Patricia Jessamy was correct in Smothers caseI was...


September 15, 1997

Patricia Jessamy was correct in Smothers case

I was relieved that your editorial and Gregory Kane's column (Sept. 10) both supported the decision of State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy not to bring Officer Charles Smothers before a grand jury.

Ms. Jessamy had a choice. She could have done the politically expedient thing: bringing the case to the grand jury. Instead, she chose to apply her best judgment, and take the inevitable heat by making the unpopular decision that what Officer Smothers did was not criminal. No one is happy about the death of Mr. Quarles. And, it may be that Officer Smothers did not take the most prudent course. But he did not murder Mr. Quarles, and it would have been a misuse of the judicial system to allow even the start of a criminal prosecution against him.

Larry N. Koppelman


Let's pay a small price to keep library vibrant

As a lifelong patron of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, I read with great interest the illuminating article by Virginia K. Adams (Opinion/Commentary, Aug. 15) concerning future plans and contemplated changes for the library.

It's no secret that the city's population and tax base are shrinking, with a consequent decline of revenues. Forced to cut expenditures, the city took a few whacks at the library's budget, closing and consolidating some neighborhood branches. Although the writer makes a rational case for the shutdowns on the basis of demographics, the closings nonetheless have inconvenienced hundreds of patrons.

Ms. Adams acknowledges that the library "must fulfill its responsibility to future Baltimoreans and remain fiscally responsible and healthy." I have no idea how much money the city allocates to the Pratt Library, but a strong argument could be made against any move to ever emasculate this community treasure.

If the time comes when the library's financial stability is threatened, it would not be unthinkable, in my opinion, to levy a small annual assessment on its 300,000 cardholders.

Thus the "free" would be removed from its name, but the Pratt Library would be preserved for future generations.

lbert E. Denny


Bentley should have done what Cardin did


Barry Rascovar (Sept. 7, ''It was a risk -- so Cardin declined'') demeans Rep. Ben Cardin for his decision not to challenge Gov. Parris N. Glendening. Had Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley made as intelligent a decision as Ben Cardin and stayed in the House of Representatives in 1994, just think of the powerful position she would be in today.

Walter Boyd


The city that closes libraries

Here in Baltimore, ''The City That Reads,'' we close free libraries and build pay-to-enter football stadiums.

Arthur J. Gutman


Royal family reflections on funeral fantasy

Very often I have felt that cartoonist Mike Lane is on a par with the obnoxious paparazzi. His Sept. 5 cartoon reinforces that opinion.

Grief, like other human emotions, is a private thing. Each of us displays it (or does not display it) in his or her own way. To demand that the royal family of England join in the public display of grief at the death of Princess Diana is ridiculous.

I admired the Princess of Wales very much and applaud her attempt to lead a less rigid life than that of ''the royals.'' However, when one has been schooled his or her entire life to control emotions, it is difficult to change in an instant in order to please the public.

arion Montague

Rodgers Forge

The cartoon of the royal family in your newspaper was in shamefully poor taste.

Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth surely have been mourning in their own private and dignified way and doing the important part in caring for the young princes in their sorrow.

We who are of an age to remember World War II can never forget the contribution of the royal family in upholding the courage and strength of the British nation in times of grief.

The press in those years also did this work in a professional manner, when dignity and courtesy were respected.

Princess Diana's death was a tragedy, as is every death, particularly that of a young parent.

The royal family needs our prayers now as they continue in the difficult task to which they were born.

Anne P. Warner


Without expressing any partiality to either Lady Diana or Prince Charles, I must express my disgust at the distasteful cartoon by Mike Lane and the criticism of the English royal family's reaction to the tragedy of Diana's death.

L This is not an easy time for the royals, as they are called.

What needs to be pointed out to the people who express their grief by shouting, weeping, etc. in public, is that well brought-up people have been taught not to display emotion in public.

These are the people who try to control their tears at funerals and whom you do not see at concerts where there is much screaming and yelling. It appears that the royal family is coping with its ordeal to the best of its ability while observing rules of tradition and correctness. Those who are being critical are showing an appalling lack of sensitivity and a great deal of bad taste.

Self-control does not indicate lack of feeling.

Nan B. Cockey


Pub Date: 9/15/97

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