Emission test was happy experienceWith all the words of...

LETTERS

February 17, 1997

Emission test was happy experience

With all the words of dread about the Vehicle Emission Inspection Program's dynamometer air quality test, I'd like to offer this brief account.

I entered the Annapolis inspection station at 8: 01 a.m. on May 17. I was treated courteously and efficiently, paid my $12, sat in a clean, quiet waiting room while the dynamometer test was performed and left the station at precisely 8: 10 a.m.

I do not believe this is too much to ask of motorists in return for the privilege of driving on Maryland's highways and emitting pollutants into Maryland's air.

William C. Baker

Baltimore

City Hall cheats school children

I could not agree more with Barry Rascovar's column Jan. 26, headlined, ''Selfishness could kill school aid," but the selfishness should be laid on the steps of the Baltimore City government.

Baltimore's children are being cheated, not because of race, but because of the lack of caring by the city government.

Montgomery County spends $7,787 per pupil contrasted with Baltimore's paltry $5,842. When examined in detail, the taxpayers of Montgomery County contribute $6,222 per student or 81 percent of the total. Baltimore City, on the other hand, only budgets $1,811 or 39 percent of the total spent per pupil.

I am appalled that the citizens of Baltimore continue to be satisfied with the mismanagement of their school system. The recently published results of the state scoring test for Baltimore City should have sent people in mass protest to the mayor's office demanding something be done.

Additional money is not the answer if the status quo is maintained.

As a concerned Maryland and Anne Arundel County taxpayer, I am tired of the lack of improvement in the Baltimore City school system no matter how much money is thrown at it.

Walter J. Keeler

Crownsville

Sexual harassment out of place in Navy

Your series of articles on the United States Naval Academy should merit a Pulitzer Prize nomination for such an outstanding job of in-depth journalism.

I am a veteran of World War II, where I worked side by side in the U.S. Navy with WAVES (Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service) and with women in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.

I saw no sexual harassment and only true respect for the excellent jobs that they performed.

Apparently our presently spoiled and undisciplined younger generation has a lot to learn about respect for the rights and privileges of all people on this Earth.

I assume the young men who are so callous, insulting and ignorant in their sexual harassment of women have somehow forgotten mothers, sisters, aunts and other female friends from whom they probably conceal these disgusting feelings.

The answer to this problem is discipline and education, but if it doesn't start at an early age in their homes, it is unfair to place this burden of learning basic decency on our teachers and other instructors.

Walter Boyd

Lutherville

Domestic terrorism winning in Md. courts

The decision of Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr. to expunge Charles Weiner's guilty verdict for battery of his former wife, Robin, was a symbolic betrayal of battered women in Maryland.

His subsequent decision to reverse himself on a technicality and turn the case over to Judge John Grason Turnbull II was puzzling; his final decision to recuse himself in hearing future domestic violence and rape cases was even more baffling.

If Judge Bollinger has become enlightened, and that's why he reversed himself, then he should be able in the future to judge any case without bias or prejudice.

If not, isn't any battered woman, rape victim or other vulnerable adult or child potentially at risk in his court room?

It is crucial, however, that the outcry about Judge Bollinger not create more heat than light. This is yet another manifestation of long-standing, systemic problems underlying the criminal justice system's response to domestic violence.

Every day in courts throughout Maryland, decisions are made to free the Charles Weiners from the social stigma of their abuse. Plea bargains, probation before judgment, alternatives to incarceration and not guilty findings are the norm, not the exception, in domestic violence cases.

Judges, prosecutors, police and court commissioners frequently minimize these crimes and reinforce abusers' beliefs that their battering, torture and even murder of their wives and girlfriends is justifiable.

And it continues to send an unmistakable message: The victimization of battered women is either irrelevant or deserved.

This case has again trained a spotlight on the underbelly of attitudes and beliefs held by many whose duty it is to protect and ensure justice. What they believe, their value system, in the real world, determines their practice.

And this case is yet another wake-up call to our leaders and the people of Maryland. Domestic terrorism is winning, in our homes, our streets, our communities and again in our courts. Battered women are being maimed, tortured and are dying in record numbers.

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