'Mayor's 11 years characterized by broken promises'I was...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

December 05, 1998

'Mayor's 11 years characterized by broken promises'

I was really pleased to read that Kurt Schmoke would not seek another four-year term. Mr. Schmoke's 11 years have been years of failed expectations and broken promises.

As a native of Baltimore, I have been pained to see how Baltimore has foundered in areas that Mr. Schmoke had promised to be a positive influence on -- housing, education and crime. Anyone who says the Schmoke administration is doing its job well must not be taking the same drives I take into communities that seem to have more boarded-up than occupied houses.

The mayor gave up direction of the city's schools to the state. Is that what his intention was when he took the oath in 1987? The school system that I attended from 1960 to 1972 is not the school system that currently exists.

Crime is out of control; drugs have taken over the city and continue to place great stress on a crumbling system. City residents are being run over in the streets by out-of-control police cars. Police are shooting first and asking questions later.

Fingers of blame have to be pointed at City Hall, and Mr. Schmoke is no where to be found.

The only population that seemingly grew under Mr. Schmoke's administration is the rat population, which is threatening to take over even previously affluent areas of Baltimore.

So when I heard the news that Mr. Schmoke is not going to run for a fourth term, I wondered why he ever ran for the first term.

Joseph S. Hall

Baltimore

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With Mayor Schmoke not seeking another term, will Department of Public Works chief George Balog and Housing chief Daniel Hensen resign since their protector from corruption charges will be gone?

Donald Holland

Baltimore

Kirschbaum photo is 'truly a work of art'

Jed Kirschbaum's Dec. 2 photograph of a child's compassion in the face of tragedy is truly a work of art. Bravo!

Ruth T. Boggs

Baltimore The older I get, the more silly things I see people objecting to. For example, last week the Rev. Jesse Jackson disparaged George Washington's presidency because "he owned slaves."

Now, I read that Madeleine Albright, our secretary of state, is joining some Holocaust victims in wanting to punish General Motors and Ford because their subsidiaries in Germany were taken over by the Nazi government and forced to support the German war effort and to use slave labor in some cases.

My wife's uncle, who died last year, was a middle-level manager in the Opel (General Motors) main plant in Russelsheim, near Frankfurt, at the time. I flew on a B-24 that bombed that plant repeatedly.

A few years ago, many years after he retired, we discussed wartime conditions, including the takeover of the plant by the Nazi war machine. He described how the SS (Hitler's elite troops) marched into the plant one afternoon and, at rifle point, informed the management that the plant was being commandeered for the war effort and proceeded to shoot summarily several managers in front of their fellow employees.

Uncle Wilhelm and his fellow managers had no choice but to build cars and trucks for the war effort using the labor the Nazis supplied. It is doubtful either GM or Ford were ever paid, much less profited on anything they built for the Nazis.

To hold the two companies responsible for anything that happened in their plants during World War II is ridiculous.

Chuck Frainie

Woodlawn

It's far-fetched that a jury could acquit Espy

Mike Espy was found not guilty of accepting illegal gratuities despite the fact that he and his girlfriend received $35,000 in gifts from companies he regulated as secretary of Agriculture. Some of the companies were found guilty of giving illegal gratuities and paid fines in the millions for these illegal acts.

Mr. Espy accepted sports tickets, plane trips, luggage and a scholarship for his girlfriend's daughter from food companies that he regulated. But there was no evidence that Mr. Espy had made decisions favorable to the companies because of the gratuities he received.

Federal statutes that prohibit government officials from accepting gifts do not require any quid pro quo.

How is it possible for companies to be found guilty of giving illegal gifts, yet for the acceptance of these gifts not to be illegal?

Espy did not testify, nor did his attorney call any witnesses in his defense. Was jury nullification at work here?

So Bill Clifton's defense that he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky although she may have had sex with him is not so far fetched after all.

Murray Spear

Baltimore

A politically correct look at misadventures in office

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