Economy is down, but billionaires want more?

Since Sept. 11, it has been obvious that security concerns would erode city surpluses across the country. "Beefier security swallows up cities' surpluses" (Nov. 28) pointed to local deficits because of the vast amount of overtime work by governmental employees. Evidently, Major League Baseball views its needs right up there with those of local police and fire departments, the National Guard, security, postal workers, and nuclear power plants.

I find it offensive that, during these difficult economic times and in the midst of enormous safety issues, billionaire baseball owners and millionaire players would threaten to eliminate the Twins because Minnesota won't build a new stadium for billionaire Twins owner, Carl Pohlad. Especially after Bud Selig professed to be humbled that the baseball playoffs might take the country's mind off the events of Sept. 11, it would seem that America's sport could get beyond crass self-interest in the midst of our national emergency.

Judith Freund

Hudson, Wis.

Companies: servants not masters

It always surprises me that I can get so upset when I read stories like the "Rise of 'ask your doctor' ads: a public health concern?" (Nov. 30). It's another example of our corporate-dominated society, political system, and value system. I am continually amazed at how powerfully people are influenced by advertising. In my opinion, corporate control stems from a few Supreme Court decisions in the late-19th century that gave corporations the status of "persons."

The prime result is that they became the masters of society instead of servants. I can see, as I look back on my own experiences, that this has been a growing trend for all of my life, and I suspect it will continue for quite some time.

Richard Foy

Redondo Beach, Calif.

Favoring companies with causes

It is heartening to hear reports such as "Americans favor a company with a cause" (Nov. 26). Unfortunately, the pollsters did not quantify the emerging perception that corporate social responsibility means more than simply writing checks. A company can have an admirable charitable front, but behind the facade, what is its global commitment to such issues as the environment, diversity, freedom of association, and developing intellectual capital?

To be able to make well-informed investment, employment, and purchasing decisions, the public must have greater corporate transparency. More than 100 leading global companies are currently disclosing their economic, environmental, and social performance - including charitable contributions - in "sustainability" reports, based on guidelines set forth by the Global Reporting Initiative. But 100 companies is just a start. Consumers, investors, and employees have the ultimate power to demand improved public reporting.

Mark Brownlie

Global Reporting Initiative


Mom is still No. 1

I continue to enjoy the Home Forum page and the wonderful articles that often touch the heart and memory. A particularly meaningful article to me and, no doubt, to many moms and dads, was Susan Gower's "Holding hands, and letting go" (Nov. 1). I, too, learned that lesson some years ago when our sons "let go" to find their unique and special places in the world.

Now, with young wives of their own and very solid family lives, they have come full circle and occasionally return to hold the hand of the first woman in their lives - Mom!

Mary Hodges

Green Springs, Fla.

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