Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 26, 2006

Campaign reporting betrays a real bias

The Sun's reporting on the departure of Mayor Martin O'Malley's campaign manager ("O'Malley replaces campaign manager for primary election," May 22) illustrates that the newspaper needs to be more balanced in its reporting of this year's important elections, as this reporting stands in stark contrast to The Sun's coverage of a change in the leadership of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's campaign for the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

In the recent report about Mr. O'Malley's campaign, The Sun quoted a spokesman for Mr. O'Malley as saying that the change in the mayor's campaign was "the right decision." The Sun also quoted a political consultant saying that the change was "not a big deal."

The Sun was not so positive when Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's initial campaign manager resigned several months ago ("Steele campaign official resigns," Feb. 18).

In that article, The Sun quoted a Republican source stating that the lieutenant governor's change was not "evidence of a sinking ship." It also related unsubstantiated speculation from a University of Maryland professor that "the changes might reflect tension between the staff of Steele's lieutenant governor's office and his campaign."

Furthermore, the article about the changes in the lieutenant governor's campaign staff quoted the executive director for the Maryland Democratic Party and a spokesman for Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin's Senate campaign.

The O'Malley article, on the other hand, does not contain a statement from anyone from the Maryland Republican Party or from Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign.

This example of The Sun's obvious disparity in treatment between candidates of the two major political parties is more evidence that it has a long way to go in ensuring balanced, evenhanded coverage of this year's elections.

Douglas W. Thiessen

West River

The writer is a volunteer for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign.

Ehrlich's tolerance of guns is relevant

I must disagree with letter writer Sanford Abrams ("Assault weapon ad just a political ploy," letters, May 20): The record of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. on assault weapons is a legitimate campaign issue.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's campaign ads are critical of Mr. Ehrlich's stand in favor of sales of these dangerous military-style semiautomatic weapons.

The fact is that Mr.'s Ehrlich's people worked behind the scenes to kill Maryland legislation to prohibit assault-rifle sales, and earlier in his career, as a congressman, Mr. Ehrlich also voted to repeal a federal assault weapons ban.

The governor's record shows that he does not believe sales of assault weapons should be restricted.

Matt Fenton

Lutherville

The writer is a member of the board of CeaseFire Maryland Inc.

Class-action lawsuits only benefit lawyers

Plaintiffs rarely receive much from settlements of class-action lawsuits, and the settlement of a lawsuit against Verizon detailed in The Sun's article "Many Verizon customers to receive $7 credits" (May 24) is just another case in point.

As a result of the $26 million settlement, Verizon customers will receive a whopping $7 credit on a future bill, while the lawyers for the groups of plaintiffs will receive $9.2 million.

Over time, Verizon will undoubtedly recoup the $26 million in the form of higher costs to consumers, which raises the obvious question: What is really the point of the lawsuit?

If the answer is as obvious to you as it is to me, the next time you receive a letter asking you to be a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit, simply throw it away.

Mark Haas

Timonium

Influx of jobs taxes Harford's facilities

The perceptions of the Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. vice president presented in the article "Contractor opens offices in Harford" (May 19) were right on the mark: Despite the proliferation of McMansions and golf courses, Harford County faces a great many quality-of-life issues. Our roads are awful. Our schools are falling apart. We have no public swimming pools or beaches. There is no safe place to bicycle. Despair in the Aberdeen-Edgewood area is a breeding ground for gang violence. The list seems endless.

The good-old-boy political system entrenched in Bel Air has ensured that the developers get the cream and the citizens get the curds and whey.

While I am delighted that the results of the base-realignment process will increase the resale value of my home, I would much rather see the amenities and infrastructure of Harford County upgraded to at least late-20th-century standards.

I do hope that the people at Booz Allen and the other companies that will relocate here will give county government a kick in the rear.

Perhaps Harford County can then move into the 21st century.

Paul S. Schatz

Bel Air

The writer is a former president of the Harford County Education Association.

Giving too much ink to health of a horse

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