Another Lighthizer deal?
From: John R. Leopold
I was pleased to note that the Maryland Republican Party has asked for an ethics investigation into Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer's role in awarding a "no-bid" state contract to a consulting firm owned by the wife of a former aide, Francis J. "Zeke" Zylwitis.
Considering his track record, no one should be surprised by Mr. Lighthizer's blatant cronyism. Mr. Zylwitis is the eighth former Anne Arundel County appointee Mr. Lighthizer has hired, and this May 12 "no-bid" contract is but another example on a long string of questionable Lighthizer actions. To cite but a few:
* Two years after his election as county executive in 1982, and investigation by Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Clark unearthed the story of Mr. Lighthizer's questionable investment in a Brooklyn Park shopping center development with a local developer and political ally, Mr. Ernest J. Litty Jr. Under pressure of public scrutiny, Mr. Lighthizer pulled out of the deal.
* Using taxpayers' funds, Mr. Lighthizer spent thousands of dollars to renovate his office and purchased two car phones for his county car. When asked about personal phone calls made on these phones, Mr. Lighthizer said he did not feel obligated to reimburse the county for these calls.
* Mr. Lighthizer supported a change in county law to lower from 60 to 50 the retirement age at which the County Council could collect their pensions.
* Mr. Lighthizer ordered the publication of a self-laudatory, $120,000 booklet extolling his vision and accomplishments as county executive.
While part of the Lighthizer legacy is a certain measure of improvement in the fiscal management of Anne Arundel County, the continuing, dark side of that legacy is evidenced by cronyism, wanton self-promotion and palpable contempt for the public purse and welfare.
From: Victoria Patterson
In response to the letter written by Barbara Gardner-Hudak [Anne Arundel County Sun, July 22, 1992], I would like to inform you that as a concerned parent of two students at Brock Bridge Elementary School, it is not a small group of parents but a large group of very concerned parents with serious questions related to the investigation currently going on that includes Henry Shubert.
I am a member of the concerned parents group in an active role and the concern is not a personality issue related to Mr. Shubert. Nor are we asking that Mr. Shubert be fired. Those accusations made by Ms. Gardner-Hudak are incorrect.
My concern -- and our group focus -- has been on the transfer of our principal, Mr. James Preston, and Millersville's principal, Mr. Henry Shubert, during the time in which an investigation is pending concerning Millersville Elementary School. I don't feel that any person who is involved in an investigation or disciplinary action should be transferred to another school until the investigation has been completed and proper personnel action has been taken.
The parents of Brock Bridge Elementary are not out to get Mr. Shubert -- we are concerned about our children and our elementary school program. The one question that many parents have is if the alleged incidents at Millersville Elementary were reported in accordance to the school board policy and followed through by the school board.
Parents would also like to know the dates of the reports and to whom it was reported. So far we have not received those answers from the school board. Instead, we are told that that type of information is confidential. As parents and taxpayers, I feel we have a right to know that information when it pertains to our children and our county school system, which is operated by our tax dollars.
Ms. Gardner-Hudak refers to specific incidents related to Mr. Shubert as principal at Millersville Elementary which do not address any of the concerns of the Brock Bridge Elementary School parents. Anyone who has followed the articles in the Baltimore Sun can see that her letter is irrelevant to the issue at hand -- our concerns are not directed specifically at Mr. Shubert but they are directly related to the investigation pending at Millersville Elementary and to the school board's transfer of principals during the pending investigation.
Ms. Gardner-Hudak must remember that she is looking at the whole issue from an employee's perspective and not a concerned parent's perspective.
No parole for murderers
From: Penny Womack
I just read with complete dismay the article about an individual who chose to murder someone and who now claims to be a Christian and does not want to fulfill his life sentence in prison ["Swartz wins possibility of parole," Anne Arundel County Sun, July 12, 1992]. And to top that, a panel of three Circuit Court judges reviewed the life sentence and revised it to 30 years with the possibility of parole.
What is happening in this country? What has happened to justice?