Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 24, 2004

County leaders ignore need for new high school

After reading The Sun's article "Proposal excludes new county high school" (Sept. 22), many parents, legislators and concerned members of the public are going to be disappointed that our Baltimore County executive, school board president and school superintendent have refused to support a much-needed new high school between Towson and Perry Hall.

There is money in the proposed school budget for land acquisition, but the school system stresses that it is not for any specific project.

And a few powerful individuals do not seem to be interested in public input, or even the county school board's own report on the need to alleviate the obvious high school overcrowding in the growth area of Northeast Baltimore County.

Walter Hayes

Parkville

The writer chairs the Northeast Area Advisory Council of the Baltimore County Public Schools.

CBS admits mistake; when will president?

Dan Rather and CBS News have been vilified for airing the report on President Bush's military service ("CBS retracts bulk of Bush story," Sept. 21).

CBS relied on "faulty intelligence," which was a mistake, and it has apologized for relying on the documents it used.

Having based the war in Iraq on "faulty intelligence," it would certainly be fitting for President Bush and company to offer such an apology also, since that was a colossal mistake that has cost America many lives, many dollars and the respect of the international community, and has unleashed more terrorism than had existed before the war was launched.

Florence Smelkinson

Baltimore

All religious leaders should decry killing

The Islamic group Tawhid and Jihad, allegedly headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is quoted in The Sun's article "A U.S. hostage is killed in Iraq, militants say" (Sept. 21) as claiming, of the beheading of Eugene Armstrong, that "cutting the heads [off] the criminal infidels is implementing the orders of our lord."

Where are the cries of outrage and condemnation at such blasphemy from the Islamic clerics? Why are the mullahs and ayatollahs and other religious leaders silent about such claims? Why do few of them have the courage to condemn cowardly murderers who act in the name of their religion?

No religion - not Islam or Christianity or Judaism or any other system based on belief in a supreme being and holy writ - calls for or justifies the killing of innocents. No "lord" - not Allah or God or Yahweh - justifies slaughtering noncombatants to achieve a goal.

Why don't the leaders of all religions clearly and forcefully tell their co-religionists that those who murder children and women and noncombatants are not doing the work of the Lord but of Satan, are not "martyrs" but murderers, and are not welcomed into paradise but will burn in the fires of hell?

Harris Factor

Columbia

Nader scores victory for access to ballot

In placing Ralph Nader on the November ballot, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled unconstitutional the provision requiring petition sheets be labeled with the name of a single county ("Nader placed on Nov. ballot," Sept. 21).

The overturned provision would have invalidated signatures from voters who signed the "wrong" sheet, in effect disenfranchising them.

This decision builds on the Maryland Green Party's successful 2003 lawsuit against the discriminatory two-tier nominating process for third-party candidates. It is another victory for Maryland voters, and further diminishes the hegemony of the Democratic and Republican parties over the electoral process.

Craig Herud

Aberdeen

For national reform of Electoral College

I was pleased to see the editorial in The Sun outlining the various options in the heated debate about the electoral system ("Electoral mischief," Sept. 20).

I favor the retention of the Electoral College after reform of the system nationwide to mirror the Maine and Nebraska models, where the electors are nominated by the majority vote in the congressional districts, with the two senatorial electors selected based on the popular vote in the state.

I believe this approach fixes the winner-take-all system, which, in a state such as Maryland, basically disenfranchises minority-party voters.

These reforms should be mandated by the federal government, because we must utilize a uniform approach across the country.

Sam Davis

Towson

System of electors can distort the vote

Clarence Page makes an interesting point about having the Electoral College determine who wins the White House: "Former Vice President Al Gore's losses in Arkansas and West Virginia in the 2000 presidential election ... are widely blamed on the [National Rifle Association's] opposition. A win in either state would have earned him the presidency" ("Now that we've said goodbye to a gun ban that wasn't," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 16).

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