Is Hall too biased as columnist?Personally, I feel that a...

the Forum

May 19, 1994

Is Hall too biased as columnist?

Personally, I feel that a journalist should be without bias, partiality or prejudice, except whenever he or she is opinionating in an editorial capacity.

Wiley A. Hall, an Evening Sun columnist, does not, by any means, adhere to this paradigm.

And his constant, biased opinions seldom -- if ever -- parallel the mainstream thinking or are of an objective nature.

The most perfect example of this is Mr. Hall's May 3 column, "McLean case is chance to practice compassion."

Mr. Hall informs us of Baltimore City Comptroller Jacqueline F. McLean's emotional condition, her publicized suicide attempts and her alleged criminal activity, while in a position of public trust, have negatively affected her relatives and supporters.

Mr. Hall then attempts to rationalize the alleged crimes committed by Mrs. McLean by stating that she did what she is accused of having done because of an economic recession, which placed the comptroller in a position of personal financial difficulties.

When her alleged wrongdoings were uncovered, she became deeply depressed and suicidal.

Now that her emotional condition has deteriorated, we should be merciful and compassionate and forgive Mrs. McLean, lest her emotional condition deteriorate even further.

And we should also be all-forgiving since the comptroller's family, friends and supporters are "suffering."

Shakespeare penned the lines, "The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the rain from heaven upon the place beneath. . ."

Another hand -- anonymous to me -- wrote, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

Mr. Hall should realize that compassion is a double-sided sword.

He asks us to be compassionate toward Mrs. McLean, but he championed the cause of Rodney King in the latter's vindictive law suit against the Los Angeles Police Department.

Compassion is a subjective emotion -- but it has no race, color or creed.

Louis P. Boeri

Baltimore

Too many fish

Determining school class size is like assessing beauty; it's in the eye of the beholder.

To those who, in a figurative sense, stand outside the fishbowl, class size is not one of the major factors in educational success.

However, to the inhabitants of the fishbowl, either the fish need to be moved to a larger tank, or some of the fish need to be placed in another school.

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

Church and state

Shannon Avery, co-chairman of the Baltimore Justice Campaign, was quoted as saying the following in a May 10 Evening Sun article about the defeat of the city domestic partnership bill: "It is disappointing when decisions are made at City Hall based on the religious beliefs of a few, because this was the kind of bill that solves real problems for real families and hurts absolutely no one."

Ms. Avery couldn't have said it better. There was no reason to oppose this bill other than the fact that it ran contrary to the religious sensibilities of some people.

City Council members who voted against the bill chose to ignore the clear mandate of our country's Constitution, which says church and state must be separate.

Our founding fathers knew what they were doing. Religious men themselves, they cherished religious freedom and had the wisdom to know that such freedom cannot exist if laws are based on the beliefs of a few.

If alive today, they would have been appalled to see the Baltimore City Council -- which supported the domestic partnership bill when it was first introduced -- bow to pressure from church groups that opposed it solely on religious grounds.

Our founders would have been particularly disappointed in council members Melvin Stukes and Sheila Dixon, who actually sponsored the bill and then voted against it. So are we.

Ronald Hube

Fred Elburn

Baltimore

Federal holidays

On May 12, you published a letter from Dennis Pederson voicing disapproval of federal workers being given a holiday in honor of former President Richard M. Nixon.

Mr. Pederson grumbled that he was "not alone in feeling that government employees get too many days off in the first place," and that he was sure that "the average government worker spent the day enjoying himself."

I am a federal employee. The number of federal holidays annually is modest, and most of these days off are also granted to employees in state government, banks, schools and employees in the private sector.

During a "normal" winter, the federal government rarely shuts down; most of the time, employees are offered the option of using their vacation days (so-called "liberal leave policy") if they need to stay home with elderly relatives or children whose activities have been canceled by inclement weather.

What is wrong with federal employees spending holidays enjoying themselves with friends and family? Because of our commitment to public service, we are cognizant of why we are given each of these holidays and are encouraged by our agencies to attend ceremonies commemorating Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Day, Veterans' Day and other holidays -- on our own time.

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