Evaluate Sauerbrey on her voting record, not on moderate...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 02, 1998

Evaluate Sauerbrey on her voting record, not on moderate 0) mate

I have to take issue with Barry Rascovar's column in The Sun ("With Bennett, Sauerbrey broadens her base and looks good doing it," June 21).

Just because Ellen Sauerbrey, an extremist gubernatorial candidate whose legislative record and public comments are far outside Maryland's mainstream, selects a moderate running mate for political expediency does not mean she has mellowed, as Mr. Rascovar suggests.

No, Richard Bennett is nothing more than a political stalking horse for the "real" Ellen Sauerbrey and the far-right interests that form the backbone and muscle of her political base. If the Sauerbrey-Bennett ticket won the November election, the State House would be the domain of Ms. Sauerbrey and her ultra-conservative cronies, and Mr. Bennett would find himself suffering in silence for four years.

Therefore, I would ask the media to avoid falling for the "new Ellen" line spun by her consultants and focus instead on her record. Focus on the candidate who would violate a woman's right to choose and opposed Gov. Parris N. Glendening's responsible efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay and our public health from the effects of toxic Pfiesteria.

Focus upon the woman who called children's health insurance an "entitlement" and referred to our public schools as "holding pens." Mrs. Sauerbrey, not Mr. Bennett, would be in charge of the executive branch of government if elected, and all Marylanders must take a moment to examine for themselves what that would mean.

Noel Levy

Owings Mills

Crowding, early releases show need for new prisons

Gov. Parris N. Glendening fancies that his prison policies assure the detention of violent and otherwise dangerous offenders. As a curator of new inmates for the Maryland Division of Correction (DOC), I know this is not true.

Through boot camp, which is now mandatory for all eligible men, and other forms of fast-track parole, many men with violations of serious violence have been identified for early release at intake and pushed through the system as fast as possible. This is not because they are not dangerous; it is because our prisons are desperately overcrowded, and we don't have all the prison beds we need.

Take the case of Jimmie Thompson, a former correctional officer at the Baltimore City Detention Center ("Detention Center guard arrested on drug charges," Aug. 1, 1996). Thompson offered himself as a one-man illegal commissary for BCDC inmates. Among the commodities he smuggled into the jail and sold to inmates was cocaine.

Some would say that the sale of cocaine is "nonviolent," but it shouldn't be difficult to imagine the results of incarcerated men high on cocaine and having more of it to fight over. It feeds the public's cynicism of our courts that Thompson was allowed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of three years (of a 20-year maximum).

DOC rules sent Thompson to boot camp, which is six months and out. A DOC intervention reversed the assignment to boot camp and sent him to a minimum-security facility on the Eastern Shore. But he remained eligible for fast-track parole, was accepted, and in February went home on parole, after serving a little more than nine months of his sentence.

I am privileged to work with hundreds of correctional professionals who are devoted to the public safety. But we are obliged to implement programs and policies that subordinate the detention of dangerous offenders to the refusal to build more prisons.

Hal Riedl

Baltimore

Gilchrest, Ehrlich true to principles in voting

U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest is not the only Republican who has a problem with the attitude of the leadership of the House of Representatives reported in David Folkenflik's article ("Ehrlich, Gilchrest lead debate on dissent," June 27).

They are called representatives, and the body is referred to as "the people's house" for a reason: They are supposed to represent the interests of people in their districts.

To insist, for example, that Mr. Gilchrest and fellow U.S. Reps. Constance A. Morella, John E. Porter, Michael N. Castle, Sherwood Boehlert or like-minded legislators vote unswervingly for subsidies the leadership wants for Western ranching, mining and logging industries at the expense of conservation is to ask them to betray principles on which they were elected. That is ludicrous.

If the leaders want solidarity, perhaps they could try the novel approach of advocating things on which all Republicans should agree -- such as ending corporate welfare as we know it, particularly as we transform welfare for urban Americans into jobs and dignity, without the influence of lobbyists.

Anthony Cobb

Baltimore

Wrong tag for Kaufman, who is Marxist, not liberal

Christiaan Blake thinks WEAA needs ideological, not racial, diversity ("Airing radio debate: Does Morgan's WEAA need racial or ideological diversity?" June 27).

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