Killer should spend decades behind bars thinking of his 0...

Letters to the Editor

October 20, 1998

Killer should spend decades behind bars thinking of his 0) crime

I am confused about why groups opposing the death penalty are making the Tyrone Gilliam case into a racial issue ("Death row mercy plea may hurt Glendening," Oct. 10). If Gilliam is guilty, it doesn't matter what race he is.

I am offended that this case is being made a political issue with Gov. Parris N. Glendening in the balance. Whether Gilliam should die for his crime was ruled on by the courts. Certainly, few mothers would want their sons put to death for their crimes, just as few mothers would want their children murdered in cold blood.

Who pays for Gilliam's room and board for the rest of his life? He is a young man and would live for many more years.

The victim's life was only worth $3 to Gilliam; how much is Gilliam's life worth?

All this said, I hope Gilliam is pardoned. He needs to think about what he did for a few more decades behind bars. Whatever the outcome, Gilliam will eventually pay for his abominable crime when he meets his maker.

Donna Reals

Abingdon

Too much federal say in school decisions

I do not understand why we should pay tax dollars to the federal government to return to us for our local schools. Why should we send our dollars to Washington politicians and bureaucrats so they can decide how much and to whom they will return some of our money?

This process gives the federal government and politicians more control and more power over our lives, our futures and our money. This process is not about better education and schools. It is about control and getting re-elected.

N. R. Bachur

Towson

SAT scores don't tell story of School for the Arts

A recent story in The Sun stated that city schools were reeling from yet another self-inflicted crisis: Seniors who graduated from city high schools in June had earned the worst SAT marks in the metropolitan area -- an average of 815 out of a possible perfect score of 1600.

Allegedly contributing to this dip were scores from the Baltimore School for the Arts. In fact, seniors at the School for the Arts' 539 on the verbal portion of the SAT and 468 in math yielded a combined score of 1007, which was 192 points above the average for city high schools. This was only seven points lower than the state average and 10 points lower than the national average.

Moreover, 98 percent of June's graduates went on to college -- the highest percentage of college-bound students of any school in the city. They are now at such fine schools as Bard, Oberlin, Hampshire, the New England Conservatory of Music and Juilliard.

The School for the Arts is one of the city's gems: Its students (and teachers) are exceptionally talented, devoted and disciplined, and the school gives them the resources and the encouragement to cultivate their dreams and their craft.

Walking into the school on any given day is an adventure. You feel the gentle thud of dancers' feet, you smell turpentine and oils, you hear cellos, timpani, violas and trombones and you see actors declaiming and proclaiming and singers climbing up and down the scales.

All this has a wonder that can never be fully captured by the reductionist numerology of the SATs, no matter how important they may be for the world beyond high school -- and no matter how well BSA students may do on them year after year, one graduating class after another.

Arthur J. Magida

Baltimore

Sauerbrey the right choice for this environmentalist

"Most voters in Maryland consider protecting the environment a good thing," writes Brian Parker of the Sierra Club in his recent letter to the editor. It's about the only sentence that's indisputable.

I may not be the sort of tree-hugger Mr. Parker has in mind when he thinks of environmentalists. But I've been a Sierra Club member for more than 30 years. I was a founder of the Harford Land Trust, on whose board I still serve.

I served as a trusteee of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for eight years. I operate a family farm that is protected from development by permanent easements. And I'm professionally involved with the Chesapeake Bay as a licensed charter-boat operator and fishing guide. Oh, and I'm a Democrat, too.

Mr. Parker asserts that the re-election of Gov. Parris Glendening is in the interest of Maryland's environment. That's his opinion, and he's entitled to it. My contrary opinion is that the environment -- as distinct from the environmental bureaucracy -- would be far better served by the election of Ellen Sauerbrey as governor of Maryland.

The governor is good at politics. He's mastered "greenspeak." But Ms. Sauerbrey, the former biology teacher, thinks straight and talks the same way. Her common-sense approach probably resonates with a lot of tree-huggers besides this one.

Peter A. Jay

Havre de Grace

The writer is a former columnist for The Sun's Opinion Commentary page.

Perjury directly attacks government, Constitution

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