Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 24, 2006

Limits on lobbying hinder regents' work

The rule prohibiting members of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents from being paid to "assist or represent any party in any matter before the General Assembly" is a prime example of politics overcoming intelligence ("Regents' lobby activity faulted," March 21).

Of course, regents should recuse themselves from any business dealings with the university system, but to suggest that they should not continue the very relationships that made them valuable regents in the first place is ludicrous.

How sad that we have a rule that may prevent or inhibit talented people such as former Gov. Marvin Mandel and Regents Chairman David H. Nevins from doing their jobs while volunteering to use their experience to advance higher education in Maryland.

It further strains intelligence to suggest that being a regent gives someone any special sway over the legislature. That's a college president's unrealized dream.

Yes, being a friend of the governor might help, but a regent? Get serious.

What will happen if the rule isn't changed is that we could lose two effective board members and other board members might feel compelled to resign.

And the only people willing to serve in the future will be know-nothings.

James L. Fisher

Baltimore

The writer is president emeritus of Towson University.

Tighten the rules for Board of Regents

True to form, former Gov. Marvin Mandel has again reared his unbecoming political head ("Lobby work questioned," March 19).

When Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. appointed Mr. Mandel to the Board of Regents, I was deeply disturbed and took issue with it ("Making Mandel a regent revives old-style politics," letters, March 7, 2003).

And The Sun's article again mentions the similar charges against the current chairman of the Board of Regents, David H. Nevins, which had been reported previously (e.g., "Head of regents board is target of complaint," March 9).

These charges certainly have to make one wonder where the interests of Mr. Mandel and Mr. Nevins really lie - with their responsibilities in the operation of the state's higher-education system or with their own personal and professional gains.

Since it now appears that they may have violated the state's lobbying laws, I strongly suggest that Mr. Mandel and Mr. Nevins consider voluntarily taking a leave of absence from the Board of Regents to avoid becoming not only a liability to the board but also an embarrassment to Mr. Ehrlich and university system Chancellor William E. Kirwan.

If anyone should be well-versed in the limits of the lobbying law, it should be Mr. Mandel and Mr. Nevins, who have been widely involved in a variety of political and business dealings.

I challenge Mr. Ehrlich and Mr. Kirwan to take stronger measures to establish clear boundaries within which the regents must function.

Quinton D. Thompson

Towson

Resigning might be Dixon's best choice

So, City Council President Sheila Dixon begins her defense on the landslide of ethics charges by stating that this is merely a conspiracy to destroy her character ("Dixon disparages probe, sees effort to discredit her," March 23).

Ms. Dixon would do everyone a great favor by stepping down and removing herself from her role as a public servant.

I'm sure she could easily find employment on her terms in the private sector, given the way business is conducted today.

Steven Sutor

Baltimore

Does a higher law protect politicians?

Why are state prosecutors investigating City Council President Sheila Dixon over allegations that no-bid contracts for city work were awarded to her former campaign chairman's firm and how other city contracts were awarded to a firm that employs the council president's sister ("Dixon disparages probe, sees effort to discredit her," March 23)?

Don't these state prosecutors realize that there is a higher law that applies to Maryland politicians?

That law goes like this: "It's been going on for years."

R. L. Roberts

Timonium

Protesters sought to deliver message

I appreciated seeing a photograph on the front page of The Sun of several demonstrators carrying a commemorative coffin in a protest on the third-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq ("`Strategy is working' in Iraq," March 21).

However, I do not believe the clichM-i that "a picture is worth a thousand words." So I must express disappointment that The Sun had no other coverage of what was described under the photograph as a "war protest march in Washington."

As one of the organizers of the protest, I believe many readers would have wanted an account as to what happened.

The intent of the March on the Pentagon, which was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, was to deliver the coffin to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's office as a symbol of the death and destruction caused by the disastrous war in Iraq.

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