Unfair CommentThe column of Michael K. Burns that so...


August 01, 1993

Unfair Comment

The column of Michael K. Burns that so prominently appeared in The Sun July 17 captured the essence of the controversy raging over the Baltimore County school system. Rather than a dispassionate discussion of the issues, we were treated to hyperbole, vituperation, derision for those who dare to disagree and a total disregard for the facts.

Could the principals who met to voice their support for the changes Superintendent Stuart Berger has instituted be sincere? Could these educators be trying to show that they support the awakening of the school system from its educational stupor of the past several years?

No, not in Mr. Burns' opinion. He insults them by saying that they were there out of fear and "self preservation and self advancement." How else were they to make their feelings known in the midst of all of this media hype? I personally know several of these principals, and they were most certainly not there out of fear but a concern for the school system.

The school board was supposedly, in Mr. Burns' view, not willing to hear from concerned parents and teachers when they showed up at the school board meeting last month.

From everything I observed of that event and the subsequent meeting the following week, the school board was willing to listen, but the audience was more concerned with disruption than debate. At the session at Loch Raven High School, anyone who spoke for the present administration was shouted down and booed.

Mr. Burns gives a one-sided view of inclusion. He conveniently omits discussing the successful inclusion programs at Sparrows Point Middle, Catonsville High, Dundalk Middle, Stemmers Run Middle and Arbutus Middle. Also overlooked is the fact that the impetus for this program started under the previous administration.

When he talks about Dr. Berger, Mr. Burns degenerates into a petty, almost vicious name-calling diatribe that accomplishes nothing except to add more smoke to obscure the issue. He is equally contemptuous toward anyone who might disagree with his close-minded position. Unfortunately, he is not alone in this behavior.

I will admit that Dr. Berger has not put his best public relations foot forward. However, if we are to assess the value of Dr. Berger's administration fairly, we need a reasoned, rational debate about the changes that Dr. Berger has initiated.

Too much time and effort has been spent railing about Dr. Berger's style rather than his policies and programs.

The debate must include the school board, the teachers association, parents and the media. Because if we do not, the real losers will be the school children of Baltimore County . . .

Joseph Flynn


GOP Intrigues

Once again you have done it.

Barry Rascovar's July 25 column, "Republicans vs. Republicans? Possible," shortchanged Bill Shepard with both consideration and print. You indicate that the 1994 election for governor will be bought for at least $2-$3 million. Of course, only Republicans Helen Bentley and Robert Neall could raise that much money.

Once again, you underestimate both the intelligence and integrity of the people of Maryland. Friends of Bill Shepard invite and encourage both Mrs. Bentley and Mr. Neall into the Republican primary. We consider it the very elementary basis of democracy.

The very first question which both Mrs. Bentley and Mr. Neall might answer is: Where were they in 1990 and what did they do to elect a Republican governor?

Louis H. Kohlman


Unexposed Agenda

The Sun did its readers a major disservice by not appropriately identifying the writer of a recent campaign polemic (Perspective, July 18) suggesting Mayor Kurt Schmoke would carry Montgomery County if he ran for governor.

Although the piece itself is riddled with fantasy, it is the writer's unexposed political agenda that should cause Sun editors some concern.

The writer -- Lanny Davis -- is best known in national political circles as the lawyer who "vetted" Zoe Baird, assuring the Clinton administration that her problems would not be fatal to her nomination as U.S. attorney general.

In Montgomery County circles, he is best known as the campaign manager for Steve Sach's unsuccessful gubernatorial bid and former County Executive Sidney Kramer's unsuccessful re-election effort.

During the Kramer administration, Mr. Davis spent a great deal of time wooing Mayor Schmoke, hoping to forge a statewide

Kramer/Schmoke gubernatorial alliance. That scheme was foiled by Mr. Kramer's defeat.

Undaunted, Mr. Davis has been sighted recently moving about state circles resurrecting the old scheme by simply reversing the positions -- promoting Mr. Kramer as Mayor Schmoke's running mate. The conventional wisdom is that such a ticket would cut into Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg's strong Jewish support in Montgomery County.

No one should object to Mr. Davis' political plotting or alliance . . . That's part of politics.

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