Can't the county even find funds for trash bags? I...


September 10, 2000

Can't the county even find funds for trash bags?

I recently received in the mail a newsletter from the Severna Park Middle School Parent Teacher Organization. It was full of information regarding the PTO's goals for the year, pleas for volunteers and a schedule of PTO meetings.

However, one request left me somewhat befuddled.

A highlighted area on one page stated, "believe it or not, the county no longer provides trash bags for the classrooms or offices. To prevent the custodial staff from wasting valuable time washing out every trashcan every night, please consider sending in a box of tall kitchen bags or larger. The custodial staff will be very appreciative."

I don't think so. If Gov. Parris N. Glendening can afford a Preakness party at Pimlico for his pals, then certainly there must be money somewhere to provide trash bags for the public schools.

It's already deplorable enough that there aren't sufficient textbooks for the students to bring home to study, but this is ridiculous. What will be next -- paper towels and toilet paper?

What does County Executive Janet Owens have to say?

Isn't there a chance to get our schools trash bags?

Susan Kelley


Death penalty links crime to punishment

The argument against the "juvenile death penalty" presented by Steven Drizin begins with a factual error and lapses into a tour de force of illogic and sentimentalism ("End juvenile death penalty," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 21).

The late Gary Graham was 20, not 17, when he engaged in a spree of wanton brutality that included the death of Bobby Lambert.

The sadistic cruelty Graham exhibited places him among the worst of monsters to have terrorized innocent victims. He was eventually captured in the home of a woman whom he had kidnapped and repeatedly raped. An earlier kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder left his victim permanently disabled.

Before attempting to kill his victim, Graham taunted him with the threat of returning to the scene of the kidnapping and raping and killing his wife.

A comparison of the brilliant defense provided Leopold and Loeb by Clarence Darrow to the representation of Gary Graham is irrelevant. Not every sociopath has the wealth to hire a man at the peak of his profession to save him from the appropriate penalty.

And it should be noted that one of these defendants was eventually paroled. Should we ever risk exposing society to the likes of Gary Graham?

The juvenile justice system was once aimed at misbehavior that was less dangerous to society than the crimes that make the headlines all too often.

Today, that system has become a shield to protect increasingly youthful thugs from punishment that befits their crimes.

Our society has gradually severed the feedback loop between cause and effect, misbehavior and punishment.

We can attribute this to permissiveness as well as to well-meaning laws intended to protect children. But until this relationship is restored, the application of the most severe punishment may be one of the few vehicles for dramatically demonstrating that there is a severe downside for the worst behavior.

Arthur W. Downs

Severna Park

Don't use game shows to teach your kids

I felt compelled to reply to the letter "Richard may be a survivor but he's no role model" (Aug. 29).

Why would anyone ever look to him as a role model?

The show "Survivor" was a game, and the winner received money as a prize. The people on the show played the game as best they could, and Richard outwitted and out-challenged all the others.

But while I watched and enjoyed each episode, I would not even think of it as a teaching tool for children to imitate.

I think people are relying too much on what is shown on TV to teach children and to give them role models, when their kids probably have the best role models right under their noses: themselves.

Marge Griffith


Total GOP control would hurt the poor

The important issue in the upcoming election is not between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Al Gore, but whether you want a Republican president and a Republican Congress.

Since Jimmy Carter, the control of Congress and the presidency have rested in different hands, and the checks and balances this affords have provided a good result.

After this election, the Republicans will likely retain control of Congress. With a Republican president as well, we would have an emphasis on maintaining corporate profits (although they are at record levels now) and tax relief for the rich.

In six years, the Republican Congress has done nothing for the 45 million people without health insurance, but it has insisted on health insurance companies making a profit. It cut Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors with the result that doctors and HMOs have dropped thousands of senior citizens from coverage.

Congressional Republicans now want any senior prescription program to be handled by insurance companies, at a profit, a profit that would be tax dollars.

Yes, these are compassionate conservatives -- very compassionate toward big business.

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