Larry Young erred when he played the race cardWhen...

LETTERS

January 17, 1998

Larry Young erred when he played the race card

When Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel was ousted from office, no one complained loudly that this was an anti-Semitic action.

Nor was there criticism in the wake of Vice President Spiro Agnew's departure that certain people were out to get the Greeks.

Ditto for many white politicians nationwide who had one thing in common: They were caught abusing their elective office for personal gain.

Larry Young deserved no special privilege just because he is African-American.

His supporters' loyalty is misguided when the argument of race is brought up and certainly will harm race relations when harmony and tolerance are the goal.

Sun reporters are to be commended for their research, which led to the Young expose as others on the paper before them did in previous cases.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

The saddest part of Larry Young's fall from grace is the manner in which he persisted in falling.

He stated that The Sun was on a witch hunt with himself as the target. Spoken like a person trying to evade the truth while trying to deflect the spotlight onto someone else.

Mr. Young has made some serious mistakes in judgment -- including, apparently, accepting gifts without reporting them and collecting fees for work never done. Whether it was done by accident or by choice, the damage is done.

A man with nothing to hide could have opened up his file cabinet and pulled out the proof of his innocence the first time he was questioned and ended any speculation of wrongdoing. Instead he threw a $50-a-plate event to help with his legal fees and proceeded to stand up with his righteous indignation and play the race card.

As a black woman, I am appalled that anyone, especially a black man, could be that calculating in an attempt to hide their indiscretions.

It is sadder still that an entire community would support a man based more on the color of his skin than the facts. They are no better than people who oppose someone based on the color of their skin. Discrimination goes both ways.

I can understand how the citizens of his district need for Mr. Young to be innocent. While it may be difficult for them to swallow that this man, whom they revere, may be anything but aboveboard, it is time for everyone to take their heads out of the sand and look at the facts of this case with an open mind.

Amy E. Baskerville

Baltimore

The real lesson of the Larry Young issue is best summarized in these words: term limits.

A legislator who is a political institution in his own right is an irresistible temptation to those with business goals requiring state funding or action.

Susan Gillette

Baltimore

As a constituent of Del. Kenneth C. Montague Jr., I am deeply appreciative of the righteous way he led the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics' highly responsible investigation into the ethics allegations confronting Larry Young.

At the same time, I am deeply offended by radio station owner Cathy Hughes' reported attack on Mr. Montague and others on the committee, an obvious effort to divert attention from Mr. Young's wrongdoing.

Her shameful remarks remind me of the smear campaigns waged against O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' accuser, Anita Hill, when they likewise felt they had a higher duty than unquestioning loyalty to fellow African-Americans and refused to keep quiet.

We in the 43rd District who elected Mr. Montague and are honored by his representing us must not permit him to be shunned as Mr. Darden and Ms. Hill were.

Let us all, regardless of our race, unite in affirming our support for him. Let us stand up as he did, and help keep the spotlight where it belongs: on Larry Young.

Peg Ross

Baltimore

John L. Wright's letter in defense of Larry Young was curious and thought- provoking. I thought it a fairly logical argument until I came upon, "We need to increase the compensation of those we send to Annapolis to govern us."

Is Mr. Wright implying that Mr. Young would not have faced the conflict-of-interest charges if he were paid a "proper" salary?

Later, Mr. Wright states, "There are probably a myriad of elected officials who have spots on their records."

Could he be admitting that Mr. Young has "spots" on his record but that these "spots" can be rationalized and expiated because many other elected officials also have "spots"?

And finally he says, "The 21st century is upon us. Let us move into it with 21st century systems, principals and guidelines." Am I to infer from this that ethics are not absolute but situational and temporal?

If so, by all means, drop the case against Mr. Young, and let's get on with the millennium.

Arthur Laupus

Columbia

Documentary showed Baltimore as it is

I'd like to respond to David Zurawik's Jan. 4 piece on the documentary "Firehouse" that aired on the Discovery channel.

His statement "Baltimore is made to look bad so that the firefighters and rescue workers might seem more heroic" sounds like a classic case of killing the messenger because of the message.

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