Letters To The Editor


January 24, 2003

Jail expansion is outrageous waste of funds

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. is right to be concerned that the Towson jail will be filled the day its expansion is complete ("Smith urges fight to keep state funding for schools," Jan. 4). But it's not just a state proposal to send more prisoners to county detention centers that would make a mockery of this project. With or without the state proposal, the enlarged facility would still be far too small.

The $70 million expansion plan calls for a facility to house an expected daily population of 1,377 inmates by the year 2010. Yet a recent Sun article indicated the county already incarcerates 1,300 inmates ("Baltimore County jail expansion draws candidates' fire," Nov. 3).

This means the county is spending $70 million to house only 77 additional prisoners. That's an outrageous waste of taxpayer money.

Yet those who could speak out against this fiscal abuse have remained largely silent. Despite the fact that the state would foot half the bill, we have heard not a word from either former Gov. Parris N. Glendening or our new governor.

State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer hasn't raised an eyebrow. And The Sun's editorial page hasn't questioned the numbers either.

But when this facility is complete, everyone will be asking questions. And first among them will be, "How could we have let this happen?"

John Patterson


Smart Growth is a great legacy

As a Republican who has absolutely no use for Democrats, I give former Gov. Parris N. Glendening enormous credit for Smart Growth ("Glendening won votes but failed to win friends," Jan. 12).

Mr. Glendening was the first governor in America to try actively to put a stop to the unbridled growth that has created the suburban sprawl that has destroyed farmland and rural communities.

Now that he is gone, Maryland will continue to develop into one big strip mall.

Charles Belfoure


Self-seeking defines Glendening's career

While reading the article on former Gov. Parris N. Glendening's legacy ("Glendening won votes but failed to win friends," Jan. 12), I found myself recalling two defining moments in the governor's career.

The first was eight years ago when, as county executive of Prince George's County, he attempted to cut himself a sweetheart pension deal from the county as he departed for Annapolis. The second was a year ago, when he attempted to secure for himself the chancellorship of the University System of Maryland.

Perhaps the official portrait of Governor Glendening recently unveiled should have included his hand in a cookie jar.

Steve Kohler


Annapolis needs a deep cleaning

As the hoopla of the inaugural festivities passes, it's time for our new governor to get down to business. Clearing out the stench of the previous administration is a difficult task but one that needs to be done. We need more that just a little air freshener; it's time for a good deep cleaning.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has an uphill battle in front of him, not unlike the one he had when he made the decision to seek Maryland's highest office.

We all know how he fared in that battle, and I think we can expect the same results from him and his administration.

Jeffrey Button


City asks for belief, but reality intrudes

Gary Dorsey spins aimless anecdotes but doesn't understand what he sees ("Balancing Image and Reality," Jan. 12).

One of the core fallacies of the "Believe" campaign lies in its reliance on individual determination to overcome systemic failures. Without addressing those failures, "Believe" is like an open-ended revival meeting without the tent.

Well, the evangelical rhetoric met up with reality at Angela Dawson's house, and reality won. How many more women and children will die before people realize it's make-Believe? I live down the street from the Dawsons' house and I'd like to know.

This isn't an image problem, it's a heads-on-pikes problem.

Terry Thometz


`Be yourself' makes a splendid slogan

"Come To Baltimore ... And Be Yourself" ("Balancing Image and Reality," Jan. 12). I love it. What a wonderful slogan for our wonderful city.

I've lived here for 75 years and have always loved it. I say, let's adopt that slogan.

Marjorie K. Greenebaum


Domestic violence is a real crime

In The Sun's article "Leader of police `family' departs" (Jan. 13), Lt. Nick Paros, acting president of the Maryland Troopers Association, refers to regional domestic violence task forces as one of several "pet projects" of Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend that "eat up personnel and produce very little results statistically. It keeps us from fighting crime."

But the last time I looked at the statute, domestic violence is considered a crime. Is Lieutenant Paros implying that domestic violence is not a crime, or that it is not worth fighting?

His unfortunate remarks are unworthy of someone who serves in a leadership position in law enforcement.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann


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