Why we burned the city budgetI would like to reply to some...

The Forum

June 07, 1991

Why we burned the city budget

I would like to reply to some inaccuracies contained in a piece by Michael Fletcher and Patrick Gilbert June 3 ("Crane operator runs for council").

First, our campaign had no intention of building a "bonfire" in front of City Hall, as reported. Aware of the dangers of burning such a fat and ponderous document as the city budget, we chose instead to burn a mock copy of the budget so as to avoid starting a bonfire.

The purpose of the conference was to draw attention to the fact that while this city spends over $2 billion a year, crime is out of control, the Fire Department has been gutted and the education system in this alleged "City that Reads" is a pathetic joke.

The mayor's feeble excuse for the failure of his administration is lack of money. Lack of money isn't the problem; lack of leadership is.

The purpose of burning a mock copy of the budget in front of City Hall was to illustrate that every year "$2 billion is going up in Schmoke" while we, the working people of this city, have little to show for the taxes we pay or the money that's spent.

Joe Scalia

Baltimore

The writer is a Republican candidate for mayor.

Talking back

In reference to Judith Stiehm's column on political correctness ("The advantages of talking back," Other Voices, May 30)), I would like to offer the following observations:

As Stiehm well knows, the controversy over political correctness hinges around the fact that proponents of "PC" on campus have managed to stifle free speech, not foster it. Contrary to her statement that some (white male) political commentators are "whining" about "debating issues that were previously unmentionable," the reality is that discussion of many topics related to social justice has been vigorously suppressed.

Recently, law student Timothy Maguire wrote an article in a school newspaper dealing with the university's policy of admitting black students with substantially lower test scores than whites. The advocates of PC, declaring him a "racist," attempted to have him expelled from the university for this heresy.

The hysteria reached such a frenzy that two university law professors were slandered as racists simply for providing Maguire with legal counsel. His "crime" was attempting to initiate an open debate on the topic of reverse discrimination.

If our schools truly believe that reverse bias and "race norming" of test scores is a legitimate mechanism for dealing with past discriminatory practices, why are they so terrified of open discussion?

True social justice can only be achieved in an atmosphere of free and unfettered debate.

Ron Weber

Hampstead

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