Letters To The Editor

July 02, 2004

Court's decision blocks access to key information

As an attorney who has argued and won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court, I must confess to being puzzled.

Just a few years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit was so urgent that it was out of the question that she wait until President Bill Clinton was out of office before proceeding.

But on June 24, the court ruled that the Bush administration may try to convince a judge that it would be just too darned inconvenient to require the vice president to disclose whether this administration's energy policy was bought and paid for by the likes of former Enron CEO Kenneth L. Lay ("Justices refuse to order Cheney to release details of energy panel," June 25).

The court thereby effectively denied extremely vital information to the voters before Election Day.

Sheldon H. Laskin

Baltimore

The Supreme Court totally missed the point that honest government demands disclosure of the records of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force ("Justices refuse to order Cheney to release details of energy panel," June 25).

The Bush administration has presented an energy policy that rewards President Bush's corporate donors with tax cuts and incentives.

Voters need to know before the election who sat on the energy panel to determine if Mr. Bush put his donors ahead of the welfare of the nation.

Richard L. Ottenheimer

Baltimore

Mayor's remarks embarrass city

Baltimore made national news on Tuesday evening over the mayor's statement in which he opined that President Bush's policies are a greater threat than the al-Qaida terrorists ("O'Malley takes the heat for remarks about Bush," July 1).

I find it unfortunate the great city of Baltimore has been nationally embarrassed by a mayor who speaks to its citizens' dark side to wage his personal, partisan war against our president.

I guess you could say Martin O'Malley has given Baltimore a political black eye.

Richard L. Spence

Catonsville

O'Malley gave voice to public's concerns

Kudos to Baltimore's Mayor Martin O'Malley for his statement, "I remember after the attacks of Sept. 11, as mayor of the city, I was very, very worried about al-Qaida and still am. But I'm even more worried about the actions and inactions of the Bush administration" ("O'Malley takes the heat for remarks about Bush," July 1). I concur wholeheartedly.

In Iraq, Mr. Bush's doctrine of pre-emption, a policy based on a pack of false information, has cost our country the lives of more than 800 men and women and countless injuries (which in far too many instances have resulted in the loss of limbs) as well as billions of dollars of taxpayers' money that could and should have been spent on our country's collapsing infrastructure.

And I hasten to add, our country is less safe than ever.

Harry F. Cooper

Elkton

I was very pleased to hear Mayor Martin O'Malley express concerns that I think a lot of people have. I, too, am more concerned about Bush administration policies and actions than I am about al-Qaida.

President Bush has led the media, which in turn have led us, down the path of his agenda. Many people have, until recently, been willing to follow without question.

But thanks to people such as Mr. O'Malley and filmmaker Michael Moore, we are learning to ask questions ourselves.

Frank Pratka

Baltimore

O'Malley's record is city's real worry

I am personally more worried about Mayor Martin O'Malley's actions and failures to act than about either President Bush or al-Qaida ("O'Malley takes the heat for remarks about Bush," July 1).

Under Mr. O'Malley, city taxes have increased and services have decreased; the school system has been hemorrhaging millions of dollars and student performance has gotten so bad that students who fail get a second shot at their exams to beef up graduation rates; the police administration has been investigated for lapses, with one former chief convicted for corruption; crime is still rampant and members of the City Council are under investigation by the U.S. Attorney for expense-account irregularities.

Perhaps if the mayor spent more time working on Baltimore and less time talking, al-Qaida might eclipse Mr. O'Malley on my "worry radar."

Douglas Dribben

Woodstock

Federal role in fight against hate crimes

In his column "Expanding federal hate-crime laws - for no good reason" (Opinion * Commentary, June 22), Steve Chapman mischaracterizes the pending federal legislation on hate crimes, the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA).

The goal of the act is to strengthen federal, state and local government efforts to address these particularly important crimes. And Mr. Chapman fails to mention the central point of the legislation - which is to eliminate overly restrictive obstacles to federal involvement in hate-crime cases.

Yes, the majority of hate crimes are handled at the state and local level, but under this bill, the Department of Justice could assist when bias violence occurs because of the victim's sexual orientation, gender or disability.

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