Referendum in Pakistan backs reforms The editorial...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 08, 2002

Referendum in Pakistan backs reforms

The editorial "Eyewash in Pakistan" (May 2) is a collage of mixed emotions that misses what the referendum was all about.

The central issue was the continuity of reforms intended to realize the vision of our nation's founder to make Pakistan a tolerant, moderate and progressive polity. Legitimacy is derived from the consent of the people, and in the referendum, Gen. Pervez Musharraf appealed directly to the people of Pakistan to endorse the government's reform agenda.

The referendum was challenged by those who opposed it, and their petition was adjudicated by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The referendum process was also open to all, and domestic and international observers were free to visit any polling station in any part of the country.

No electoral exercise is perfect. A case in point was the recent U.S. presidential election and its Florida ballot.

But when all is said and done, this referendum was orderly, free, transparent and peaceful.

Asad Hayauddin

Washington

The writer is press attachM-i for the Embassy of Pakistan.

Diversity is no threat to school excellence

As parents of former and current Pikesville Middle School students, we were pleased by The Sun's portrayal of the school as a safe, nurturing environment for its students ("School offers a lesson in suburban diversity," April 28). However, we were puzzled by The Sun's concerns about the future of the school with respect to its racial mix.

Pikesville Middle has been racially mixed for years, yet it has maintained its excellent academic standards. The school's legacy of excellence comes from the dedication of the staff, parents and the students themselves.

Numerous academic awards are won each year by Pikesville Middle students, who go on to succeed in high school and are consistently admitted to prestigious universities.

There is absolutely nothing to indicate this tradition will change, and students continue to experience a challenging education in a warm, diverse environment.

Barbara Berg Randi Foreman Owings Mills

The writers are former PTA presidents at Pikesville Middle School.

What students need isn't public relations

I read in The Sun that Baltimore is planning to spend nearly $1 million on a public relations campaign to attract middle-class families to the city schools ("City schools launch drive to spruce up public image," April 27). Thus funds that could be spent on the children who attend these schools may profit a public relations firm instead.

How many reading specialists could be hired for that million dollars? How many music, art and literature programs could be brought to students?

The school system and its supporters can put all the "spin" they want into selling their "product." But public relations will never replace the warm, positive, educational relationships our children desperately need.

Chaneta Reynolds

Baltimore

Why didn't police arrest solicitor?

I don't know much about the law, but if I interfered with an arrest I would expect to be given one of two choices -- either get out of the way or get arrested ("City's top lawyer disrupts drug arrest of nephew," May 1).

It's just that simple, or is it?

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

Outrage over murder grown commonplace

Michael Olesker is not alone in being outraged that murder is so common in Baltimore that we are beginning to barely notice it ("Dead become mundane as exodus from city increases," April 30).

And those of us who have fled the city (15,000 last year) now hope that some distance from the center city will give us at least temporary safety.

The article above Mr. Olesker's was a commentary about the spruced-up USS Constellation ("Returning a ship to its glory," April 30). The irony is the dichotomy between what we show off to our visitors and what we have been conditioned to accept for our citizens.

It's important to have attractions, but it is more important to have stability.

Cinta Porter

Hunt Valley

Help Baltimore get even better

The fact that The Sun expressed disappointment that Mayor Martin O'Malley, in his short time in office, has not stemmed the population exodus from the city only demonstrates the unreasonably high expectations placed on him ("The city shrinks," editorial, May 1).

The demographic shifts contributing to Baltimore's shrinking population can be traced back to the 1930s, and cannot be reversed overnight. In addition, Census figures recently released showed Philadelphia lost 25,000 residents, and Chicago, a city whose population increased in the 1990s, has mysteriously begun to shrink again. Analysts have called these figures into question.

Things have improved significantly in Baltimore: Crime is down, school scores are up and real estate is hot.

Rather than wringing its hands about some questionable statistics, The Sun should offer more constructive criticism on how the city can become an even better place to live, work and play.

Stephen D. Sisson

Baltimore

Examine pressures behind the bombings

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