Ballot AccessYour Feb. 21 editorial criticizing Mayor Kurt...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 10, 1995

Ballot Access

Your Feb. 21 editorial criticizing Mayor Kurt Schmoke's feeble response to the Housing Authority scandal ended by welcoming City Council President Mary Pat Clarke's primary challenge and asking credible Republican and independent candidates to run.

Unfortunately, Maryland election law places extra burdens on independent candidates that make it very unlikely that any independent candidate will run in a citywide race.

To appear on the ballot in the mayor's race, an independent or third party candidate must collect more than 10,200 valid signatures from registered city voters.

This takes a great deal of campaign time and energy and a small army of volunteers just to get to where major party candidates begin

The 1994 legislative races, for example, had only four independents and one third party candidate appearing on the ballot for the 188 offices elected. Ross Perot needed to collect more than 70,000 signatures to appear on the ballot in 1992.

Senator Paul Pinsky, a Prince George's County Democrat, has introduced Senate Bill 261 to reform this largely closed electoral system. This bill reduced the number of citywide signatures to 1,700 and allows small parties that have collected 10,000 signatures statewide to run candidates without further petitioning.

Gov. Parris Glendening's razor-thin victory made us think about the fairness of our electoral process. I hope that the Senate will respond by passing S.B. 261 to open our elections to a wider diversity of opinion.

Douglas E. McNeil

Baltimore

I= The writer is chairman, Baltimore City Libertarian Party.

On the Waterfront

I don't think I am the only one who has become entirely disgusted with the community boards of Fells Point and Canton.

In the Feb. 7 article concerning the proposal for several restaurants and bars to be built on the now-barren waterfront of these neighborhoods, several board members were quoted as saying that the addition of these businesses would clash with the Canton and Fells Points historic look.

Currently, areas of the waterfront in Canton and Fells Point are an embarrassment to Baltimore. Certain blocks evoke memories Hiroshima, and there is virtually no activity.

Does the notion of new jobs and added revenue really offend these people?

Just because their only contribution to Baltimore is to sit in a stagnant pool of mediocrity doesn't mean they should hold the cards to Baltimore's success.

Let's stop listening to the worthless ranting of people who find pleasure in denouncing anything that doesn't cater to their needs.

Baltimore is in desperate need of more downtown attractions. Many of these people only find satisfaction in opposing change. It's about time we turn our backs on them.

Charles Weinstein

Baltimore

Stunned

I would like to compliment The Sun for conducting an investigation of the pension scheme by the aides of Parris Glendening. It's hard to believe that your paper actually looked critically at an important Democratic official.

I have been thoroughly stunned by The Sun's proper use of investigative reporting and being a watchdog of the entire political process and not just a puppet for the Democratic Party -- as you have been for the past few years. I thought you only went after Republicans and conservative ideas and spiked any examination of Democrats.

Thank you for a true public service. You did a wonderful job of shining a light of truth and letting the chips fall where they will. Such an even-handed and honest approach would do much to alleviate the growing mistrust by the public of the media.

If only you would do it more often.

Carl Holston

Bel Air

Not a 'Jail'

I feel compelled to respond to your story, "Neighbors vow to fight juvenile jail plan," (Feb. 23).

Regrettably, your reporter did not attend the community meeting which was held that same evening at Dunbar High School.

If he did, he would have learned that while many residents expressed concerns about the proposed justice center, much more discussion centered on the types of commitments the community expects from the Department of Juvenile Services if the project is to go forward in their community.

And, while one may never achieve unanimity within any diverse group of community leaders, I hope to earn the respect and trust of the community as a whole through sustained interaction and documented commitment to their goals.

It is important to understand that the communities surrounding the proposed site are suffering from the results of failed commitments from other government agencies in the past.

As the newly appointed secretary of the Department of Juvenile Services, I hope to continue to maintain an open dialogue with these communities, to help allay their fears and convince them of my commitment to delivering real services to them and their families.

The residents have asked me to come back to them with an agreement, which documents the types of opportunities and services the justice center, not "jail," will bring to their communities.

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