The Sun should heed the views of the police who work the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 18, 2000

The Sun should heed the views of the police who work the streets

It would appear that The Sun has finally seen the light with regard to former Police Commissioner Thomas E. Frazier.

The editorial "Homicides 1999: What went wrong?" (Jan. 4) highlighted Mr. Frazier's numerous failings, which undoubtedly led to a continuance of Baltimore's frighteningly high homicide rate.

What it failed to mention, however, was that The Sun was Mr. Frazier's principle apologist for the past five years, allowing him to blame everyone from doctors at shock-trauma, to paramedics, to the improved marksmanship of criminals for the city's murder rate.

The Sun ignored repeated warnings from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) regarding Mr. Frazier's lack of a workable plan to reduce street violence

The cops on the street saw through Mr. Frazier's self-promotion from the very beginning. The former commissioner received his first of two "no confidence" from the rank and file in 1995.

Where, it might be asked, was The Sun?

Mayor Martin O'Malley's choice for police commissioner, Ronald L. Daniel, has the FOP's initial support because he has chosen to include it in the decision making process.

I hope The Sun better reports the hard work and dedication of the vast majority of the city's police officers under Commissioner Daniel, and begins to listen to the people who actually do the job.

Stephan G. Fugate, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Baltimore Fire Officers Association.

Ruling on fleeing suspects shows high court's confusion

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling on fleeing suspects proves just how out-of-touch it really is.

How can a police officer, already over-burdened with impossible restraints, determine if a person fleeing in the dark is "nervous and evasive?" ("Justices back police in stops, searches," Jan. 13).

I can see the defense in court asking the officer, "Are you qualified to determine if a person is nervous and evasive?"

And the police officer's astute reply, "That depends on the definition of `nervous and evasive.' "

Charles L. Layton, Easton

State should honor tobacco suit contract

I am amused, yet outraged, by The Sun's column about the tobacco suit contract between Peter G. Angelos and the state of Maryland ("Angelos, Curran should seek common ground," Opinion Commentary, Jan. 9).

Amused because the state, to save political face, is back-peddling on a contract that was made in good faith.

Outraged by the negotiating ineptness of Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Attorney General J. Joseph Curran in entering such a contract at an unbelievable expense to taxpayers.

This is not the first time that Maryland's citizens have been shortchanged by their poor decision-making, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I hope the 2002 elections will center around accountability, trust and good judgment, which have been lacking for so long in Maryland politics.

Richard E. Hug, Baltimore

Until I read Barry Rascovar's column on the tobacco lawsuit fee, I had felt that the only thing more obscene than seeing Peter G. Angelos paid $1 billion for his tobacco lawsuit was that our elected representatives had agreed to pay that amount.

The fact that Mr. Angelos "already is a fabulously rich man" is irrelevant. But the fact that Attorney General J. Joseph Curran "made a horrendous mistake" is not.

Our elected officials, and their appointees, fouled this deal up.

Les Taylor, Baltimore

If the state begins unilaterally modifying contracts because it does not think the level of effort is worth what it promised to pay, regardless of the results, that will set a dangerous precedent.

What will be next?

The state signed a contract. Let it live up to it.

John Lee, Aberdeen

Why exclude gays from marital benefits?

As an out-of-the-closet heterosexual who has been in a church-sanctioned marriage for 56 years, I am pleased that Robert Padgett appears to approve of my relationship ("Homosexual couples shouldn't expect benefits," letters, Jan. 8).

Mr. Padgett also applauds ExxonMobil's decision to end Mobil's policy of providing benefits to gay and lesbian couples.

What I would like to know is, how does denying others the rights and privileges that I enjoy, benefit me?

Am I also "exhibiting deviant behavior" by failing to appreciate the benefits of homophobia?

Frank van Dommelen, Baltimore

According to Robert Padgett's letter, "Marriage is designed to be between one man and woman for the purpose of procreation." He went on to lambast gays and lesbians in a very nasty way.

It has been a long time since marriage was just for procreation. It can be for companionship, for financial reasons or for great love -- all without children.

And, if Mr. Padgett is on such moral high ground, doesn't he know the meaning of tolerance?

Annie P. Wagner, Lutherville

Political exploitation of Cuban child is shameful

U.S. Rep. Dan Burton's recently issued subpoena for Elian Gonzales to appear before Mr. Burton's committee represents political pandering at its worst.

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