Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 13, 2005

Why does state choose leaders of local schools?

I applaud the efforts of some Baltimore County state senators to change the process for appointing school board members ("County school board bill debated," Feb. 10). However, the more fundamental question is not which state officials should choose school members, but why state government should play any role at all.

During my time as the Baltimore County executive's education liaison, I cannot tell you how many seemingly informed citizens told me that they thought the county executive ran the school system.

In fact, while county taxpayers pay for much of the school system's budget, their local political leaders have no formal role in appointing school board members or hiring school superintendents.

This arrangement not only confuses citizens, it diffuses accountability, allowing various parties to deflect responsibility for poor performance.

Across the country, there is a trend to give more control over school systems to mayors and county executives, who are most accountable to local parents, taxpayers and voters.

Children in Baltimore County and across Maryland would be best served by a similar process.

Matthew H. Joseph

Towson

The writer is a former education liaison for Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.

Cutting services vital to moms and babies

I was saddened to learn of the budget cuts that necessitated staff reductions at the Laurence G. Paquin Middle/High School ("Less support for young moms," Feb. 6). What a pity to diminish the services so vital for these students.

On the occasions that I visited the Paquin School, I found an educational facility that was well-run, orderly, spotlessly clean and filled with polite, enthusiastic students.

More important, I sensed that the environment was loving and productive.

For years, the program at Paquin School has enabled young moms not only to complete their education but also to hold on to their self-esteem and hope for the future.

Their babies could only benefit from their moms' growth and from the training and support offered to their dads and grandparents.

Mary Ann Knab

Parkton

Lambasting Ehrlich benefits the mayor

Will The Sun's editorial board please give me a break?

The rumors surrounding Mayor Martin O'Malley's alleged infidelity have been circulating for years. We've heard the rumors on radio stations, Web sites and through various other outlets for quite some time. For The Sun to be so outraged about this clearly illustrates its bias against Republicans in Maryland ("Dirty tricks redux," editorial, Feb. 10).

Discussing a widely known rumor is hardly a "dirty trick." And does The Sun really think Republican activists were the only ones to discuss these rumors?

The dirty trick is how Mr. O'Malley, with help from The Sun, turned this entire incident around to lay blame on Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

But Mr. Ehrlich is right not to apologize.

Just as there is no proof to corroborate the rumors about Mr. O'Malley, there is also no proof that the rumors were orchestrated by the governor and his advisers.

Brendan Marr

Columbia

Governor owes us an apology, inquiry

Why should we believe Joseph F. Steffen Jr. as he denies the governor knew anything about the smear campaign he was inflicting on Mayor Martin O'Malley ("Steffen worked in dark behind political scenes," Feb. 10)?

He's already been caught lying to suit his purposes. Why wouldn't he lie again to protect the governor?

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. not only should apologize, he should submit to an independent investigation to find out what's going on in his office.

Let's stop the politics of personal destruction.

Adam Dray

Owings Mills

Claim of ignorance isn't very plausible

If you believe that the tactics of the governor's hatchet man, Joseph F. Steffen Jr., were not known by the governor, you may still believe in the tooth fairy.

And if you read far enough into the article "Today, apology drains regret of responsibility" (Feb. 10), you would see that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s press secretary, Greg Massoni, when told of the drain on Martin O'Malley's family, including his children, grinned, cocked his head to the side and wiped away an imaginary tear.

This is the stuff that Mr. Ehrlich and his regime are made of.

Angela Beltram

Baltimore

An ego contest of prima donnas?

Do we really have to continue with this poorly scripted reality TV show that pits one vain Republican politician against another equally vain Democrat ("O'Malley denounced rumors," Feb. 10)? Do the people of Maryland have a stake in this, or are we mere props for this ego contest?

The governor snubs his nose at the press while a shackled inmate is murdered on a prison bus. Baltimore's murder rate continues to rise while the city struggles with poverty and drugs. But the name of the game now is strictly spin and how everything relates to the next race for governor.

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