Arrogant Democrats' redistricting proposal chops up...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 03, 2002

Arrogant Democrats' redistricting proposal chops up communities

Last summer, hundreds of Baltimore Countians packed an auditorium at Towson University to urge Gov. Parris N. Glendening's redistricting committee to respect the integrity of neighborhoods when crafting a new legislative map.

Many of these residents remembered how the Democratic majority on the County Council secretly created a redistricting map that dismembered communities for political gain. The Baltimore County Republican Central Committee complained that Mr. Glendening's committee was a sham, as four of its five members were partisan Democrats.

It appears our concerns were correct. Not only is the redistricting plan unfair to communities, but the committee has given citizens virtually no time to respond to its recommendations ("Redrawn electoral districts criticized," Dec. 19).

The redistricting map throws much of Towson into an inner-city district. It splits Dundalk into three districts, one of which crosses the bay and goes into Anne Arundel County. It carves up communities throughout Baltimore County, including Perry Hall, Loch Raven and Hunt Valley.

To put it bluntly, the redistricting committee dismembers communities to hurt Republican incumbents and strengthen the Democrats' monopoly on power.

This is what happens when voters give one party a monopoly. After 34 years in control, the Maryland Democratic Party has become arrogant and insensitive.

Democrats can add the redistricting plan to their long list of recent embarrassments, from the $1.7 billion budget deficit to mishaps in the juvenile justice system.

Ron Etzel

Baltimore

The writer is vice chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Party.

Dundalk is being punished for senator's independence

I grew up in Dundalk. It is a place where neighborhoods are still neighborhoods and people have a strong sense of community identity and pride.

The Glendening/Townsend redistricting plan will break this community into three legislative districts. This clearly does not serve the people of the current legislative district or preserve the integrity of the community ("Redrawn electoral districts criticized," Dec. 19).

Whom or what does it serve? It serves to satisfy the administration's vendetta against state Sen. Norman R. Stone because he did not vote the way the governor wanted him to vote.

The people of Greater Dundalk are being hurt because their senator voted against some of the Glendening/Townsend administration's bills.

But Mr. Stone voted the way the people of that district wanted him to vote. He was elected by the people, to represent the people - and he did just that.

Connie Galiazzo DeJulius

Glen Arm

The state guarantees pensions will be paid

The writer of the letter "Poor pension benefits worsen teacher shortage" (Nov. 27) fails to factor in that Maryland's public employees - teachers included - are required to contribute far less to the pension system than those of many other states whose benefits exceed Maryland's. A smaller benefit accrues, but a smaller investment has been required.

Perhaps your correspondent and readers will be glad to know the board of the state's pension system, of which I am a member, has undertaken a study not only of contribution rates but also benefits.

In the meantime, I assure readers that the state's pension system is strong and has provided a more than acceptable long-term investment performance.

Benefits for teachers - and all state employees - are guaranteed by the state. That means they are secure and will be paid without interruption.

William Donald Schaefer

Annapolis

The writer is comptroller of the state of Maryland.

Glad to see KAL's faith that Israel will endure

I enjoyed KAL's Dec. 23 editorial cartoon depicting future newscasts and noting that in the year 3001 the newscaster would be repeating the news from 2001: "Israel again withdraws tanks from the West Bank town of Ramallah after security talks with the Palestinians ... "

As someone always concerned about whether Israel will survive, it is comforting to know that KAL predicts that Israel will be around in the year 3001.

Leon Reinstein

Baltimore

Will canceling ABM Treaty launch a new arms race ... .

William Hartung stated clearly why withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was a strategic mistake ("Militant Insecurity," Dec. 23). The inevitable new arms race will suck tax dollars from our pockets and take the world to the brink of another nuclear disaster.

We have wasted billions testing a missile defense system that doesn't work. And, as the tragic attacks on Sept. 11 illustrated, rogue nations are not likely to waste their resources to build nuclear missiles when dreadful destruction and heartbreaking loss of life can be accomplished with human "bombs" or biological warfare.

Are we, as United States citizens, willing to allow our tax dollars to be spent for a costly, useless missile defense system while services that benefit the people are underfunded or closed down?

Carroll Yingling

Phyllis Yingling

Baltimore

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