Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 19, 2003

Mayor is right to sue the state over DSS choice

Mayor Martin O'Malley is completely justified in suing Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for input into the appointment of the director of the Baltimore Department of Social Services (DSS) ("Judge denies mayor's request for agency restraining order," Dec. 17).

The mayor is responsible, along with the governor, for ensuring that DSS is properly run and protects children and those in need. The director should be appointed after both elected officials have conferred and agreed on a selection.

Why then is Mr. Ehrlich forcing an unqualified nominee, interim Director Floyd R. Blair, onto Baltimore City? Simply because he wants to play a game of politics with Mr. O'Malley at the risk of the needy adults and children of Baltimore.

This behavior by the governor can jeopardize too many innocent lives. It is time for the governor to mature and realize that he was elected to be a leader, not a politician.

Vince Gardina

Perry Hall

The writer serves on the Baltimore County Council.

Give Blair a chance to lead city agency

After looking at Mayor Martin O'Malley's biography on his Web site, I do not see five years of management experience on his rM-isumM-i. Yet he is doing an excellent job running the city. This just proves that experience does not dictate the capabilities of a person.

Yet the mayor seems to be suggesting that the interim director of the Baltimore Department of Social Services, Floyd R. Blair, is incompetent based purely on a requirement that does not say much about his competence ("Mayor moves to limit Blair," Dec. 16).

The five years of management experience the law requires of a DSS director does not guarantee that someone will be a quality administrator if he or she has it or a bad one without it.

Mr. Blair seems like a very intelligent and qualified individual who deserves a shot at the position.

Davis Maloy

Baltimore

Insist on paper trail to verify our votes

I can't believe that, even after the voting mess in Florida, many Americans are set to use new voting machines that won't allow a trustworthy recount ("Critics of new voting machines want system to create paper trail," Dec. 17).

It was a great idea for Congress to provide money for new voting machines, but the touch-screen machines are vulnerable to computer hacking and tampering.

The solution is easy, but for some reason it has not been made into a requirement. The machines should be required to issue a receipt to all voters.

For the sake of our democracy, Congress should require all states to obtain voting machines that generate a paper trail we can trust.

Keith Harries

Columbia

Key to vote security is access to the code

The proliferation of the Diebold Election Systems voting machines should be stopped or the company should be forced to open its code for auditing both before and after elections ("City seeks exemption from state's mandate on voting machines," Dec. 13).

As an information technology professional, I know that printing a paper audit trail of the system's final vote count has little value. The only way to know for sure that a touch-screen vote for Candidate A actually wound up in Candidate A's vote count is to examine the programming code.

Without access to Diebold's code, there is no way to guarantee the system's accuracy.

Rob Lance

Columbia

No holiday season for most Iraqis

I would like to point out to the writer of the letter "A great victory for Bush, Iraqis and U.S. allies" (Dec. 16) that the majority of the children of Iraq do not celebrate Christmas. There are no holidays now taking place for most Iraqis.

Saddam Hussein's capture may indeed be a gift, a cause for great joy, but many Americans persist in seeing the world through a microscopic lens, thus projecting American values and standards onto different cultures.

This lack of understanding has undermined our foreign policy from the Vietnam War until the present. I wish we could realize that this attitude is a root cause of terrorism.

Germaine Lanaux

Baltimore

Does seizing dictator justify aggression?

I hope Saddam Hussein's capture does not validate wars of aggression in the minds of Americans ("Hussein in custody," Dec. 15).

John G. Bailey

Edgemere

Potomac water flow must sustain wildlife

I would like to pose an important question related to the Supreme Court's decision on control of the Potomac River: How much water must remain in the Potomac to protect the ecosystem and wildlife that depend on it ("State loses battle of river," Dec. 10)?

An expert panel convened by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources concluded in June that there is no scientific basis for the current "flow-by" goal of 100 million gallons per day for the Potomac (the amount of water left in the river after drinking water supplies are withdrawn).

It's critically important to develop a rigorous scientific method to determine the level of the minimum flow that will protect fish habitat.

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