Why spend on the looks of government?Brian Sullam...

LETTERS

September 14, 1997

Why spend on the looks of government?

Brian Sullam ("Government deserves good-looking buildings," Aug. 31), says that John G. Gary should not only spend $50,000 to renovate his office in the Arundel Center.

He should "redo the whole building," make it like the Siena city hall. The Arundel Center, "the Hulk" as Mr. Sullam calls it, is not the Siena city hall -- nor should it be.

Public business is important, Mr. Sullam says, and I agree. I was a bureaucrat for 30 years. The Arundel Center is not an architectural gem, but it was built to house bureacrats with important jobs to do. It is very functional. Government is eternal, but do we need massive and expensive stone structures to remind us of that? Taxes do it better. Must we have impressive government buildings to command respect for government, like

cathedrals for religion?

The soaring cathedrals of Europe, spectacular and awe-inspiring, are today mostly museums for tourists. The religion that inspired them is fading. Although the pope draws huge crowds wherever does, the churches stand empty on Sundays. Siena city hall is gorgeous, but most Italians regard government as a burden only.

It is ironic that the second largest federal office building, nearing completion in Washington, is named after President Ronald Reagan, who constantly admonished us that "government is the problem."

Perhaps this will be his biggest legacy: a huge, impressive and very expensive building to constantly remind us of what the problem is.

Tom Gill

North Beach

Election board will keep being cautious

In your Sept. 4 article on the Annapolis Elections Board, you accurately quoted me as saying the board "has consistently interpreted its power narrowly."

That, of course, is not a criticism of the board or its members. As Deborah Povich, executive director of Common Cause, said, "It's good if they err on the side of caution."

Election boards are often asked to exercise their powers in ways that serve the political ends of candidates. The Annapolis Elections Board has consistently refused to do so. To the contrary, the board has acted cautiously, apolitically and in a fashion completely consistent with the City Code.

The members of the Annapolis Elections Board (all of whom are volunteers) have done a wonderful job this year. The voters and the candidates are fortunate to have them.

Paul Garvey Goetzke

Annapolis

The writer is Annapolis' city attorney.

Anti-gunners: When will they ever learn?

I would like to thank Nancy Fenton, executive director of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, for her Aug. 26 letter explaining why the people in Vermont were killed ("Drega couldn't buy same gun here").

It made me $1 richer.

When the news first came out about the killings, I gave my friend 100-to-1 odds that the anti-gunners would find a way to blame the gun and not the man who used it.

The mentality of the anti-gunners never fails to amaze me. Ms. Fenton reasoned that this man could not have shot as many people in Maryland as he did in New Hampshire because the clip he had in the gun in New Hampshire held 30 rounds and in Maryland, it is not legal to have a clip that holds more than 20 rounds. I know the people in Maryland will sleep better knowing that.

Last year, when a nut walked into the school and shot and killed those children in Scotland, I did not hear or read of one person there who blamed the gun. How stupid can those people be? They all blamed the man who did the shooting.

When Congress passed the joke it called a crime bill, Sen. Phil Gramm tried to put in an amendment that would have given a criminal 10 years if he used a handgun in the commission of a crime, 20 years if he fired the gun and life without parole if he shot or killed someone with the gun. The then-Democratic-controlled Congress voted that down and the anti-gunners did not say a word. Their reasoning: Lock up the gun and let the man who used it go free.

A senator who voted down Senator Gramm's amendment gave this as his reason: "If the criminal knows he will get 20 years for firing his gun, he might as well shoot someone because 20 years is a life sentence to them anyhow." This man was re-elected. I shudder to think he will be voting on laws that you and I have to live by.

If you want to get guns off the street, it is not three strikes and you are out. It's if you use a gun, you go to jail and do not pass go.

Bill Williams

Glen Burnie

Fondly remembering Princess Diana

We are all saddened by the sudden death of Princess Diana. The good the princess did will long be remembered.

We all enjoyed reading about her and watching the news about her. Everyone wanted to see where she went, what she wore, what she said. Our hearts and sympathy are with her relatives, expecially her boys.

Our prayers are with you, Diana. At least now you will get the peace and privacy you never got here.

Marge Griffith

Pasadena

Native Americans are due U.S. apology

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