ShenanigansEditor: I found the recent City Council...


April 23, 1991


Editor: I found the recent City Council shenanigans quite comical. Particularly amusing was Sheila Dixon's routine with her shoe and the one member who grimly predicted his district would be "virtually destroyed" unless it was represented by a white man. Presumably himself.

I'm consistently amazed at how politicians, even small-time ones, will fight tooth and nail for whatever power they can grab, often to the detriment of the people they supposedly serve.

It appears the worm is about to turn. My guess is it will look just about the same on the other side.

Michael Carlton.


Gay Community

Editor: This is to commend The Sun's article on the gay and lesbian community of Baltimore (April 14). As principal investigator of the SHARE study, one of four sites of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) sponsored by NIH, I have been involved with the gay community since the early 1980s. The MACS was started in 1984 as a national project to uncover the mystery of HIV disease before any knowledge of the causative agent of this epidemic was available.

Over 5,000 gay or bisexual men were enrolled at four sites, Baltimore/Washington, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Chicago, and each participant was scrutinized with extensive interviews and blood work on a semi-annual basis.

Over 1,100 men have joined the study at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and have been followed for seven years. Thirty percent were found to be HIV-infected. Nearly 700 men have continued to contribute directly to HIV research at SHARE for seven years even though they are not infected with the virus. The phenomenal contribution of all the participants has resulted in an international reputation for MACS as one of the most significant scientific programs established in studying HIV infection.

In working closely with the gay community, I have come to honor and respect its ability to unselfishly contribute during a time of emotional and physical hardship.

The new Project Director of SHARE, John Palenicek, is an excellent but common example of the many gay/bisexual men and lesbian women who have worked diligently in this area. These women and men have become, and will continue to be, an integral part of society. They are examples for us all, regardless of sexual orientation. Congratulations, Diane Winston, on fine reporting.

Alfred J. Saah, M.D.


The writer is director of the Infectious Diseases Program, John Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and principal investigator of the SHARE study.

Necessary Program

Editor: Your editorial about gifted and talented students in Howard County points out the ''compelling imperatives'' of keeping programs in place and teachers on the job.

If there are no challenging programs, a truly gifted student may drift through school without ever realizing his or her potential. Wealthy parents can send such a child to expensive private schools; most people cannot. This is discrimination in its worst sense.

We long ago decided to provide small classes and special teachers and equipment for children with handicaps. In a few places there are specialized public schools for the arts or the sciences.

Economizing doesn't mean not spending; it means getting your money's worth through good management. Gifted, talented, well-educated young people are our most valuable resource.

Look at schools as a business: those young people represent the profit. We can't have enough of them, in Howard County or anywhere else. Let's try not to miss any of them.

Esther M. Kendall.

Ellicott City.

98.7 Percent

Editor: In your editorial, ''How Not To Pick Judges,'' (April 12), The Sun derides both the candidate for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, District Court Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp, as well as the selection process for that candidate.

The Sun fails to inform readers that no one on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the same committee which approved Judge Ryskamp's district court appointment, faulted the candidate's competence, or that the American Bar Association gave the judge a ''well-qualified'' rating -- the top rating for appointment to the appeals court.

As for your criticism of ignoring the ''three respected judges'' as candidates offered by Sen. Connie Mack of Florida, I would point out that the senator's office offered the department six candidates, including Judge Ryskamp. In addition, the department considered 12 other candidates.

Finally, as for your finding fault with the Bush-Thornburgh Justice Department, I would point out that Judge Ryskamp is only the first rejection, compared to 76 judicial nominees which the Senate has approved.

That's a 98.7 per cent batting average -- good enough for any ''Hall of Fame.''

Dan Eramian.


L The writer is chief spokesman for the Department of Justice.

Editor: The Baltimore arts community has suffered a great loss this month with the closing of the G.H. Dalsheimer Gallery.

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