for the rest of your life.

By the way, how’s Citizens United working out for you?

Rodney A. Guessford

Teacher salaries not to blame for pension fund shortfall

To the editor:

Really, president of the Maryland Senate, Mike Miller? The reason that the state pension fund is underfunded is the uncontrollable increases in teacher salaries? It couldn’t be that most of the counties in Maryland are in competition with counties in neighboring states for the recruitment and retention of the best educators? It couldn’t be that for years the state legislature has been putting less money into the pension fund than recommended by the plan’s actuaries?

Could the impact of the worst recession in more than 80 years have had an impact? The underperformance by the pension fund’s investors, who are hired by the state, is well-documented. However, on the bright side, the fund’s performance in the past year surpassed 20 percent.

Really, Senate President Mike Miller? As a result of the vote by this same state legislature in 2006 to increase pension benefits, they did so without a plan to fund the state’s increased costs. Meanwhile, the teacher and other state employee’s costs have increased from 0 percent to 2 percent to 5 percent to 7 percent. 

To blame increases in teacher’s salaries, that have virtually been nonexistent for the past four years, is a bogus argument.  To shift the blame for the state’s budget deficit onto counties and state employees is a dodge. The state legislature must take personal responsibility for its lack of budget discipline.

Randy Changuris

Cost estimates for proposed rail trail are low

To the editor:

The Herald-Mail and Heather Keels did fine reporting on the proposed rail-trail in South County. There are a couple of things, though, that I’d like to add.

First, the $16 million estimate is certainly a lowball figure. The proponents got the $16 million by multiplying the length of the trail (23 miles) by an estimated cost of $700,000 per mile. More than 10 years ago, rail trails cost more than that to build. Plus, 25 bridges (not 14 or 15) would have to be rebuilt, and that cost cannot yet be estimated because the necessary engineering has not been done. This trail will cost way more than $16 million. I’d double that at least.

Then there’s annual maintenance. It cost $20,000 per mile per year to maintain the rail-trail in Anne Arundel County, according to the state, 23 years ago. Update that for inflation and you could be talking about the county taking on an obligation of about $1 million per year.

There’s lots of other issues, like assuring that people who have to cross the right-of-way to get to their homes and farm fields can continue to do so. The state, which controls the southern 18 miles, has threatened to cut off the access of adjoining property owners.

But for me, the most fanciful part involves the Roxbury prison. The right-of-way goes right through the middle of the prison. I don’t know which is more outlandish, that people would spend lots of money to bike on a trail through a prison, or that the Department of Corrections would let it happen.

Bill Daly

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