Vote-counting glitch wasn't the fault of election boardI...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 04, 1999

Vote-counting glitch wasn't the fault of election board

I was at the city election board Tuesday night when the computer file server crashed and disrupted what, up to that point, had been pretty much a flawlessly executed Election Day.

It was and is clear that the vote reporting problems were caused by mechanical failure and not human error.

The responsibility was the computer vendor's; the staff of the election board was blameless.

The Sun's account of the episode needlessly sensationalized the story by including gratuitously nasty and self-serving remarks by the former elections board chief, Gene Raynor ("Computer failure, unhappy return," Nov. 3).

He was not there. He had little, if any, knowledge of what happened.

He has also been in a personal feud with the current election board chief, Barbara Jackson, for years and is not an objective or dispassionate observer.

Lest we forget, the old system, under Mr. Raynor's watch, was fraught with problems and interminable vote-count delays lasting until the early hours of the morning.

There was constant bickering between the Police Department and the election board over who should be responsible for the election-night tallies.

Now The Sun allows him a very unprofessional and uncalled for shot at Ms. Jackson.

This is not an example of fair and even-handed reporting.

Arthur W. Murphy, Baltimore

City's decline will continue unless state provides help

In his column "Schaeferian style is ideal for Mayor O'Malley" (Opinion Commentary, Oct. 31), Barry Rascovar failed to address several important issues about the Baltimore region's future under an O'Malley administration.

Will a resurgent Baltimore prosper as the employment and civic heart of urban Maryland? Or will a slowly foundering Baltimore become a second Detroit -- a once-great metropolis now treated as a giant public housing project -- and pull the whole region down with it?

This is the choice the next mayor, the governor and the General Assembly face.

The city and the state have carried out exemplary (if traditional) revitalization efforts.

Unfortunately, Charles Center, the Inner Harbor, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and hundreds of millions of dollars of state subsidies have slowed, but not reversed, Baltimore's steady erosion as a place to live.

What Baltimore needs is a political breakthrough. And that breakthrough must come from Maryland's governor and legislature.

The policies are not going to be politically painless because poverty and race combine to create the toughest political issues in Baltimore and across America.

But Maryland must summon the political will to restore Baltimore to the proud place it once held among the front rank of American communities.

The renewed health of Baltimore City would provide the best assurance of sustained and vigorous economic growth for the region.

John Liakakos, Glen Arm

Test ban cartoon was vulgar, profane

On Oct. 23, The Sun printed a rather vulgar and profane cartoon on its editorial page, in which a figure representing the U.S. Senate points a missile, appearing as an extended middle finger, toward the world.

Maybe the cartoon is a reflection of a newspaper that persists in supporting a rather flawed and vulgar president.

Dennis Stevens, Linthicum

The Sun's Oct. 23 political cartoon was in bad taste and crude. The cartoonist could have gotten her point across without being vulgar.

Shame on the editor for permitting this cartoon to be published.

E. Sue Lohn, Sparks

Fury of gun debate signifies nothing

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran's call for a ban on handguns has sparked a debate full of rhetoric, but devoid of real solutions.

Mr. Curran has won him praise from his political allies, but it's doubtful that such a ban would pass constitutional muster or enjoy much hope of success in the Maryland legislature, where a strong gun lobby and rural delegations would oppose its passage.

The call to ban arms, however, has created a political firestorm on the right, with the National Rifle Association and its allies protesting that "big brother" is threatening our right to bear arms.

Out of this rhetorical babble has risen a proposal by Del. Jim Ports of Baltimore County to allow citizens to carry concealed weapons.

Imagine going to the grocery store or your child's soccer game thinking that any adult might be carrying a gun. If this is the type of proposal that arises from the current debate, let's end the debate.

The meaningless debate hurts shooting victims, their families and society as a whole -- as the quality of life diminishes because of violence.

In the meantime, the politicians beat their chests, make their proclamations -- and nothing gets done.

Taras A. Vizzi, Baltimore

Effective law enforcement, not guns, brings security

Gregory Kane misfired in his column condemning state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran's proposed handgun ban ("Gun ban would hurt those in danger," Oct. 27).

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