State ethics measure must eliminate lobbyist `freebies'I...


February 21, 1999

State ethics measure must eliminate lobbyist `freebies'

I suspect that there has rarely been a display of political arrogance to match State Del. John Arnick's efforts to castrate the ethics reform bill currently before the Maryland General Assembly ("Changes proposed in ethics bill," Feb. 17).

The need for a strong ethics reform bill has been obvious for a long time, given some of the scandalous behavior of legislators in recent years. It is outrageous that Del. Arnick is attempting to gut the bill and allow lobbyists to buy fancy dinners for legislators, allow legislators to accept free tickets to athletic events and permit legislators to solicit lobbyists for causes dear to them.

If the state's daily meal allowance is too small, increase the limit rather than take freebies from lobbyists. Why should legislators get free tickets to events at stadiums built by the government? And why should they have to have all these arrangements with lobbyists? Appearances such as these arouse suspicion and undermine respect for law. Rather than engage in efforts to feather their nests, it would be better for our legislators to recall the Bible's injunction that "a gift blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous."

Rabbi Mark G. Loeb, Pikesville

Story shouldn't have made folk hero of rude student

The Sun was guilty of reckless and irresponsible journalism in its front-page article "Student barks, teacher frets" (Feb. 13), which highlighted the student who is harassing a math teacher at Chesapeake High School for keeping him out of the National Honor Society.

The tone and presentation of the information made light of a very serious issue -- teachers being harassed by students. A front-page picture of the student showing a benign-looking boy sitting at a computer provided this very troubled youth with positive re-enforcement as he is depicted as some type of folk hero.

At the end of the article, reporter Devon Spurgeon finally tells the reader that the teacher has been made physically sick by the harassment and is planning to retire at the end of the school year and move out of state because of it.

Rather than highlight this unstable student, you would have better served your readers with an article on the plight of teachers in hostile and often volatile school environments in a society that values neither teachers nor education.

Colleen F. McDowell, Catonsville

After reading "Student barks, teacher frets," it became apparent to me why this troubled student was rejected.

When I applied for membership to the National Honor Society two years ago, I also was not accepted. As a respectable student with leadership experience and a 3.8 grade point average, this rejection came as a complete surprise to me.

Although to some, it may seem an obvious reaction would be to make animal sounds directed at a faculty member and persistently harass her, I took a more appropriate approach to settling the predicament. (My honorable way of handling the situation didn't make the front page of the news, however.)

I know that I should be in the honor society. I make it apparent to others through my actions every day. Maybe Franklin Pierce Wright III should be asking himself if he can say the same thing, in between his barks.

Lauren Kaufman, Baltimore

John Dorsey's critical eye improved area's arts scene

John Dorsey's retirement caught us by surprise. As individuals who live and breathe the visual arts, my colleagues and I at the Maryland Institute, College of Art and throughout the region have been spoiled by the regular commentary of this fine journalist and critic.

During Mr. Dorsey's tenure at The Sun, Baltimore's museums have grown stronger, and the gallery scene more vibrant. I am sure it was no small challenge to keep up with a burgeoning number of artists and ventures, contemporary interpretations of new and traditional media while always treating each artist, curator or institution, renown or unknown, with a critical yet respectful eye. Mr. Dorsey understood well the need for balance in the critic's role.

Then there was John Dorsey the journalist. From the time I arrived at the Maryland Institute 20 years ago, it has been said that a profile written by Mr. Dorsey was an honor. His recent profile of Maren Hassinger, chair of the Rinehart School of Sculpture, is an example of his gentle and insightful work, and we were honored to be the focus of one of his last long profiles.

Certainly there are times when all of us want more or different coverage from The Sun, but none of those concerns should ever overshadow all that Mr. Dorsey has done for us over the years. Through his work, he has generated interest in the arts and artists of this region. He has broadened and educated audiences.

On behalf of the Maryland Institute, our faculty and alumni, I thank him for his tireless efforts and years of commitment.

Fred Lazarus IV, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Institute, College of Art.

Worthington Valley should get fair share

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