Sun's article fostered unfair attacks on Columbia...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 03, 2000

Sun's article fostered unfair attacks on Columbia official

The Feb. 23 Sun carried the story of Deborah McCarty, president of the Columbia Association, on its the front page. The headline screamed: "Columbia's leader's commitment to job questioned."

The only questions raised in the story were those of Kirk Halpin, a member of the Columbia Council who was speaking on his own behalf, not for the council.

No other person was quoted, nor was there any suggestion that anyone but Mr. Halpin had raised these questions.

On Feb. 24, The Sun's Howard County section carried the other side of this story ("McCarty's defenders speak out"). Buried in this article was the fact that the council voted 7-3 not to conduct the audit Mr. Halpin had requested of certain of Ms. McCarty's expenses.

The article reporting Mr. Halpin's story received far more prominence than that of Ms. McCarty's defense. Surely, having called into question state-wide her commitment to her job, The Sun owed it to Ms. McCarthy to give her defense as prominent a place.

Yet, only residents of Howard County got that response. The rest of Maryland will then remain under the impression that she is under attack in Columbia.

The Sun's coverage of this issue reflects either an intent to smear Ms. McCarty or recklessness with the reputation of those who serve in public positions.

In truth, the attack, carefully planned to coincide with Ms. McCarty's pre-approved and announced absence to care for her sick child, has come from a minority of the council, led by Mr. Halpin.

It should also be noted that Mr. Halpin failed to raise any of his questions with the council until several days after Ms. McCarty began her planned absence.

It is not sporting to attack a woman while she's out of town on leave to care for a sick child. But this unfounded attack on Ms. McCarty has only been kept alive because of The Sun's support.

Cecilia Januszkiewicz

Columbia

The writer is a member of the Columbia Council.

`Prevailing wage' law: a payoff to the unions . . .

In his recent letter, Gov. Parris N. Glendening, tried to defend the indefensible, extending the prevailing wage law to school construction ("Sun's rhetoric and figures misconstrued `prevailing wage' bill," letters, Feb. 23).

Mr. Glendening may have the power to get the bill passed, but the children of Maryland shouldn't suffer to pay his political debt to the unions.

The governor's hardball tactics to get the bill passed belie his statement that it won't cost the taxpayers very much. If the prevailing wage law didn't inflate payroll costs, no one would care.

The whole prevailing wage law should be repealed. It makes no sense for taxpayers to pay more for construction than the private sector pays for identical buildings.

If the state wants to be profligate, we should agree to pay 15 percent more for everything the state buys, rather than just for construction.

This issue comes down to a simple choice: It's between children and the governor's political debt.

Robert H. Kittleman

Annapolis

The writer is minority leader of the House of Delegates, where he represents Howard County.

. . . or a way to open doors for all construction workers?

Contrary to what Robert H. Kittleman and others would have us believe, applying the prevailing wage law to school construction would benefit all Maryland construction workers, not just union workers ("`Prevailing wage' does raise school construction costs," letters Feb. 21).

That law would insure that school contractors hire qualified workers and pay the wages that prevail in the state.

Contractors would then be less likely to bring in out-of-state workers who will work for lower wages, thus undercutting Maryland's labor force and eventually lowering our standard of living.

It also means that the lesser skilled workers would have to be enrolled in apprenticeship training programs, thereby creating more educational opportunities.

Mr. Kittleman's Feb. 21 letter stated that, under "prevailing wage" law, a contractor would have to lay off helpers and have journeymen do the less-skilled work.

But the law would just mean helpers would have to be enrolled in a training program, and paid accordingly.

Stephen Kight Sr.

Woodstock

`Payday loans' rip off the poor

I was appalled and stunned that the state's General Assembly was considering a bill to allow national loan lending chains to gouge and exploit Maryland's poor citizens ("Payday loan chains eyeing Md. Feb. 18 ). It just proves that money talks.

If our legislators would just examine our local version of payday loans, they would realize that this preposterous scam exploits poor and illiterate people.

A "loan shark" in bankers' clothes is still a shark who feeds off the poor.

As a voter and a taxpayer, I feel it's a disgrace that our legislators would even consider such a scam.

John E. Gough

Baltimore

Pair of articles revealed failure to take responsibility

Two articles involving personal responsibility from the Feb. 20 Sun prompted this letter.

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