Drug dealer didn't deserve Sun articleIt's been quite some...

LETTERS

September 21, 1997

Drug dealer didn't deserve Sun article

It's been quite some time since I felt compelled to respond to an article such as the Sept. 8 feature written by TaNoah Morgan regarding the "downfall" of "Huggy" Brown ("Once-shy boy's fall blamed on drugs").

Frankly, I was incredulous and offended that so much space was devoted to such an undeserving individual. It must have been a slow news day. I was incredulous how, given Mr. Brown's criminal history, he could ever have been referred to as the proverbial good boy gone bad.

Good boys don't end up in a juvenile detention center. Good boys don't go around overpopulating the Earth without accepting responsibility for their progeny. Good boys don't sell drugs. And good boys don't rob banks.

We have here an individual who is a convicted purveyor of human misery, trafficking on a grand scale of a drug that is responsible for untold suffering and death. In fact, our nation is being held hostage by the cocaine trade. Can we hear from "Huggy's" victims so that we can maintain some semblance of parity? I think it only equitable on the part of Ms. Morgan and her editors to afford the same space to the victims of the drug trade, as their numbers are vast.

How about publishing more articles convincing the public that we must approach drug addiction as a public health issue in order to help those who are awash in its despair and destruction? How about publishing articles labeling the countries which import cocaine and heroin to our country, likening their actions to acts of war? Then, perhaps we would get somewhere in our "war" against drugs.

Marylou Holeves

Glen Burnie

Chairman defends city election board

A recent article and editorial reiterated criticisms of the Annapolis Election Board. Before responding to these points, it is important to explain the legal context of the board's work.

A basic premise of the city's election ordinance, modeled on state law, is that politics is an adversarial affair between the two major parties. In recognition of this, both parties have a role in nominating members of the election board. Moreover, both parties are equally represented among election judges at the polls. The idea is that representatives of the respective parties will watch each another.

Although the election board members are presumed to act without partisan consideration, and this has generally been the practice in Annapolis, there is always the potential for a partisan majority to abuse its power. Hence, the power of the board is limited.

Contrary to popular belief, the board does not have broad investigative powers. Except in election disputes, it does not, for example, have subpoena power. Moreover, the primary sanction for violating the election ordinance is conviction of a misdemeanor, which is a matter for the state's attorney and the courts.

It is in this context of limited powers that the specific criticisms can be addressed:

The board failed to disqualify three candidates who did not meet the durational registration requirement of the charter.

The Court of Appeals has explicitly said that election boards do not ordinarily have this power. Moreover, the election ordinance expressly defines the board's power as determining if candidates are presently registered to vote. In these circumstances, I suggested that this was a matter for the courts, which is the way these matters have been resolved for decades. I welcomed the court's decision.

The board failed to require candidates to report the value of donated headquarters space.

Although there are different opinions of the requirements of the law, the board asked candidates to report the donation and they have done so. The board has also asked that they explain how they determined the value of the donation.

The board failed to investigate a charge that an alderman, who was a candidate for mayor, is not a legal resident of the ward he represents.

Even if the board had investigative powers to resolve this issue, a decision would have had no legal consequence. To the extent that legal residence pertains to the qualifications of aldermen and voters, the City Council passes on the qualifications of its members and the county election board determines if individuals are lawfully registered at their legal residence.

Richard E. Israel

Annapolis

The writer is chairman of the Annapolis Board of Supervisors of Elections.

Looking at the records of F-117's and A-10's

I read with interest Will Englund's background article about the F-117A on Sept. 15. It should be noted that in the Persian Gulf War, five A-10's were lost in combat, not zero, as the article stated.

It would also be interesting to see how the General Accounting Office report compared effectiveness of the F-117A and A-10, as the F-117A was bombing targets in Baghdad while the A-10 was shooting tanks on the front line.

Jerry Hayward

Severna Park

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