Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 23, 2006

Special-ed edict just isn't realistic

I fail to see much logic in federal District Judge Marvin J. Garbis' demand that the city schools make up 90,000 hours in services owed to special education students this year ("City schools fail to provide ordered special-ed makeup," March 15).

We clinicians are now so burdened with paperwork to please the court, the Maryland State Department of Education and North Avenue (much of it redundant and constantly changing in scope) that I find myself physically sick at the end of each week over all this minutiae, which is not associated with providing a high level of therapy to my students.

I have one suggestion for Judge Garbis, state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, the lawyers for the city schools and the Disability Law Center, and anyone else who is making financial or political gain from this case: Go back to school, get a master's in speech pathology and come tend directly to the needs of our inner-city children.

The children themselves are worth the experience.

As the saying goes, "If you're not part of the solution ... "

Barbara Cummings

Baltimore

The writer is a speech therapist for Baltimore's public schools.

Nothing unethical in fighting tax hike

So state Sen. Larry E. Haines of Carroll County opposes tax increases that are also probably opposed by the great majority of his constituents, and The Sun thinks this merits the kind of hatchet job it published Saturday ("Haines defends second career," March 18)? Is this The Sun's idea of investigative journalism?

First of all, where's the big secret here? Mr. Haines opposes just about all tax increases, all the time, and this is well known to just about everybody.

Supporting tax credits to ease the burden of increased property tax assessments and opposing a 1 percent real estate transfer tax are completely in character for him and, what's more, are just the kinds of things he was elected to do.

So what if his real estate agency benefits indirectly from keeping taxes under control? So does almost every business and homeowner in Carroll County.

The fact that The Sun's reporter has an agenda is evident from the people she quoted in the article.

First, there are the usual suspects - namely, representatives of tax-and-spend liberal groups such as Common Cause and Progressive Maryland.

And then, curiously, there's Baltimore County Councilman T. Bryan McIntire.

I say "curiously" because Mr. McIntire doesn't even represent Carroll County.

Mr. McIntire thinks a 1 percent transfer tax is "innocuous."

Since that tax would add $4,000 to the settlement costs on a $400,000 home, I doubt most homebuyers would agree.

Phil Manger

Cockeysville

Haines does face conflict of interest

It is about time someone reins in state Sen. Larry E. Haines ("Haines defends second career," March 18).

I was amazed when he was elected and went to the state Senate and kept operating his real estate brokerage in Carroll County. It was such a blatant conflict of interest, particularly in a rapidly developing county.

Mr. Haines certainly should not be allowed to vote, or even discuss, bills on anything that affects real estate or associated businesses in the county.

Where is the county Board of Realtors? Why are they not questioning his ethics?

Jo Magrogan

Catonsville

The writer is a former member of the Carroll County Board of Realtors.

Are officials ever held accountable?

When New Orleans was drowning on national television, President Bush told Michael Brown, then the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

And now, after Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. announced a debilitating electricity price increase of 72 percent, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. praised his Public Service Commission chairman, Kenneth D. Schisler, saying, "He's done a very good job" ("PSC head, lobbyist shared strategy," March 18.)

What exactly are the requirements for doing a good job in government these days?

And is anyone held accountable for anything?

John Patterson

Towson

Fear of guns makes criminals move on

How wonderful it was to read in "Fatal shooting at Cross Keys" (March 18) that, finally, someone fought back against those who prey every day on the innocent.

This shooting was a perfect example of what needs to happen if there is to be any hope of ridding the city of such thugs. The police can't do it by themselves.

However, I believe The Sun's article missed the true story.

What should have been stressed was the fact that the victim fought back with his legally possessed gun, which is the only thing the criminals understand.

Instead, the article focused on how "this type of thing never happens here" and that "this is such a quiet place."

You can write that type of story on almost anything, anywhere. But this time, the victim fought back, something that is very rare in Baltimore. And what's even more rare is the fact that he used his legally possessed gun to do so.

This is something that the gun-control crowd would have people believe doesn't work.

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