Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 30, 2003

Vetoing bar bill did not score political points

Michael Dresser's article "Ehrlich veto on Canton bill could face override" (Dec. 23) was inaccurate and absurd.

The subtitle states "legislative leaders call governor's move political." The article cites House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller as experts on the lineage of my family who suggest we have strong Republican ties while state Sen. George W. Della and the delegates that represent our district say we are friends of the governor.

But our family's ties to the Democratic Party go considerably beyond our relatively recent admiration for the message of the Republican party. Our grandfathers were longtime Democrats until their deaths. And I assume that our strong Republican ties do not intersect with the branch of our family tree that claims Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski as our second cousin.

The assertion that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto of S.B. 532 was political is ludicrous. We only met the governor on the campaign trail. We supported him with modest donations and provided him with a platform to present his views in our neighborhood in South Baltimore.

Mr. Ehrlich's veto has offered him no conceivable political gain. Instead, by doing the right thing, he has positioned himself for further Democratic opposition and attack.

Perhaps if our state senator and delegates would focus on the true ills of their district or perhaps exert a little leadership instead of engaging in petty politics of their own, we would all be better served.

Marc McFaul

Baltimore

The writer is a co-owner of the Ropewalk Tavern and the Firehorse Tavern.

Banning tobacco is really courageous

I wholeheartedly agree with the editorial calling for the General Assembly to override Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto of minimum standards for appliances ("Power down," Dec. 24). The Assembly does have the right "to act on its own to protect its citizens" in the absence of federal regulations.

However, if the Assembly is really interested in protecting us, not just grandstanding to show up the Republican governor, let them show real courage and, again in the absence of "federal action," make all tobacco products illegal.

Our leaders are always preaching of the dangers of smoking and the peril cigarettes pose to the children. Yet since their hypocrisy knows no bounds, they gladly accept millions of cigarette-generated tax dollars each year.

So, I call for the General Assembly to break their dependence on tobacco revenue and show some real bravery by safeguarding Maryland's citizens not only from power hungry ceiling fans, but also from Big Tobacco.

Carlos L. Castillo

Sykesville

Hospital residents also need empathy

In the editorial "Mr. Hinckley's visits" (Dec. 19) The Sun wrote, of John W. Hinckley Jr.: "It is said that the greatness of a nation should be measured by how it treats its least powerful people. Surely, Mr. Hinckley is our yardstick for compassion."

What about the mentally ill in our state hospitals who are not famous and their families?

The state has proposed to close Crownsville Hospital in Anne Arundel County and move its services to Spring Grove Hospital in Baltimore County. This will leave a huge, at times insurmountable, gap in available services to the citizens of Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert, St. Mary's and Prince George's counties.

Past "downsizing" or de-institutionalization efforts for residents of psychiatric facilities have resulted in an increase in the homeless population in our cities as well as an increase in the numbers of mentally ill persons in jails.

Is this the path on which we want to continue?

Richard Templeton

Glen Burnie

Can U.S. troops find source of CIA leak?

Our troops in Iraq have accomplished an outstanding mission in finding and capturing Saddam Hussein and other high-ranking Baathists.

Now they should be brought back to Washington for what appears to be a really simple task: Find and bring to justice the person(s) in the White House who apparently criminally violated the law by wantonly revealing the name of an undercover CIA agent and thereby endangering her sources and nullifying ongoing secret activities.

That job should take only a day or two. And then perhaps the troops they can get the names of the industry leaders, believed to include at least the leaders of Enron Corp. and Halliburton, who are alleged to have written the energy legislation which the administration is trying to foist on the American people.

Elliott Miller

York, Penn.

Lives of the Japanese count just as much

In the letter "A-bomb protesters don't value U.S. lives" (Dec. 21), a World War II veteran expressed his anger at the protesters of the Enola Gay exhibit which opened at the National Air and Space Museum's new annex.

The writer argued that dropping of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear devices was justified given that many thousands of Americans had died and that many thousands more Americans would have died trying to invade Japan.

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