Letters To The Editor


July 04, 2005

The wrong place to put a center for troubled kids

The state claims that the regional reporting center for juveniles awaiting trial that it wants to locate in Baltimore's Old Goucher neighborhood is "modeled after a program in Chicago" ("Residents decry plans for juvenile center," June 27). But Maryland isn't planning to do the things that have made these centers successful in Chicago.

Chicago's reporting centers are community-based. Juveniles report to local, neighborhood-run facilities, helping to provide young offenders a stronger sense of community.

People familiar with this humane and promising model stress the importance of making juvenile justice institutions an integral part of the neighborhoods where offenders live.

By contrast, the facility proposed by the Department of Juvenile Services would take juvenile offenders from all over Baltimore and dump them in Old Goucher, a neighborhood where they are likely to have no connections.

Already overburdened by 40 social service providers generating 5,000 client visits a day to drug treatment centers, mental health clinics and a citywide parole and probation facility, Old Goucher is really not a good place to serve at-risk youths.

Maryland obviously needs effective alternatives to juvenile detention, but the facility proposed by the Department of Juvenile Services needs to be redesigned.

And it does not belong in Old Goucher.

Jennifer Martin


The writer is president of the Old Goucher Community Association.

Watching how little Congress achieves

I agree with The Sun's editorial "Shock and awful" (June 29) that lawmakers who stoop to churlish and childish behavior are knuckleheads. But I suspect contempt for voters is not their motivation.

Instead, I believe a complete disconnect exists between Congress and the rest of us beyond the Washington Beltway.

I know it's not a new phenomenon, but this Congress has taken its juvenile sandbox fight to an embarrassing level.

Do they really think that those of us with lives care who can hurl the best insult?

No one is keeping score on that score. But I, for one, am keeping close watch on how little real work is being accomplished.

Sarah O'Brien


City educators need backing of the brass

It is a shame that Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School Principal Principal Sharlette Jones-Carnegie is left to think, "We felt like we weren't good enough" ("After a year of work, pondering what went wrong," June 30).

Instead of replacing the top administrator and many of the staff, school officials would do well to ask themselves: "What could we have done to help?"

Any experienced educator will tell you that if children have poor nutrition or an unstable or unpredictable home life without structure, they will not be able to learn effectively.

It is time that our government and our society at large stop blaming the teachers.

Our schools are full of capable, caring, devoted professionals who work harder than most of our society realizes. But whether or not children learn is a result not just of the school's efforts.

Remember, it takes a whole village to raise a child.

Sandra Cryder


When will leadership of schools be rebuilt?

I see several poor-performing schools are being "rebuilt" by having the staff reapply for their jobs ("City teachers being replaced," June 30).

I have no way of knowing whether or not this move is truly warranted.

But it does raise a question: When is this kind of restructuring going to happen at North Avenue?

John Robinson


God can't be barred from state business

As Americans, we honor a concept known as the separation of church and state. This means what it says - that is, "separation of church and state" and not "separation of God and state."

Next time you're in a government building, say a prayer. Next time you're in a public school, say a prayer.

We should indeed keep the churches out of the state. We cannot keep God out.

Mark Hopkins


An appalling choice for EPA enforcement

I was appalled to read of President Bush's nomination of Granta Nakayama as chief of enforcement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("Firm of EPA nominee linked to Grace," June 25).

Even for the Bush administration, which has allowed a virtual revolving door between government regulatory agencies and the industries that they are supposed to regulate, this is an outrage.

As reported in The Sun, Mr. Nakayama is a partner in the law firm that is defending W. R. Grace & Co. in one of the EPA's largest prosecutions.

Despite the countless candidates who would be suitable for the job of chief of enforcement for the EPA (that is, lawyers with expertise in environmental law), President Bush has chosen to nominate a man with direct ties to a company being prosecuted by the EPA.

Mr. Nakayama's firm also has a well-documented history of fighting the EPA on behalf of polluting industries.

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