Bad IdeaFrightening resolutions have been introduced by...


March 17, 1995

Bad Idea

Frightening resolutions have been introduced by Maryland State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and by House Speaker Casper Taylor.

These complimentary resolutions are calling for a "Conference of States," which on the surface may seem simple and harmless.

However, if you look carefully into this matter, you'll discover that a meeting of the states fully sanctioned by the state legislatures has the power to turn such a conference into a Constitutional Convention by resolution, and therefore would have the ability to suspend our present U. S. Constitution.

The resolutions (H.J.R. 10 and S.J.R. 6) state: "For the purpose of directing that the State of Maryland participate in a Conference of the States for the purpose of restoring balance in the federal system."

Virginia and Utah have already passed this dangerous resolution, but as we citizens must understand the Conference of the States is not necessary.

Our U. S. Constitution already contains language in the 10th Amendment which states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Del. Martha Klima has introduced a resolution this session (H.J.R. 13) that would strengthen our U.S. Constitution's 10th Amendment.

This resolution, which I fully support, restates the existing constitutional language that was composed by our founding fathers in order to restore the original strength and intent of the 10th Amendment.

It is commonly known as the "Tenth Amendment Resolution." Fortunately, it has passed in Colorado, Hawaii, Missouri, California, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and we should all pray that our legislators will support it here in Maryland.

I would also like to add that Senator Miller's dangerous push for a Conference of the States may appear to be a Democratic Party concept, but it is actually a bipartisan effort headed by Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah.

. Dee Merriken


Parole Process

I am writing in reference to your Feb. 15 article, "As inmates plead for freedom, victims watch."

The law passed by the General Assembly in 1994 permits a victim's family or the victim to attend the parole hearing of the attacker. This law, however, does not do enough.

In a few cases, the victims were allowed to sit in an adjoining room, and their only way of hearing the proceedings was through faulty intercoms and walkie-talkies. They could not otherwise participate.

Even though it may be seen as an "adversarial proceeding" to allow victims or their representatives in the hearing, it is important for the decision-maker to hear what has happened to the victim or the victim's family since the crime.

For instance, a prisoner who is charged with shooting his wife may be paroled because of old age or because he has served a substantial part of his term.

Without the testimony of the victim, the parole board may never know that the victim is still being threatened by the prisoner, even while the attacker has been incarcerated.

Although prisoners should not be tried again for their crime, it is important for the parole board to hear any information about contact between the prisoner and the victim since the crime. Such testimony could save the victim from future anguish or harm.

For this and other reasons, victims should be allowed to actively participate in all phases of the parole process.

Sarah Hess


Not Enough

Lanvale Street, just north of Penn Station, has 10-hour parking meters (25 cents per hour) between Maryland Avenue and Charles Street. They are designed for commuters on the MARC train -- primarily commuters to Washington, D.C.

Until a few months ago, Lanvale Street between Charles and St. Paul streets also had 10-hour meters, but they were switched to one-hour maximum, and, not surprisingly, are now little used, as this is a residential neighborhood where few go to shop. But that's another matter.

The problem is that 10 hours is not sufficient to take the train to Washington, put in a full day's work and return to Baltimore; most commuters need at least 11 or 12 hours.

The remaining 10-hour meters run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but many commuters arrive at a meter before 8 a.m. and deposit their 10 quarters whenever they arrive, even though their time will expire before 6 p.m.

So what does the city do? It regularly tickets these cars between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., after their owners have paid for 10 hours' parking.

Is that really necessary? Is it really, in the long run, an efficient way for the city to raise money? Or might it be just one more reason for working people to move to the suburbs?

Henry Cohen


Foot in Mouth

Thank you for the Feb. 21 "Schmoke: Foot in Mouth" editorial. Your statements about the "it's federal funds, not city or state funds, so why worry" attitude are absolutely on target. Do the pols think that federal money grows on trees? . . .

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