From: Elizabeth M. Peterson
Thank you for your Aug. 25 editorial referencing the mishandling of the Bo Peep case, "Mishandling of Bo Peep case teaches a painful lesson."
I agree reform is needed in the way investigators handle allegations of child abuse at day-care centers. Let me add the media also needs to exercise restraint in how the allegations are reported.
I believe in the Bo Peep case there was a direct relationship between how the allegations were reported and the hysteria which gripped the community for over two years. This hysteria resulted from the "in-depth" reporting of all the parents' allegations and testimony of the therapists. The parents were able to hide behind a curtain of confidentiality (to this day, do we really know who they are?). The Cassillys and the Bo Peep teachers never had a fair chance to adequately refute the allegations. Once the media had reported the allegations, the Bo Peep case took on a life of its own.
The power players in this story used Bo Peep for their own purposes. The state bureaucrats inthe Departments of Social Services and Health and Mental Hygiene used Bo Peep as an opportunity to "educate" the public about child abuse, and I am sure there were individuals trying to further their careers. That was certainly the case with the attorney general, Joe Curran.Can we ever forget his re-election television ads showing how he wasprotecting our children from those child abusers?
Of course in every story, there are the real bad guys. In the case of Bo Peep, the guys wearing black were the lawyers. They and they alone profited fromthe wave of hysteria which the media almost on its own created.
It is time now to get on with our lives. My children and I have wonderful memories of Bo Peep. They know nothing happened. Whenever we see a Bo Peep teacher or Debbie and Pat Cassilly, it is always with a smile, a happy greeting and a big hug. I applaud the courage and humanity of the beleaguered Bo Peepers. The Bel Air community should do the same.
DISTRICT PLAN ATTACKED
From: Mike Davall
Harford County Republican
Once again the leadership of the Democratic Party in the state of Maryland has shown its complete disregard for the often-expressed wishes of the people. Their plan for the redistricting of congressional districts is adisgrace. Few of the 24 political entities in the state (23 countiesplus Baltimore City), are happy with it, but none are raped more than Harford and Baltimore counties.
If this plan is adopted, Baltimore County would be split among five congressional districts. Harford County would continue to be split between two districts. The southeastern half will remain in the 1st Congressional District. Unfortunately, approximately 75,000 citizens in the northern and western parts ofthe county will become the "eastern anchor of the Mason-Dixon District" as part of the 6th Congressional District. This proposed districtwill extend 150 plus miles from the Susquehanna River to the Pennsylvania border in western Garrett County. Harford County will be split between the two congressional districts with the largest total area east of the Mississippi River.
The citizens of Harford County should be outraged at this blatant abuse of power by Maryland's political power troika -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and Delegate R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. Although the governor states that he does not care for the proposed plan, it was developed byhis commission and I cannot believe that he was not fully aware of the plan prior to its presentation to the public. (In fact, the recently retired and highly regarded political columnist for The Baltimore Sun, Peter Kumpa, wrote last December describing the plan that would be presented by the Democrats. He was 99 percent correct.)
We do not have to accept the plan that the governor's commission has presented. There are several alternative plans being developed, one of whichhas the full and open support of five of the eight members of the Maryland congressional delegation. Two others tacitly support this plan. Only Tom McMillen, who would have to run against Wayne Gilchrest, does not support it.
I urge each Harford countian to call or write his/her delegates to express concern over the future in Harford County. We should all remember that the welfare of our county is closely tied to the budget of Aberdeen Proving Ground. If we lose the senior Republican and politically powerful representation of Helen Bentley tothe more junior Democrat, Beverly Byron, whose focus is on Western Maryland, we may be jeopardizing the economic future of the entire county. APG budget cuts will hurt all of Harford County regardless of political affiliation.
Rape is not inevitable. However, unless we fight together, Harford County will be politically raped for the next 10 years.
ANOTHER PLAN OPPONENT
From: Glenn A. Brown