Legislation protects the rights of workers who support...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 06, 2001

Legislation protects the rights of workers who support schools

The Sun's editorial titled "Good bills, bad bills" (April 2) was filled with inaccuracies concerning the collective bargaining bill before the General Assembly.

False: "Such issues as the school calendar, length of a school day and class size don't belong at the bargaining table."

Truth: As amended, issues such as class size, school calendar and length of school days are excluded from the bill.

False: "This bill would also strip the state school board of its grievance powers and give it instead to a union-friendly labor-relations board."

Truth: The responsibility of the state school board to hear grievances was never at issue. The amended bill gives the State Board of Education final authority to determine what is subject to bargaining.

False: "The measure would unionize part-time school employees in all Eastern Shore counties."

Truth: Education support personnel on the Eastern Shore have been denied basic collective bargaining rights. The bill seeks to give them the same opportunities to bargain for a fair contract that other personnel throughout the state have.

Passage of this legislation would allow local school boards and local teachers associations the flexibility to sit down and discuss ways to enhance public education for Maryland's children. This bill also provides fairness for support personnel who have devoted their careers to making a difference in the lives of our students.

Opponents who misrepresent the intentions of the bill and provide distractions with false interpretations and unfounded fear must not sway the Senate.

Patricia A. Foerster

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland State Teachers Association.

Richmond doesn't bring all gun cases to federal court

The Sun is to be commended for its generally excellent reporting about criminal justice issues in Baltimore over the course of the past 18 months.

However, it is troubling that the front-page article "Federal gun-crime debate takes page from Baltimore's" (March 17) repeated the inaccurate claim that the federal anti-crime program in Richmond, Va., known as "Project Exile" involves prosecution of "nearly all city gun crimes in federal court."

It was only for the first part of Project Exile's history -- from roughly March 1997 until sometime in 1998 -- that "nearly all" gun crimes in Richmond were prosecuted in federal district court.

A state program known as Virginia Exile was established in 1999. During the last two years, federal prosecutors have handled roughly half of Richmond's gun crimes, with the remainder being prosecuted by state prosecutors in state court under the Virginia Exile program.

There is a vast difference between prosecuting roughly half of city gun cases in federal court and sending "nearly all" of them there, which The Sun continues to inaccurately claim Project Exile is doing.

Jefferson M. Gray

Washington

Comparison of state officials to murderers was outrageous

Fair-minded people have grown accustomed to extreme distortions by The Sun to further its ultra-liberal agenda. This time, however, The Sun has outdone itself.

The Sun's editorial "It's time to step back and study death penalty" (March 27) suggests that unless the state passes a death penalty moratorium, Maryland officials will be "no more scrupulous than the savages who kill for drugs or money."

How The Sun can equate our public officials with those who have committed the most heinous crimes is beyond me. How sad it is for Baltimore that its major newspaper has sunk to this level.

Jeffrey N. Pritzker

Phoenix

City finds funds to support stadiums but not education

Why is it that every time some money needs to be cut from any Baltimore City budget the city takes it from educational programs, such as by closing five branches of Enoch Pratt Free Library ("Mayor's budget calls for layoffs," March 28).

It's obvious the city can find money for anything pertaining to stadiums. But it doesn't care if children can't spell stadium -- as long as they know how to get to them.

Alberta Ivey

Baltimore

Boycotting goods is way we should respond to China

Let me get this straight. An American military aircraft conducting a surveillance mission over international waters is harassed by Chinese fighter aircraft. One of the Chinese pilots displays either recklessness or gross incompetence and collides with the American aircraft, rendering it unairworthy and causing it to make an emergency landing in Chinese territory.

The Chinese take the crew hostage, disassemble the sensitive components of the aircraft and demand an apology from the United States.

I think all Americans owe China an apology that should be rendered as follows. Every time they inspect a potential consumer purchase and note the "Made in China" logo, they should say, "I'm sorry, but no thank you. I really don't need this."

John Zotcavage

Millersville

Bush's bipartisanship has gone by the boards

President Bush is leaning so far to the right, he's about to lose his balance.

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