PAC took a cheap shot at candidates over forumThe comments...

LETTERS

July 12, 1998

PAC took a cheap shot at candidates over forum

The comments of Sherman Howell of the African Americans in Howard County Political Action Committee ("Black PAC assails absent Feaga," June 28) regarding the absence of Charlie Feaga, Gail Bates and Allan Kittleman from the PAC-sponsored candidate forum was nothing more than an unjustified cheap shot at these candidates.

First, the invitations to this event, by Mr. Howell's own admission, were not mailed until eight days before the forum.

Mr. Howell's statement that he had "promoted" the event before the June 19 mailing does not excuse his failure to provide the candidates adequate written notice. These individuals have busy public schedules that often require them to schedule events months in advance. To send invitations to an event one week before its scheduled date is trifling.

Second, it should be pointed out that this PAC is not a nonpartisan political action committee, but a PAC run by and for Democrats and does not represent the views of all Howard County African Americans, let alone most mainstream African-American Democrats.

Third, the statement that the candidates' priorities were misplaced when they decided to honor their prior commitment to attend the dedication of a park in memory of a dead child was extremely insensitive and in poor taste. A decision to pay one's respects to the memory of a fallen child does not mean that these individuals are not interested in the issues facing the African-American community.

Boyd K. Rutherford

Columbia

The writer is a member of the Howard County Republican Central Committee and the African American Republican Club in Howard County.

Prosecutor handled judge's case appropriately

This is in response to a letter from my opponent, Timothy J. McCrone, on June 28 ("Failing to try Judge Martin was wrong").

The criminal charges against Judge Larnzell Martin were handled in an appropriate and professional manner. They certainly were not swept under the rug.

Sue Ellen Hantman, an experienced, highly skilled senior prosecutor with my office, was the assigned special prosecutor for this Anne Arundel County matter. Before taking any action on this case, she thoroughly investigated charges of indecent exposure and assault arising from a sting operation where the "victim" was an adult undercover police officer.

Mrs. Hantman accompanied the investigators to the Annapolis Mall to view the location. She also researched case disposition received by other similarly situated defendants. After verifying that Judge Martin, a well-respected Prince George's circuit judge, had no criminal record and had already contacted the Maryland State Bar to arrange for counseling, Mrs. Hantman offered to place the charges on an inactive (stet) docket for 12 months.

This decision, which recognized potential legal problems with the charges, was acceptable to the investigators. The resulting stet (the same disposition received by other defendants caught in the sting operation) requires Judge Martin to be in counseling for at least a year.

Whether the judge will be permitted to stay on the bench is the decision of the Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

This decision, made by a seasoned prosecutor with research and compassion, is a decision I wholeheartedly support. Mrs. Hantman did an excellent job.

My opponent's criticism of the disposition in Judge Martin's case is clearly unjust and uninformed.

Marna McLendon

Ellicott City

The writer is Howard County state's attorney.

Drivers need to remember to use signals

There is a campaign in Howard County to catch "red light runners." That is good because we need more and more penalties as more people are driving carelessly, fostered either by disregard for safety and courtesy or oblivion to the disastrous consequences.

Hence, I see the need to add one more problem to the "danger" list. There is a definite increase in the failure to signal when turning or changing lanes.

On two occasions on the same day recently, I had to hit my brakes to avoid hitting someone. On the beltway, a driver changed lanes and cut in front of me without signaling. In Columbia, a driver made a left turn, and no signal.

The failure to signal for a turn is dangerous. The failure to signal for a lane change, especially on the beltway, is extremely dangerous at such high speeds. It can easily turn into a serious accident, even a fatality. So I hope people read this letter and safety organizations repeatedly emphasize the dangers so the general public will be more alert to what I see as a growing problem.

Leslie Tieperman

Columbia

Return Flanagan to private life

Your article ("Curran could be candidate in 1-man race," June 27) regarding the lack of a candidate to oppose Attorney General J. Joseph Curran's re-election quotes Del. Robert L. Flanagan, a Howard County Republican, as saying, "I think he [Curran] deserves a kick in the rear he has been a very poor attorney general."

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