Commissioner asks forgiveness for his conduct I am...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 07, 2001

Commissioner asks forgiveness for his conduct

I am writing to convey my extreme regret at the incident on the evening of Dec. 28 and to apologize to the people of Baltimore whom I have hurt and offended.

My behavior was outrageous and sickening to me. It in no way represents my feelings toward any group -- and most especially not toward the gay and lesbian community.

I have dedicated my career to serving all and judging no group, but rather interacting with everyone as an individual human being who should be treated with dignity and respect.

People who know me well, including an openly gay man with whom I worked for more than seven years in New York City and whom I promoted to be one of my two principal deputies, can vouch for my character.

While the people of Baltimore don't know me at this time, I hope that, as they observe my performance over time, they will come to appreciate my true character and sensitivity.

For the next several weeks, I will be getting treatment at a residential facility. When I return, I will be reaching out to as many groups as possible to convey my feelings in person.

Again, I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused and ask for forgiveness.

Paul T. Graziano

Baltimore

The writer is commissioner of the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development.

President-elect has the right to pick the cabinet he wants

The whining about the incoming Bush Cabinet from The Sun and the rest of the leftist press is becoming tiresome ("A political monolith in Bush's cabinet," editorial, Jan. 4).

Why is it that a conservative is castigated for choosing like-minded individuals to serve in his Cabinet, while a liberal is applauded for naming only leftists?

President-elect George W. Bush has selected what might be called the strongest Cabinet in recent times; it certainly does not contain the political neophytes or lackluster personalities that heralded the advent of the Clinton presidency.

So what's the problem? Is there some rule that says Republicans must surrender their principles to satisfy an elusive "bipartisanship"? I don't think so.

Mr. Bush is the president-elect. Like it or not, he has earned the right to select his own, not the left's, Cabinet.

W.C. Harsanyi

Pasadena

John Ashcroft's record shows he's unfit to serve

To placate his party's rabid right wing, President-elect George W. Bush nominated defeated senator and ultraconservative John Ashcroft of Missouri for the highest law enforcement office in the land.

Although being an extreme ideologue may not, by itself, make someone unfit for U.S. attorney general, being dishonest, racist or a character assassin should.

The most troubling episode from Mr. Ashcroft's past involves a Missouri Supreme Court justice, Ronnie White, who had been nominated for the federal bench. In spite of a solid judicial record, endorsement by the Missouri Police Association and approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Ashcroft killed Mr. White's nomination.

Whatever the senator's motive, whether related to the fact that Mr. White is African-American or an unscrupulous attempt to further his re-election, Mr. Ashcroft's actions were reprehensible.

Ironically, as a nominee Mr. Ashcroft is in much the same position as that in which nominee Mr. White found himself. One significant difference is that Mr. Ashcroft's nomination really does involve issues of honesty and fitness for this high office.

The attorney general is responsible for all law enforcement, including civil rights and abortion rights and this nominee's record and fitness need to be exposed.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Pigeonholing nominees by race, gender is wrong

The article "Abortion foe is Bush pick to head HHS" (Dec. 30) exemplifies the decay in The Sun's journalistic standards. Within the first two short paragraphs, the article unfortunately sought to label and characterize the race and gender of several Cabinet choices.

It is unfortunate the article labeled the nominees so quickly, as this has a prejudicial impact on the balance of the article and suggests the main criteria by which we should judge the nominees.

As a society we strive to be color, gender and orientation-blind.

Yet by quickly characterizing the nominees as "woman," "African-American" or "white men," doesn't The Sun contribute to the division of American society? Yes, these facts should be reported, but in a non-biased and subordinate way.

Anthony van Vliet

Lutherville

Yasser Arafat's two faces: a peacemaker and a terrorist

The Jan. 2 Sun perfectly captured the contradiction between the two faces of Yasser Arafat.

The front-page headline, "Arafat makes peace move," described Mr. Arafat's trip to meet with President Clinton.

Turning to the front section's back page revealed the picture of a car bomb attack in Israel which wounded 54 people.

The two faces of Mr. Arafat, indeed.

Michael Langbaum

Baltimore

Israel should choke off Palestinians' resources

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