Overcrowding in Harford schools was predictable We...


February 26, 2002

Overcrowding in Harford schools was predictable

We tried to tell them. But they wouldn't listen. For years, Harford County's parents, teachers, administrators and board of education members have warned that Southampton Middle School and C. Milton Wright High School were on course for disastrous overcrowding ("Seeking a solution to crowd control," Feb. 14).

In response, Maryland's education bureaucrats blandly declared that no new school construction was justified because planned housing developments hadn't been built yet.

Of course, those developments were then built, and quickly filled. Now, despite the so-called Adequate Public Facilities Law, hundreds more homes are being built in this district.

The parent with whom The Sun's reporter spoke said it best: New middle and high schools are desperately needed. But there's no sign that our state bureaucrats will listen to her, either.

And the General Assembly is no better - talking about cutting revenues that could be used for public schools, while pumping millions into private schools.

I have no illusions that anyone in Annapolis will listen to me. But I would point out that, like me, thousands of parents, teachers and administrators in the Bel Air area are angered by this unacceptable situation. And we will vote accordingly.

David Spivey

Bel Air

Releasing repeat offenders can have fatal consequences

The Sun's front page article "Fate of `predator' laws may hinge on murder trial" (Feb. 14) horrifically pinpoints how the tragic ineptness of our judicial and legislative systems can have fatal implications.

It is clear that 9-year-old Christopher Ausherman was fatally assaulted because a known sexual predator was released from prison.

Elmer Spencer Jr. served less than half of his 10-year sentence, and killed less than seven days after his release. Was he released for good behavior? What is good behavior for a repeat sex offender?

Our courts, probation officers and legislators are not answering these hard-hitting questions with stiffer penalties and laws. Instead, our local news is filled with stories of repeat offenders and murderers, repeatedly released to re-offend.

Monae L. Johnson

Ellicott City

Don't blame misguided youth for Lindh's traitorous acts

After reading "Lindh pleads not guilty; trial in Aug." (Feb. 14), I was appalled to think anyone could say that John Walker Lindh's actions were the product of his misguided youth.

I am a 20-year-old college student and I find this notion very difficult to accept. Mr. Lindh may have been young when he joined the Taliban, but nevertheless he went willingly and stayed with them under no threat of force.

Mr. Lindh engaged in traitorous acts against the United States. We should not tolerate this pitiable excuse of "misguided youth" for his actions, when he clearly knew what he was participating in.

Jaclyn P. Hardy


Bush is right to cut family planning aid

In response to the letter "U.N. population control work deserves American support" (Feb. 14), I ask: "Isn't it time for the United States to get out of the business of controlling other nations' family life?"

The manipulation of poor nations into conforming to Western values is dangerous business and one of the causes of anger against the United States.

Cheers for President Bush for his courageous stand for justice for all.

Mary Jo Fritz


Attractive budget tricks make bad economic policy

There they go again: President Bush and the Republicans are back to their election-winning strategy of handing out cash and increasing defense spending while refusing to keep enough tax revenue to pay the nation's bills. It makes good politics, but is fiscally irresponsible.

As a candidate, Mr. Bush said he could give large tax cuts while keeping the government out of debt. Reaganomics without the deficits? I did not believe it in the 1980s, and I don't believe it now.

It took the country 17 years, and multiple tax increases, to balance the budget and create a surplus after the economic hole left to us by Reaganomics. One year into the Bush presidency, we are back to deficit spending.

Mr. Bush reminds me of the popular guy in the bar, who buys round after round knowing he'll be gone when the bill comes.

The country needs real economic security - with a budget that reflects the nation's priorities, and is paid for.

Richard L. Ottenheimer


State's hospital report card isn't very useful to consumers

It is nice that the Maryland Health Care Commission is making hospital information available to consumers but how many consumers can select what hospital they get admitted to ("Report card on hospitals released in Maryland," Feb. 1)? This decision is usually controlled by doctors and insurance companies

It would be more useful, therefore, to give consumers information about doctors and insurance companies.

David Plaut


Bush's plan won't cool our overheated globe

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