Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

February 18, 2006

Dixon isn't alone in facing ethics woes

As a critic of both parties and former field director for City Council President Sheila Dixon's 2003 re-election campaign, I question the ethics and motives of some Sun reporters and their sources.

For instance, the writers of the article "Political baggage grows heavier" (Feb. 12), as well as of others on the subject, seem to forget that The Sun reported in July 2003 that 10 of 19 members of the City Council at that time had hired relatives as paid assistants and that all had accepted free parking passes and entry to movies and events at 1st Mariner Arena ("Practices, perks of council members raise ethics issues," July 27, 2003).

They also seem to forget that ethics officials ruled in October 2003 that all council members violated ethics rules, not just Ms. Dixon ("Ethics Board finds council violated law with passes," Oct. 16, 2003).

While Ms. Dixon's votes on the Board of Estimates on contracts that benefited her sister's employer (not her sister directly), may be questionable and possibly unethical, let's not forget her continued support of critical issues that empower communities and benefit the younger generation.

And let's also not forget that an overwhelming majority of voters in both the primary and general elections cast ballots for Ms. Dixon knowing very well they might be choosing her as the next mayor of this great city.

Hassan Allen-Giordano

Baltimore

The writer is political director of the Youth Empowerment Movement.

Stop tolerating Schaefer's behavior

If state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer's behaviors had occurred in any other workplace environment, he would have been terminated immediately ("Schaefer raises eyebrows," Feb. 16).

It is time for Maryland voters and legislators to step up and put an end to what has become acceptable inappropriate behavior and comments from the comptroller.

Frankly, I am embarrassed for the citizens of Maryland - not because we have a former governor and current comptroller who objectifies female coworkers and speaks out against our non-English-speaking residents and residents living with AIDS, but because we have all tolerated his discriminatory behavior for far too long.

Craig Kile

Baltimore

Port Administration runs region's port

The Sun's headline "UAE firm to run 6 U.S. ports" (Feb. 12) is misleading with regard to the purchase of a British company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., commonly referred to as P&O Ports, which did become the property of Dubai Ports World (DPW) of the United Arab Emirates on Feb. 13.

The story states that P&O "runs Baltimore's public terminals." That's not true.

P&O Ports is a stevedoring company that has competitively bid contracts with the Maryland Port Commission to perform certain duties at its public terminals in the port of Baltimore.

A stevedore company is one that hires longshoremen to load and unload cargo from ships.

Therefore, that corporate transaction means that UAE's Dubai Ports World will be the firm bidding competitively for contracts to handle the containers and other cargoes coming off or loading on to ships in the six ports where P&O Ports has contracts. Baltimore is one of these ports.

The Maryland Port Administration will continue to "run" the port of Baltimore's public terminals and be the spokesman for the port in general.

The private terminal operators will continue to run their terminals.

Helen Delich Bentley

Lutherville

The writer is a former member of Congress and a consultant to the Port of Baltimore.

Work Steele opposes could stop suffering

I read with dismay about Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's remarks to Baltimore's Jewish leaders, for which he has rightly apologized ("Steele apologizes for stem cell remarks," Feb. 11).

In addition to the insensitive remarks Mr. Steele made, however, I have another source of worry: The Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate is clearly against expansive stem cell research that could save many lives or ease the suffering of people who have Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and other devastating diseases.

Mr. Steele's position is worrisome because it is based on the limited view of reality that he and his more extreme supporters on the religious right hold about stem cell research.

However, his views on the issue are even more troubling because they stem from the moral superiority he and his ultraconservative religious supporters feel toward those who do not share their beliefs and values.

My message to Mr. Steele and his extremist supporters is simply this: Citizens such as myself who favor moving ahead with stem cell research love our children and our parents, believe in goodness and righteousness, and truly care about our fellow citizens and this country, whether we are members of a church or not.

We have a host of values that Mr. Steele and his supporters all too willingly dismiss as immoral or selfish.

And one more thing Mr. Steele should realize: We vote.

Stephen Siegforth

Baltimore

Congress must curb power of president

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