Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 03, 2003

State troopers do more than write tickets

In his column "City needs new police chief to deliver on familiar promises" (Jan. 26), Michael Olesker took some personal shots at me through name-calling and false innuendo. I can take the schoolyard taunts. What I will not stand for is his attack on the mission, service and sacrifice of the members of the Maryland State Police.

By summarizing my new role as "the vitally important job of supervising traffic tickets on suburban highways," Mr. Olesker shows he has no knowledge about our role in providing full police services across Maryland.

More important, Mr. Olesker demeans every dedicated individual who wears or has worn this uniform and shows a complete lack of respect for the widows and widower of the 38 Maryland state troopers who have given their lives for our citizens.

For this, I demand an apology.

The promises I made to Baltimore were kept. Violent crime declined 29 percent in the three years I served as police commissioner. I have chosen to make Baltimore my home, so when Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said Baltimore will be a priority, I believed this job was the perfect opportunity to continue building on the success we have had in the city.

My hope is to continue working with Baltimore's committed and progressive mayor as we bring state resources to the fight against crime in that city.

And here are a few facts. First, the blood of 38 Maryland state troopers is a part of what makes this state great and represents the courage and sacrifice of the men and women of the Maryland State Police, who do much more than write traffic tickets.

Second, I never worked a headquarters job during my career in New York. Even as deputy commissioner, my time was spent on the street, fighting crime.

Third, I have made it clear that the mission of the Maryland State Police is to fight crime and fight terrorism. In the days ahead, everything we do will be directed toward those two priorities.

That will include making traffic stops. It will also include much, much more.

Edward T. Norris

Pikesville

The writer is superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

Norris should return severance pay to city

I was shocked and disheartened to learn that former Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris received a $137,000 severance payment after he decided to leave his job with the city ("O'Malley says he rues sweet deal for Norris," Jan. 24). What kind of public servant would take $137,000 from a financially struggling community under these circumstances?

In addition, The Sun reported that Mr. Norris will "earn $6,850 a year for life." I strongly object to the verb "earn" in this case.

Perhaps Mr. Norris has forgotten he is a public servant.

Robert P. Moore

Baltimore

Will "public servant" Col. Edward T. Norris please do the right thing and refuse the $137,000 severance pay he is about to take from an impoverished city he was hired to protect?

After all, he is moving on, willingly, to the lucrative post of head of the State Police; he wasn't fired, and the city is in dire need of the money.

Edwidge Burke

Columbia

Embrace the idea of city redistricting

I am sorry that the City Council redistricting breaks the mayor's heart ("O'Malley to deliver redistrict proposal," Jan. 27), but I'm not agonizing with him over the fate of incumbents who will be forced to compete for a single seat.

The mayor imagines that the single-member districts mandated by the passage of Question P will lead to "parochial perspectives." In fact, many of the 78,314 people who voted for Question P in November were fed up with real parochialism in government - this sense of individual ownership of political influence.

I think what the mayor really fears is a legislative body made up of motivated and activist representatives who won't always tow his administration's line. And my heart swells when I think of the free-for-all that the next City Council election will be.

Isabel Lipman

Baltimore

Saving incumbents is insult to citizens

It is enlightening to watch the political leaders of Baltimore give top priority to incumbency of City Council members, while they ignore the needs and interests of citizens and communities ("Political alarm greets O'Malley's redistricting plan," Jan. 28).

How discouraging to all of us who work so hard to make the city a better place. And what a missed opportunity for our leaders to make a major positive impact on the entire city.

Doreen Rosenthal

Baltimore

Wasting oil hurts Earth, aids terror

While The Sun should be commended for denouncing President Bush's tax incentive plan for SUVs, one would have hoped that an editorial titled "Getting serious about the SUV" (Jan. 22) would have included fuel inefficiency among its "serious questions."

Raising the miles-per-gallon (mpg) standards for SUVs and light trucks to the same level as the standard for cars (27.5 mpg) would save American consumers more than 1 million barrels of oil a day, according to the Sierra Club.

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