IntegrityI have been reading with interest the many...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 24, 1993

Integrity

I have been reading with interest the many articles concerning Comptroller Jacqueline McLean's sordid dealings.

Isn't this the same person who abolished the position of former Assistant Comptroller Erwin Burtnick?

For over a quarter of a century, he was the epitome of integrity in city government. Before being promoted to assistant comptroller, he was a highly recognized and respected investigative auditor who relentlessly ferreted out fraud, theft and corruption.

Perhaps it is now even more apparent why Mrs. McLean didn't want him in her office.

Adrian W. Osnowitz

Baltimore

No More Anointing

Hold on a minute!

Many of us "little guys" registered as Maryland Republicans shudder every time our party leaders anoint for us some statewide party candidate that The Sun promptly endorses.

Without consideration of the fact that there are already two Republican candidates filed against incumbent Senator Paul Sarbanes, these pseudo-kingmakers have already directed that Bill Brock (who has not even filed yet) should represent Marylanders (of both parties) as Mr. Sarbanes successor.

Although he lives in Annapolis, Mr. Brock is a dyed-in-the-wool Tennessean who, as an incumbent senator from that state, lost his seat to Jim Sasser in what should have been a shoo-in re-election.

Mr. Brock has been in and out of federal office and appointed positions since the 1960s. He personifies the image of the "good ole boy" style perpetual politician entrenched in the ways and means of insider dealings.

What has he done -- no, rather, what can he do -- for Maryland?

Maybe the party and The Sun should let the field of candidates develop and present their public appeals. Maybe they shouldn't be so quick to proffer an endorsement almost a year before the general election.

As noted, there are already two qualified candidates filed. Certainly, as demonstrated in New York City and New Jersey recently, the electorate still demands change.

Could it not be that a new person -- a Ruthann Aron or a Ron Franks -- can put forth the fresh ideas and approaches that the public demands from its elected representatives?

The Republicans clearly don't need a Sarbanes clone as their 1994 candidate.

It seems clear to me that this a decision for the voters to decide without undue influence from the "kingmakers" and the press.

F. Alden Murray, Jr.

Annapolis

Word Censors

Susan's Reimer's Dec. 7 column, "Moms and media speak out against offensive language," discusses the Los Angeles Times guidance to its employees to refrain from using certain politically incorrect words and phrases.

Although I commend Ms. Reimer for instilling in her children a moral philosophy that treats everyone with dignity and respect, I do not share her apparent enthusiasm over what the Times has done.

It is obvious that the Times' list of taboo words and phrases is not aimed at every group.

Although the obvious omission of certain "politically incorrect" groups is disturbing enough, the mere fact that our free press is now being manipulated by special interest groups to such a great degree is even more frightening.

With that in mind, let me offer some food for thought: Can a society that bans words be that far removed from burning books?

Perhaps the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas anticipated such possibilities when he warned, "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions."

He also stated, "A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to a dictatorship of the right or the left."

Dave Dietrich

Crofton

A User's Library

Paul R. Schlitz, in his Dec. 4 letter, spoke of the Baltimore County Public Library's "terribly short-sighted practice" of discarding books, citing libraries' role as "depositories of written knowledge." His point of view is not unusual and merits an explanatory reply.

All public libraries discard books: A long article in the same issue of The Sun as Mr. Schlitz's letter describes the Enoch Pratt Free Library's sale of 40,000 books. And what better reason to discard books than that they have "lost public favor."

The Baltimore County Public Library does not ignore the "valued books of the decades," because these books are currently used daily because they are valued. Dickens wrote over a century ago, but we still have hundreds of copies in our collection. Incidentally, his books were deemed "trash" at the time!

The Baltimore County Public Library buys 10,000 titles a year (out of more than 50,000 published), and less than 150, or less than 2 percent, ever make the best-seller list.

Yes, we buy copies when people want to read them and discard them when they have "lost favor," but because of their heavy use, they are the most cost-effective purchase we make.

We don't even try to keep up with demand on these titles; try to get a best-seller at the library within a few months of its publication. And we don't take reserves on best-sellers.

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