Letters To The Editor


February 06, 2003

Public business must be open to public view

City Solicitor Thurman W. Zollicoffer Jr.'s justification for the private meeting of most City Council members with Mayor Martin O'Malley on the new redistricting map is indefensible ("Meeting of mayor, council may have violated law," Jan. 29).

He argues that the meeting was not subject to the requirement that legislative bodies meet in public because legislation was not introduced or discussed. But even in the unlikely event there was no discussion of the new map, the law was still violated.

The Court of Appeals ruled in 1980 and has since reiterated that every step of the legislative process must be conducted in public. Simply showing the map to a majority of the council members is enough under the statute.

Mr. Zollicoffer professed shock last fall when the Court of Appeals threw out a council act, which was also part of the redistricting shenanigans, because it was cooked up in another closed session ("Appeals court voids council's election plan," Oct. 1).

At that time the council tried to evade the open meetings law by keeping less than a quorum in the meeting at any one time. But they slipped up, and obvious subterfuges like that are frowned on by the courts anyway.

Will no one at City Hall bone up on the law that requires the public's business to be done in public?

James S. Keat

Diversity is a value colleges can promote

The University of Michigan's admissions policy is not a bow to affirmative action or to quotas ("Powell, Bush split on admissions case," Jan. 20).

It is a diversification system that enables the university to ensure it has a student body that is a microcosm of the society. This allows the entire student body to be privy to the diverse ideas available as a result - in other words, to get a more complete education.

The admissions policy is governed by a point system that awards extra points to children of alumni, to talented athletes and to others. So why not offer a few extra points to achieve diversity as well?

Florence Smelkinson


Slots could bring new jobs to Pimlico

Dan Rodricks' column "Slots number becoming game of high-low" (Jan. 27) expressed concern about how "one-arm bandits might tarnish the `family' image" around Pimlico, Laurel Park and Rosecroft.

I have lived in the Pimlico community for the past 60 years. And while I love my neighborhood, it has been sad to live through its decline. Good jobs continue to disappear, putting more people out of work.

And without slot machines, jobs at the track will continue to decline and the track workers will not be able to receive raises and other benefits that could occur if more money comes into the tracks.

But with slots, more people will come to the tracks.

This will mean more business for restaurants and vendors in and around the track, more money circulating in the community and more jobs for communities that desperately need them.

Ruby Webb


A modest proposal for still more slots

If Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. believes slot machines are such a wonderful source of revenue for Maryland, why share the booty with the racetrack owners? The state could get directly into the business by establishing state-owned slot machine parlors.

Boarded-up public libraries in Baltimore could be recycled for this purpose. And slot machines could be placed in school lunchrooms and correctional facilities.

And if we're not ashamed of this fabulous revenue source, why not put slots in the corridors of the State House and grab more tourist dollars?

Edward Leslie Ansel

Owings Mills

Ravens' facility rips us off in style

Kudos to the innovative architects of the new Ravens facility to be built on taxpayer-purchased land in Owings Mills ("New Ravens facility aims for a larger goal," Jan. 31).

The wider doorways are brilliant. They are necessary for those super-sized egos and the girths expanded by feeding at the public trough.

This "everyday" person is delighted to be ripped off in such grand style.

Patty Nicholls


Curran can't speak for the whole state

As a voter in this state, I am appalled that Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. has come out against the death penalty ("Md. attorney general to call for end to executions," Jan. 30).

He does not speak for a majority of us, and I don't think it is proper for this elected official to take such a stand.

John L. Grumbach


Poor programming lowers BSO's stature

It is nice for the president of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to claim that great programming has occurred and that Music Director Yuri Temirkanov is considered by some "the greatest conductor in the world today" ("BSO welcomes programming suggestions," Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 28). But who says this? I do not recall hearing or reading such things.

And we all know that donations to the BSO are down and seats sell at a gigantic discount just before concert time because of poor attendance.

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