No `dirty tricks' decided race for Circuit Court judge...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 25, 2000

No `dirty tricks' decided race for Circuit Court judge

The Sun's allegation that "dirty tricks" played a role in Judge Alexander Wright Jr.'s loss in the recent Baltimore County judicial election is an insult to the more than 500 volunteers whose efforts were instrumental in securing my victory ("An ugly process," editorial, March 9).

Contrary to the editorial's insinuation, not one of them was paid one cent for work on election day.

I was honored that state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV endorsed Judge Wright and me and that his organization produced a sample ballot for us. There was nothing "bogus" or "phony" about that ballot.

The Sun should not need to be reminded that the First Amendment gives Mr. Mitchell and all other Americans the same right to endorse and promote candidates for elective office that The Sun regularly exercises.

Troubling also was the baseless claim that the Mitchell ballot was distributed only "in predominately black precincts."

As Judge Wright knows from his visits on election day to polls in Reisterstown, Catonsville and other predominately white precincts, the Mitchell ballot was distributed at least as widely to white voters as to black voters.

Indeed, about twice as many white volunteers handed it out as black volunteers.

The unfounded claim of dirty tricks is the latest argument in The Sun's opposition to judicial elections.

The election of Circuit Court judges has been part of our heritage in Maryland since 1851. And, particularly in view of The Sun's recent editorial criticism of the judiciary, the continued participation of the voters in the selection of judges is vital.

Robert N. Dugan

Sparks

The writer won nomination in the March 7 primary election for Circuit Court judges.

Closing the private schools would help the public ones

The recent letter "Threat to close could win aid for state's private schools" (March 18), asked families of Catholic school students to threaten to move their children to the public schools to force state aid.

I challenge the families of children in all private schools to do the same -- as a promise, not a threat.

Moving children from families who value education from private to public schools would improve public schools overnight, before one additional dollar is spent or one extra teacher is hired.

Those children would benefit too, from the diversity of population and thought that is only offered in the public schools.

The history of private and parochial schools in this area is one of division and exclusion by religion, class and race.

And the poor overall performance of public school students in recent decades is directly tied to the large numbers of high-performing children skimmed off the top and placed in private and parochial schools, which don't have to accept problem children.

If the ratio of motivated and well-behaved students to troubled students in our public schools more closely approximated their true ratio in the area, this would cause a revolution in the schools and in society.

So go ahead, make good on that threat -- and do something good for your children and your community.

Debbie Feldman Jones

Baltimore

Nothing has changed: Gays, lesbians still face prejudice

Thank you for the article about supporters and opponents of gay rights on "constituency day" in Annapolis ("Gay-rights supporters, opponents lobby state lawmakers -- again," March 16).

This year as in many years past, gay right supporters sponsored anti-discrimination and anti-hate bills to protect their gay and lesbian children and friends.

However, before the first witness could speak, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr. said, "We do not intend to go on and on with the same testimony. We understand and we know what the bill is all about."

Of course the testimony is the same. Nothing has changed since last year: Gays and lesbians are still discriminated against; and nothing will change until they are granted the same civil rights that protect other Americans from discrimination.

Corrine Streich

Baltimore

O'Malley is the `right guy' to turn the city around . . .

Never before have I been so inspired to write a letter about the mayor of Baltimore, but I personally feel that Martin O'Malley is doing a marvelous and exceptional job to turn this city around.

Our mayor has impressed me as a man who will stand up for what is right, no matter what the situation is. In my estimation, he is a "man of the people, for the people" who will lead this city to greatness.

I urge the citizens of Baltimore to get behind our mayor and remember that Mr. O'Malley is not just a white guy, but the right guy for the job of mayor of Baltimore.

Jan Strouthers Witten

Baltimore

. . . but he must check his own arrogance

Reading about Mayor Martin O'Malley's personal style in The Sun ("Mayor makes mark, as vowed," March 12), I had no problem with anything the mayor had done or said, until I read about how he pressured the Walters Art Gallery to give him paintings for his office.

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