Questions that will haunt Joel Lee's familyThis is in...


March 25, 1997

Questions that will haunt Joel Lee's family

This is in response to U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia's letter (Feb. 21). I understand the limitations of the law and the limited jurisdiction of the U.S. Justice Department. Ms. Battaglia's position is that there was insufficient evidence to show that Davon Neverdon killed my son [Joel Lee, a student at Towson State University] because of his race.

I question the thoroughness of the investigation. Many of my questions about the investigation were not met, i.e. the need to protect grand jury testimony and grand jury evidence. The federal government wouldn't even reveal whether there was a grand jury hearing.

From what little I was told, I must question the decision not to wire Mr. Neverdon's uncle to tape Mr. Neverdon's admitting his hatred of Koreans. . . .

Federal prosecutors also told me that the FBI could not find some of Mr. Neverdon's friends who were with him when my son was killed to question them about Mr. Neverdon's motives. If the state prosecutor's office was able to find them for the state trial, I have to question the diligence of the investigation.

If there had been more pressure from politicians and the community -- as reportedly there has been in Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles -- the federal government would have been able to find these witnesses and been able to prosecute Davon Neverdon for the coldblooded murder of my son. I will never know the answers to these questions; they will haunt me for the rest of my life. I have been denied protection by the state and federal government.

Kenneth Lee

Ellicott City

Milk price jockeying shows real power

Jockeying on the milk price support bill was an excellent example of our legislature at work.

Milk supply is up and demand is down. The most introductory course in economics teaches that this scenario is bad news for producers. A legislator, interested in pleasing a part of his constituency, introduces a bill that would let some bureaucrat micromanage yet another element of the economy. Higher store prices will force demand down even more and consumer and producer both lose.

Regardless of the outcome [the bill was defeated], a few fat-cat lobbyists get their fees. Money is said to be the mother's milk of politics. This minor episode demonstrates where the real power is under our current political climate.

Arthur Downs

Severna Park

Why stop the presses over Clinton's knee?

How ironic: an op-ed piece ("The speed trap," March 19) about how rushed we are, and just below it, another ("The need for speed when something happens to the president") railing against White House public relations machinery for withholding from the press for two hours the news that President Clinton had injured his knee.

So what, Messrs. Germond & Witcover?

What would have changed if the public had been told immediately about the president's accident? For that matter, if the president had died, what difference would it have made if we had been informed several hours after the fact?

Our knowing sooner would not have changed the mechanism for replacing him, would not have changed worldwide reaction, and would not have changed any sense of loss, anger or ebullition which anyone would have felt.

It seems to me the only effect such delay would have is angering the time-pressed press. Can't be scooped. Must produce by sunrise. Have to create a unique angle. Interview the hottest experts.

And, gee -- it would have given them even more fodder, for not only would they have the death-and-government-transition mire to expound on ad nauseam, but also the indignities of not having been informed earlier.

Slow down and smell the roses, guys, before it's your funeral they're breaking their necks to cover.

Stephanie Panos Link


City schools hired unqualified aides

Your March 10 article, ''A call for 'rethinking' in class,'' correctly highlights conditions in the Baltimore schools that undermine teaching and learning.

But your treatment of teacher aides is misleading. All full-time, permanent paraprofessionals must have at least a high school diploma. However, a small and unrepresentative group of aides apparently hired on a temporary basis don't have to have high school diplomas. The Baltimore City public schools hired these aides as ''cheap labor'' to avoid having to pay them benefits.

The Baltimore Teachers Union believes that this is unconscionable. We want every educator in the system to be well qualified and competent.

The school system administration must enforce the high-quality hiring standards that paraprofessionals negotiated years ago in their contract. The administration should not take short cuts that will hurt our students' academic achievement.

The Baltimore Teachers Union has long supported enactment of a state law to certify paraprofessionals so that they, just like teachers, receive appropriate training and meet specific educational requirements.

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