Ethics board meeting mischaracterizedI was astounded to...

LETTERS

February 14, 1997

Ethics board meeting mischaracterized

I was astounded to read the article which appeared in The Sun Feb. 12 ("Ethics question put on agenda"). I feel that my remarks concerning this issue were mischaracterized by reporter Ronnie Greene. The tone of the article suggested that the Ethics Commission was reviewing the situation regarding MBNA's hoped-for relocation to Baltimore County as though a complaint or a formal inquiry was under way.

I know that Mr. Greene was aware that the meeting he referred to was not called for the purpose of reviewing the MBNA situation. The meeting referred to in The Sun article was &L scheduled for the main purpose of reviewing another totally unrelated matter.

There was no formal inquiry made to the commission relating to the MBNA matter and I am certain that Mr. Greene understood that fact. It is the commission's practice when we meet to attend to our normal business and to any other matters which might have arisen since the prior meeting.

I had been receiving many phone calls from Mr. Greene over the last several weeks. In fact, he called me at my office and/or home at least four times Feb. 12 and he also called since the article was written. The tone of his conversation was to suggest that there was some wrongdoing on [County Executive C.A. Dutch] Ruppersberger's part.

As the article reported, he was advised that I was unaware of any problems with the relationship between MBNA and the county executive. The matter was placed on the agenda for the purpose of informal discussion, which is routine in such circumstances. Indeed, but for the repeated phone calls from Mr. Greene the matter would not have been on the agenda at all.

I feel personally that but for Mr. Greene's effort to create a story there would have been no story to report.

Joseph S. Matricciani

Lutherville

The writer is executive director of the Baltimore County Ethics Commission.

Higher tobacco tax sends right message

The Feb. 5 article, ''73% in survey favor higher tobacco tax,'' caught my eye. I agree strongly with the idea of higher tobacco taxes and am pleased to see so many others agree as well. VTC Maybe, with a higher tax, those who smoke will wise up and realize it's too expensive to keep such a disgusting habit.

Gina DeNardo

Baltimore

Visionary Art Museum is doing just fine

I am responding to Holly Selby's Jan. 26 article in The Sun in words inspired by Mark Twain: "The news of our death has been greatly exaggerated."

The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) remains debt-free. In its first year it earned more than twice the national average for museums in percentage of earned operating income. Our January attendance figures are up 29 percent over last year.

We train and hire handicapped and formerly homeless people who perform their jobs with excellence.

Over $1 million of the monies AVAM has raised has come from England. We are working hard to raise even more from Europe to infuse new cultural dollars into Baltimore. AVAM's programs and architecture have met with an unprecedented volume of international praise, yet we have showcased only Maryland design talent.

CNN called AVAM ''one of the most fantastic new museums anywhere in America.'' As a robust institutional toddler, just 14 months old, our directors, staff, artists, and volunteers are thankful for it all and we continue to believe in Baltimore with all our hearts.

#Rebecca Alban Hoffberger

Baltimore

The writer is president and founder of the American Visionary Art Museum.

Slot machines at tracks urged

There has been a lot controversy over slot machines in Maryland, specifically slot machines at racetracks. Each side has touted overwhelming public opinion is on its side.

The Schaefer Center for Public Policy at the University of Baltimore recently concluded its Maryland Policy Choices 1997 survey which sought to gather public sentiment on issues varying from drug testing to education and gaming. The survey concluded that 61 percent of Maryland citizens approve of slot machines at Maryland tracks. It also concluded that 63 percent of those surveyed would approve of each Maryland county deciding the gaming issue on its own.

If public opinion carries any weight for Maryland legislators, then the 2-to-1 positive responses on these issues should influence how our representative government responds in Annapolis this session.

Gov. Parris Glendening didn't receive anywhere near this level of support in his election. Maybe he should recall that his job is part of a representative government and not a benevolent dictatorship.

red Metschulat

Baltimore

Mixing women in the military causes trouble

Regarding your series on women at the Naval Academy, has it occurred to anyone that the female harassment problems of the last 20 years will continue regardless of the efforts of any administration? Likewise, the problems the Army is having will continue unabated.

The closer you have women mixed with men in training and in service, the greater the potential for sexual harassment, both ways.

The current "problems" are as predictable as hurricanes in September, yet no one will suggest the obvious solution because of the ravings of organizations such as the National Organization for Women. That solution, simply stated, is to separate the sexes. Some sort of dual track system could be worked out so that a discriminatory atmosphere is avoided. Otherwise, we can expect sexual harassment/assault incidents in the military ad infinitum.

C. H. Eley

Annapolis

Importance of Simpson verdict

I find it pretty ironic that the Feb. 6 editorial that said, ''The Simpson verdict carried less importance for the nation than the policies and plans set forth by a newly re-elected president,'' came from the same newspaper that gave the O.J. Simpson civil suit verdict a much bigger headline and more prominent position on the front page than it gave the State of the Union address.

Carleen Treppe

Baltimore

Pub Date: 2/14/97

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