Switch on HaitiOne day Cedras is a thug. Two days later...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 28, 1994

Switch on Haiti

One day Cedras is a thug. Two days later, he is honorable.

And you uphold the Clinton administration?

C. C. Gardner

Baltimore

Spreading Blight

These are not the best of times for the Baltimore metropolitan area economy. Job growth in our area continues to lag Maryland's, which in turn lags the nation's.

Baltimore City has been especially hard hit due to a devastating combination of corporate downsizing, the crash of commercial real estate and defense cutbacks. That is why it is especially troubling to watch local jurisdictions prey upon Baltimore City in its moment of weakness.

Baltimore County appears to be especially aggressive. After successfully battling the city for the new Health Care Financing Administration headquarters in 1993, the county followed up by opposing the Moving to Opportunity program sponsored by the federal government.

The county also recently managed to pry Direct Marketing Associates from the city by approving a $6 million industrial development bond. The relocation of the company from Baltimore to Halethorpe will cost the city 250 jobs. Additionally, the company is looking to expand, and expects to have 400 employees by 1996. This is the type of job growth the city desperately needs.

This aspect of Baltimore County's current economic development strategy is unsustainable over the long-term, with dire consequences both for the city and the entire metropolitan area.

For decades, the county has benefited from the city's ability to create opportunities for the poorest members of our community. The continued formation of a middle class citizenry in the metropolitan area depends in large measure upon Baltimore City's vitality. Sapping the city's strength will only slow middle class formation over the long-term, with negative consequences for each of us. Already, the failure to improve the lot of Baltimore's poorest citizens is taking its toll on neighboring jurisdictions.

In 1993, for the first time, the majority of the state's poor lived outside Baltimore City. If the city continues to lose its ability to provide opportunities, poverty will spread, along with crime and other social ills. That leaves Baltimore County and other neighboring jurisdictions with two choices: either help the city solve its problems or share them.

Anirban Basu

Baltimore

Fresh Air

I recently read a clever quote: ''If anyone mentions the good old days, ask them to turn off the air conditioner for one day.'' My response is that I prefer the good old days without air conditioning, when it was safe to sleep with the windows open.

Philip Baron

Baltimore

Low Opinion

In The Sun Sept. 21, Parris Glendening is quoted as saying about Ellen Sauerbrey's support of a school voucher system: "I think it would destroy the public schools. Only the residue of society would end up in the school system."

My first reaction is that if the schools are so bad that everybody but the residue of society would immediately flee them for a $2,000 voucher, maybe they should be destroyed.

His comment speaks volumes to me about Mr. Glendening's low opinion of the school system and the thousands of dedicated teachers, professionals and administrators who labor therein.

John D. Schiavone

Kingsville

It's Guilt That Counts, Not Whether You Did It

With the extensive coverage of the O. J. Simpson case, we have heard much about defense attorneys attempting to have evidence thrown out in criminal cases for a variety of reasons.

Closer to home, the Sept. 21 Sun contained an article "Murder defendant must grow beard for jury." In this article two Maryland defense lawyers argued that evidence -- which to a layman seems to be pretty significant -- should be thrown out because "there's nothing in the warrant to indicate that these kinds of things were part of the investigation."

Fortunately for the people of Maryland, this claim was overridden by the trial judge.

I am not a lawyer nor an expert on the Constitution. But as I recall it, the Constitution granted the accused the right to a fair trial and protection from having to testify against himself -- not immunity from punishment for an act committed against society.

I will admit that during a law course I was required to take as part of a degree program for industrial management, the lawyer who taught the course pointed out to the class that the most important thing he wanted to teach us was that in the American legal system it was of little significance that a person committed a criminal offense. As he saw it, the only important thing was whether or not an attorney could get an acquittal or a conviction. (A top legal attorney for a large company told me the same thing with regard to ethics cases, adding that the decision had to withstand appeals.)

At the national level, we just went through a protracted fight to get a crime bill passed. One side argued that crime prevention was as important as punishment; the other the opposite.

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