Give Judge O'Malley a chance to do the job that she does...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 30, 2002

Give Judge O'Malley a chance to do the job that she does so well

The decision by the state ethics committee to restrict severely the ability of Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley to hear cases is as preposterous a ruling as I can ever remember from a state agency - and that takes in a lot of ground ("Ruling change may be heard," Jan. 18).

Dozens of judges throughout the state have been former prosecutors, often for lengthy periods of time. Their relationships with the police are far closer and their contacts far more frequent than Judge O'Malley's as a result of her husband's status.

Judge O'Malley probably knows more Baltimore County police (as a result of her stint as a Baltimore County prosecutor) than Baltimore City police.

To hamstring a judge - a good judge - from handling 75 percent of the cases that would otherwise come before her is a true waste - not only a waste of her talents but also of the taxpayers' money. What does the committee expect her to do - landlord-tenant cases on Gay Street?

The committee should vacate its ivory tower and try and obtain at least a nodding acquaintance with the law as it is practiced in the real world.

Thomas F. McDonough

Towson

Links to powerful families do create conflict of interest

Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley has put her husband, Mayor Martin O'Malley, in an awkward position and put the fine Baltimore courts in an awkward position ("Ruling change may be heard," Jan. 18).

Since she is the daughter of state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran as well as the wife of the mayor, the judge has created an appearance of a conflict of interest. It comes from all those connections, professional and personal - to both the Curran and O'Malley families.

If I were Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, I would be pleased with the board's decision as well as the conflict of interest that has already harmed Ms. O'Malley's judgeship. And the mayor will continue to feel the pains of her judgeship in any future elections.

Judge O'Malley should resign.

James Wagner

Glen Arm

$250 million is too big a fee for Angelos in tobacco case

Although preferable to the payment of $1.1 billion, Peter G. Angelos' proposed $250 million settlement of his [tobacco lawsuit] fee is still a bad deal for the state.

Even the reduced fee is excessive, considering that Mr. Angelos devoted a limited amount of time to the tobacco case. Tobacco lawyers seeking $847 million from Wisconsin settled for only $75 million.

Mr. Angelos' offer actually improves his position in two respects. He now insists on receiving $250 million over six years directly from Maryland, while the state expects to wait 20 to 25 years before receiving all the money it is owed.

In addition, he now requires that the state pay his fee directly. This means that if the tobacco companies go bankrupt, or otherwise fail to pay what's due, Mr. Angelos still gets paid. This would have the effect of enriching the lawyer while the client (the state) goes begging.

The governor should fully consider these very negative aspects of the deal before signing on.

Andrew D. Klingenstein

Potomac

The writer is co-founder of Project $1.1 Billion Recovery, a citizens group that opposes a large fee for Mr. Angelos.

Crown lawsuit provides local echo of Enron fiasco

Now we will see on a small, Baltimore scale what Texas is dealing with on a massive scale: The Enron Corp. scandal will be repeated in the Crown Central Petroleum Corp. class action suit alleging misrepresentation of the value of Crown's assets and financial outlook to win a vote to buy out stockholders and take the refiner private ("Crown and Rosenberg accused in class action," Jan. 25).

Dick Ullrich

Baltimore

It's not gender that makes Townsend unfit to govern

The writer of the letter "Townsend's candidacy will be source of excitement" (Jan. 25) gushes over the possibility of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend running for governor, and suggests those opposing her candidacy may have a gender issue with her.

Oh, please: I don't see gender topping the list of her shortcomings. But I don't see that she accomplishes much of anything as lieutenant governor except raising money for her campaign for governor.

Further, if she was just Kathleen Townsend, and didn't have that Kennedy connection, even the Democrats would realize she is not qualified to lead the state.

Nancy Shaffer

Annapolis

As a male Republican, I have no problem with the prospect of having a woman elected governor.

I, too, remember being quite ecstatic at the possibility - in 1994, when underdog Ellen Sauerbrey defeated the smart-money favorite Helen Delich Bentley in the Republican primary and then very nearly won the general election.

I have no trouble seeing a woman in charge. On the whole, however, I would prefer to see one in charge who doesn't appear destined to continue the tax-and-spend habits of previous administrations.

Jesse D. Delanoy

Baltimore

Multiracial Sept. 11 memorial would be more fitting tribute

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