Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 28, 2004

Insist leaders find funds for city's schools

With regard to The Sun's report that state officials, city officials and officials of Baltimore's public schools all contend they can't comply with Baltimore Circuit Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan's ruling that millions of dollars more must be allocated to the city schools this year ("Order to boost city school funds meets resistance," Sept. 22), I suggest that the people of Baltimore remind all city and state elected officials that:

They work for citizens, who pay their salary and have repeatedly demanded a solution to this issue.

It is clear that improved education funding means lower social costs down the road.

It is their responsibility as public servants to figure a way to overcome partisanship and get together for a solution that meets the court's mandate.

Our elected officials can figure out how to fund the Maryland Stadium Authority, tax breaks for developers and put taxes on cell phones but, when it comes to improving education for city kids, the answer is "No can do"?

To these elected officials, we should respond with a phrase from Donald Trump: "You're fired!"

Bob Heck

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Roland Park Elementary/ Middle School Parent Teacher Association.

Prohibiting drugs hasn't helped at all

It never ceases to amaze me how rabid drug warriors can look at the facts, over and over again, and still reach the wrong conclusion. The column "City can't retreat in war on drugs" (Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 22) is just more of the same.

When will these fanatics wake up and look at the facts? We have been living with prohibition of certain drugs for 70 years now, and prohibition has done nothing but make the problem worse.

Drugs are no harder to get than if they were legal, they're just more expensive. Yet, over and over, the fanatical anti-drug crusaders look past the facts and make appeals to our "common sense" or, even more telling, our "faith."

It is quite obvious that these people are basing their position not on any scientific facts, but on religious grounds.

William Smith

Baltimore

A victory for right to dignified death

We applaud Thursday's ruling by the Florida Supreme Court in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case ("Judges strike down law keeping Fla. woman alive," Sept. 24).

Courts repeatedly have ruled in favor of disconnecting Ms. Schiavo's life support, yet Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature subverted Ms. Schiavo's right to a peaceful, dignified death.

This decision says that it's wrong for government to violate its own rules. And the ruling strikes another blow against those who would impose their morality on others.

Attorney General John S. Ashcroft suffered a resounding defeat in Oregon in May when he attempted to run roughshod over that state's right to regulate medical care.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Oregon's Death With Dignity law, and quashed Mr. Ashcroft's attempts to exploit a diabolical interpretation of drug-abuse laws and to send Drug Enforcement Administration agents after doctors acting in accordance with that law.

Dr. Lawrence D. Egbert

Baltimore

The writer is medical director of the Final Exit Network.

Trickle-down cuts hurt basic services

As The Sun's article on proposed deep health care budget cuts in Maryland revealed once again, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the national Republican Party see drastic reductions in vital services to our most vulnerable citizens as the answer to all fiscal shortfalls at the state level ("Md. ponders deep health care cuts," Sept. 23).

As the leaking of this information shows, the Republicans' discredited and misguided trickle-down philosophy has taken an ironic turn.

When the federal government starves the states in the disingenuous name of improving government's economic responsibility while it provides massive tax cuts for those at only the highest economic ranks in our society, the result is an increase not only in the problems immediately faced by the ever-growing impoverished sector of our nation but also an increase in short and long-term costs for society.

Let's face and treat these issues at both the state and national levels now with adequate funding or pay a much higher price in the near future.

Honesty about these problems is a must -- even in an election year.

Jane C. Wehrle

Baltimore

Cynical effort to stop debate on Iraq war?

Why does The Sun continue to print Cal Thomas' columns?

His latest calumny equates presidential candidate John Kerry's criticism of President Bush's policies in Iraq to aiding and abetting America's enemies ("Aiding the enemy, again," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 22).

Is it possible for Mr. Thomas to sound more like Sen. Joseph McCarthy? What's next, will he allude to a secret list of traitors in the breast pocket of his coat?

Perhaps Mr. Thomas is unaware that in America it is not just the right but the duty of every citizen to question the government and hold our leaders accountable. Indeed, that's what makes America great.

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