Candidate's race isn't key issue for city district We...


July 30, 2002

Candidate's race isn't key issue for city district

We question the central premise of The Sun's article examining the racial politics of the election campaign in Baltimore new 41st District ("Voters' choice: race vs. power," July 14).

The thrust of the article was that Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman faces a steep uphill battle in the majority African-American district because of her skin color. But we think the assumption by many observers of a large racial divide is exaggerated.

The assumption demeans the intelligence of African-American voters and ignores the legislative accomplishments of Ms. Hoffman on behalf of all city residents.

For example, this year Ms. Hoffman was the champion of the landmark Thornton bill, which will dramatically increase state funding for public education and has been hailed as a national model for school financing.

Year after year, she has fought for and obtained funds for Baltimore's education, housing and economic development needs.

This is a message she can proudly take to all voters throughout the 41st district.

Evelyn Beasley

Kalman R. Hettleman


Using Perkins as a scapegoat?

Laying the blame for Towson University's presidential mansion cost overruns at the feet of former President Mark L. Perkins is too easy and too convenient ("Costs of college's mansion detailed," July 20).

It's especially convenient because he's gone, bought off at a cost of almost $400,000 (and shouldn't that cost have been included in the mansion's expense, too, since it resulted from this fiasco?)

Who signed all these checks? Didn't anyone at the University System of Maryland have the paperwork cross their desk? Didn't any alarm bells go off at Towson University?

The rest of us can't spend money this way, but I guess the government can do what it likes.

James P. Richardson

Ellicott City

Ensuring the review of construction costs

Towson University has conducted a thorough review of all University System of Maryland (USM) policies and of its own practices that relate to expenditures on construction and renovation ("Cost of college's mansion detailed," July 20).

It now has in place firm policies that guarantee appropriate communication with the USM and stringent internal review, oversight and approval before projects are revised or expanded, whether they involve taxpayers' funds (which the renovations to our president's house did not) or revenues generated by the university (which they did).

Dan L. Jones


The writer is interim president of Towson University.

City residents need to work with police

I applaud Mayor Martin O'Malley for speaking out about his frustration with the silence that has fallen over the city ("City violence that victimizes children frustrates authorities," July 24).

City residents need to make a choice: They can live in the midst of violent crime or they can offer their assistance to the police by providing valuable information that will ultimately lead to more arrests and less crime.

Tricia Zenger


Withholding funds isn't compassionate

By withholding the $34 million Congress appropriated for United Nations family planning and reproductive health assistance, President Bush reduces his "compassionate conservatism" to tawdry, campaign sound-bite babble ("U.S. to withhold $34 million from family planning," July 23).

Allocating the funds elsewhere is a shell game designed to open abstinence-only clinics, without modern contraceptives such as condoms that are vital to combating the AIDS epidemic in Africa and on other continents.

The president is sacrificing even a pretense of moral leadership at the shabby altar of extremist expediency and ensuring his epitaph will read: "Bad policy is bad politics."

Werner Fornos


The writer is president of the Population Institute.

Raise for Congress sends wrong signal

I find it completely disheartening to hear that Congress "cleared the way" for a cost-of-living increase, its "fourth in four years" ("Armey says lawmakers deserve proposed pay raise," July 22).

With the economy the way it is and thousands of workers being laid off, it must be nice to be able to give yourself a raise. Unfortunately, most of us in the private sector do not have that luxury. Indeed, I know people in several families, including my own, who have had to take pay cuts just to keep their jobs.

Do these elected officials know what kind of message they are sending? Are they really trying to represent the people who elected them?

As for Mr. Armey stating, "I don't know why anybody in America would say, `Mr. Big Shot, get yourself elected to Congress and then be stupid enough to deny yourself the pay and benefits that your job warrants,'" that is exactly what I'm thinking. Do you really have any idea how the average American family is struggling right now?

Barbara Cosgrove

Perry Hall

Ashcroft is right to rely on God

I have to express pity for the writers of the letters titled "Ashcroft threatens our basic values" (July 14).

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