Aquarium art deserved better than snide gibes How sad...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 08, 2002

Aquarium art deserved better than snide gibes

How sad that The Sun's Mary Carole McCauley chose to turn a community-spirited activity into a biased commentary belittling elected officials ("Art subject to scales of judgment," July 26).

The National Aquarium in Baltimore invited prominent Marylanders to join an art project for our "Community Aquarium" booth at Artscape. Sixteen community leaders generously responded, returning imaginatively decorated fish for public display. Submissions were created by the notables themselves, their staffs or by family members.

While Ms. McCauley focused her mean-spirited commentary on Maryland's senators, governor, comptroller and congresspersons, and Baltimore's mayor, she failed to note that the project included a broad spectrum of community leaders such as Hector Torres of Catholic Charities, Carla Hayden of the Enoch Free Pratt Library, NAACP chapter president G. I. Johnson and WBAL-TV President and General Manager Bill Fine.

The remarks of Valerie Smitheman-Brown, a respected art specialist who volunteered her time to provide thoughtful comments on the works, were selectively excerpted and weaved within what I suspect are Ms. McCauley's personal views. Additionally, The Sun incorrectly represented comments made by Andrea Butler, aquarium media relations director.

The aquarium believes Artscape celebrates visual and performing arts that enrich our lives, challenge our creativity and broaden our view of the world. The festival taps the artist within each of us.

Our Artscape initiative was designed to inspire festival-goers to visit the aquarium's booth, where they could create fish from their own imaginations and learn more about programs the aquarium offers free of charge to Maryland and Baltimore citizens.

Many community leaders sought to raise the visibility of these endeavors by taking part in the creative process. I was very disappointed to see their well-intentioned responses skewed in such a negative manner.

David Pittenger

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Ehrlich's record is open to criticism

It is truly remarkable the way Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. continues to get away with his double standard ("Ehrlich, Townsend get major backing," July 26).

He offers no details and invites Democrats and Independents to check his record. But when someone does this and disagrees with that record, Mr. Ehrlich claims this is negative campaigning.

Perhaps the worst example of this is the fraud he is trying to perpetrate with African-American voters.

He seems to be saying that since he picked an African-American running mate, they can't question his conservative record. The fact that he is opposed to affirmative action and voted to cut education funding and the Department of Education isn't supposed to matter.

At best, this is extremely condescending to the African-American community.

Joseph Shapiro

Burtonsville

Townsend must offer better answers

Three juvenile thugs remove their home monitoring bracelets, walk away from home and allegedly commit three murders.

Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. criticizes the separate escapes andkillings, but all a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend can offer is that Mr. Ehrlich is "playing politics with children's deaths" and that "this is so clearly politics that it stinks" ("Home detention system for juveniles defended," Aug. 1).

I thought our lieutenant governor, who has taken such a high-profile role in running the state's juvenile justice system, might have something a little more constructive to say about such a serious situation.

Kurt S. Willem

Hydes

Senate lacks concern for needs of seniors

Alas and alack -- a lack of true concern for older Americans. The only prescription plan the U.S. Senate can provide is "take two aspirin and call us in September" ("Senate rejects drug coverage for elderly under Medicare," Aug. 1).

Ruth Fried

Owings Mills

U.S. has good reason to target Hussein

I am dumbfounded that The Sun feels that a full explanation is required for overthrowing Saddam Hussein ("A must-have debate," editorial, Aug. 1). This murdering dictator of Iraq already has chemical and biological weapons, and Iraqi scientists who have fled that nation talk about Iraq having a nuclear capability in 2005.

The Sun should take a more responsible, and pro-American, viewpoint on this issue.

Instead of insinuating that President Bush only wants to attack Iraq to finish what his father started, The Sun should state, more accurately, that Mr. Bush will probably be required to invade Iraq because of the massive weapons build-up that has taken place since President Clinton allowed Saddam Hussein to throw out the U.N. weapons inspectors years ago.

The permissive and cowardly attitude of the last administration toward despots and terrorists might one day get us all killed, if not for the resolve of our president.

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