Sliding DownThe situation in Rwanda is a human...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 03, 1994

Sliding Down

The situation in Rwanda is a human catastrophe, as noted in the July 23 editorial. But I must ask this question:

The tribes of Africa have been fighting each other since the beginning of time. Their present plight is of their own making. Why should the U.S. taxpayer be continually expected to throw money over there to bail them out?

Somalia is a case in point. Your paper said in November, 1992: "Most Americans must instinctively welcome the offer the Bush administration made to send 30,000 troops to insure that food aid gets through to the starving Somalian people."

And what happened? Today the tribes are back to fighting each other, as American lives and millions of dollars have been totally wasted.

After bringing South Africa to its knees by our sanctions, we, the taxpayers, are now spending $900 million to bring it back.

Same situation in Haiti.

Foreign aid is a program run amok. Our so-called leaders are throwing money at every country on the planet, while our standard of living is going down and programs for our own citizens are being cut.

I wonder how many overburdened taxpayers like myself are sick and tired of this uncontrolled largess being thrown all over the world by nameless, faceless, anonymous bureaucrats who are accountable to no one.

The time has come to put a stop to this madness before we become a Third World nation ourselves. The more I read, I am coming to believe we are halfway there.

Bruce Murdock

Timonium

Brown Contract

Having been a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney, I have been able to see both sides of the rehabilitation-punishment debate that occurs every day in the American criminal justice system.

I was appalled, however, to hear that negotiations with Terry T. Brown's partnership were suspended by the City of Baltimore because Mr. Brown did not disclose his 1982 conviction for conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and two handgun charges.

Mayor Schmoke's contention that Mr. Brown failed to disclose his convictions despite a request by the city for him to elaborate the details on his resume is irrelevant to the issue.

Even assuming for a moment that Mr. Brown was correctly convicted, whatever happened to the notion of allowing a convicted man to pay his debt to society and going forward with his life in a positive manner?

It certainly appears to me that Mr. Brown has done much to rehabilitate his life and much more. Even Mayor Schmoke, according to your article, characterized Mr. Brown's plan as "outstanding."

What does the mayor's decision say to those individuals who were caught on the wrong side of the law, and who wish to leave their criminal past behind and become productive members of society?

In fact, the mayor's statements say that an individual

is better off being a criminal, because "respectable" people will never accept you, regardless of what you accomplish later in life.

In the past I have vehemently supported the current city administration. After this incident, however, I question whether it currently represents my interests and the basic interests of the voting public.

Larry Rogers

Baltimore

Amprey's Qualities

To say that Tim Baker's paean to city School Superintendent Walter Amprey (Opinion * Commentary, July 25) over-stepped the bounds of credibility is an understatement.

Dr. Amprey is not the "bold experimenter" portrayed by Mr. Baker, but rather a facile pragmatist enamored with word magic, who is guided by that which is politically expedient.

His "efficacy goals" state that students "can attain 21st century standards of development by learning a second language and calculus and writing a 25-page paper [on what?] and applying ethics and aesthetic values." I defy any educator to figure that one out.

He recently created a position for his wife with the grand Orwellian title of "director of staff development, personnel development, attitudinal reform and employee wellness." So much for pruning the "bloated city school headquarters."

However, my favorite word-magic concoction can be found in a recent Superintendent's Applause Sheet in which he praises staff members for innovative programs.

He honored a staff member for "establishing an on-site construction trade simulator which establishes an actual working environment within the confines of the classroom. The purpose of the simulator is to study the various effects of urban matrix configurations."

If Mr. Baker figures that one out, I'll hail Dr. Amprey as the best educational reformer who ever came down the pike.

Arthur L. Laupus

Columbia

The writer is executive secretary of Teachers for a New Direction.

Give Clunkers A Chance

I wish to express strong disagreement with your July 23 editorial supporting programs that allow oil companies and other industries to obtain emissions credits by purchasing pre-1980 automobiles and crushing them.

Those who advocate such programs falsely characterize all pre-1980 cars as "clunkers" and gross polluters.

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