Letters To The Editor


September 27, 2005

Reform panel falls short on voter ID, redistricting

THANK YOU FOR THE EDITORIAL "MIXED REVIEW" (SEPT. 21) IN response to the report of the private Commission on Federal Election Reform chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

I am in complete agreement with The Sun that "requiring photo IDs - no matter how easy they may be to acquire - discriminates by definition against" older people, African-Americans and poor people.

What is more, the report:

Does not call for direct election of the president, even though candidates now focus on only states with many electoral votes.

Does not call for nonpartisan redistricting, despite the growing lack of voter choice.

Does not address the lack of voting representation in Congress for American citizens who live in the District of Columbia.

On the good side is the report's attention to re-enfranchisement of former felons and the recommendation of some members of the commission that a provisional ballot cast in the incorrect precinct but in the correct jurisdiction should be counted.

This causes me to agree with The Sun that the report deserves a "mixed review."

Lu Pierson


The writer is president of the League of Women Voters of Maryland.

End foolish push for power dredging

In response to the article "Md. drops oyster dredging proposal" (Sept. 23), the sharp criticism of the idea was not limited to "environmentalists and scientists," as the article suggests, and there was hardly consensus among watermen to endorse the proposal.

Despite the professional judgment and scientific expertise that presumably exists at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the agency now proposes to "embark on some field trials to show we can expand power dredging responsibly."

In light of the larger Chesapeake Bay crisis, do we really need to waste more public resources on this issue?

Marguerite Whilden


The writer is founder of the Terrapin Institute.

Best shot for poor is to get out of city

In an editorial headlined "Neighborhood improvement" (Sept. 26), The Sun expresses righteous indignation regarding the plight of the 40,000 low-income renters who live in substandard housing in Baltimore.

As a city resident, I too am concerned about the plight of these residents, but please smell the coffee - the market dictates what will happen to the housing mix here, and frankly, it's not at all about poverty or poor people.

The best shot for low-income folks in Baltimore is to get out of Baltimore, and The Sun should stop advocating the engineering of ways to keep them here. If The Sun was really concerned about these poor folks, it would advocate their relocation and distribution to places such as White Marsh, Columbia, Owings Mills and Bel Air, where there are lots of service jobs, satisfactory schools, an aging but adequate housing stock, and improving transportation. Unfortunately, the sanctimonious drivel about the need to house the poor in the city has everything to do with the politics of poverty and race and almost nothing to do with helping poor people.

Market forces will continue to dictate that Baltimore is a terrible place to be poor, and continued local and federal policies that point otherwise will not be successful in this economy.

Carl Hyman


Lower hunting age harmful to children

The hunting industry's national campaign to overturn minimum hunting ages established by the states is irresponsible for two reasons ("In the hunt for younger recruits," Sept. 18).

First, hunters shoot and kill harmless animals for fun. Children who did to dogs and cats what Families Afield is teaching them to do to animals in the wild would be considered disturbed or delinquent. Hunting is legalized cruelty to animals, and teaching children to engage in it should be recognized for what it is: a form of child abuse.

Second, children under age 16 lack the emotional maturity and experienced judgment to handle a lethal weapon in the field safely and responsibly, even in the presence of an adult.

When the promoters of children hunting claim that a minimum age of 12 is too restrictive, they show a disturbing willingness to sacrifice our children for their agenda.

Patti Rogers


O's thank Ehrlich instead of the fans?

You'd think that all the losing seasons would sour me on the Orioles. The steroid stardom scandal didn't do me in. Nor did overpriced beer or overpaid athletes. Not even Sidney Ponson could make me quit. The straw that finally broke this fan's back was the team's full-page ad in the Sports section (Sept. 26).

This thinly veiled political endorsement thanks Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for helping the O's "ensure the long-term financial viability of baseball in Baltimore." It doesn't thank the fans who buy the tickets. It doesn't thank the citizens who built the stadium. It doesn't thank the families who spend way too much money to teach their kids about the O's. Instead, it thanks Mr. Ehrlich.

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