Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 28, 2003

Ehrlich's choice puts thousands of kids at risk

The governor's refusal to cooperate with Mayor Martin O'Malley puts thousands of children and low-income persons at risk ("O'Malley to sue governor over city appointee," Nov. 24).

The city's Department of Social Services (DSS) should not be used in a political ploy. But it is clear that the governor is using it to put our mayor in a precarious position. National searches for the position of the director of department of social services are common throughout the country. It's irresponsible of the state to forgo this option and cherry-pick an appointee.

State Secretary of Human Services Christopher J. McCabe's position is wrong on several counts. The fact that the city contributes very little to the budget of DSS does not let it off the hook for its responsibilities and its performance. And the argument that the city's contribution makes it irrelevant in the search for a director flies in the face of the law which explicitly spells out the city's role in choosing the leader of this agency.

And it's clear that interim Director Floyd R. Blair lacks the experience to run this agency. Mr. McCabe's suggestion that experience is irrelevant is absurd when discussing a position that is responsible for the most vulnerable citizens of the city.

I agree with the mayor that we should demand experience and a national search for the best candidate for this important job.

Aimee Darrow

Baltimore

Mayor right to sue over lawless choice

I strongly disagree with several parts of The Sun's editorial "Politics first, families last" (Nov. 25).

The conflict between Mayor Martin O'Malley and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is not simply a matter of "he said, he said." It is a matter of the governor not following the law and unilaterally appointing an interim director of the city's Department of Social Services. It is a matter of someone being appointed who is not qualified and does not meet the specifications the law requires.

Mr. O'Malley is right to sue the state when the laws enacted for all to follow are ignored by the head of our state.

Barbara Blumberg

Baltimore

O'Malley should find other political ploys

The Sun got it right when it wrote "the DSS [Department of Social Services] isn't a toy" ("Politics first, families last," editorial, Nov. 25). For this reason I believe that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. made the right choice in appointing Floyd R. Blair to head the department.

Why would Mr. Ehrlich pick someone who could not do the job? Why can't Mayor Martin O'Malley tell us why Mr. Blair is unqualified beyond the law's silly rule that the department's head must have five years of administrative experience?

And, as to who is being more high schoolish, I'd submit that Mr. O'Malley's behavior at the Cabinet meeting where he did not properly introduce Mr. Blair suggests that the mayor is the furthest from graduation.

At the risk of looking more foolish, the mayor should drop the silly lawsuit, apologize to Mr. Blair and agree to work with him "for our children."

There are other political toys he can play with later.

Richard T. Naldrett

Baltimore

Nominee shows contempt for public

It has been an eye-opener to watch as the governor of Maryland, who ran on a platform of integrity in state government, seeks to circumvent one of the laws he is sworn to uphold.

The governor's choice for the head of Baltimore City's Department of Social Services admits he does not meet even the minimum legal qualifications for the position, and argues that one of his qualifications for the position is that he grew up in poverty ("Social services leader insists he can do the job," Nov. 25).

Does that mean that, because I was raised in poverty and like to fish, I am qualified to head the Department of Natural Resources?

For the head of a state government agency to suggest that a law requiring a person to be qualified to do such a critical job should be ignored, for whatever reason, indicates either a total lack of understanding of basic governmental responsibility or a contempt for the citizens that he wishes to serve.

Charles W. Yowell

Baltimore

Paying parolees is a silly idea

Just when you think the politicians have come up with the height of absurdity, along comes a proposal to pay parolees for reporting to their probation officers ("Plan calls for paying parolees to comply," Nov. 18). How ludicrous.

Parolees have been given a second chance to walk the streets. They should report for the simple reason that it keeps them out of prison.

If money is the problem for the parolees, may I suggest working as a solution? Then they would be in the same position as the tax-paying citizens who would have to support this nonsense.

Marcia Miliman

Baltimore

Smoking bans foster safety and civility

Columnist Steve Chapman objects to the concept of smoking bans in public places, labeling such restrictions as a form of intolerance ("Restaurant smoking bans give off the foul odor of intolerance," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 18).

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