Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 14, 2006

Poll woes rob many of chance to vote

For a little while on Election Day, it felt like Florida or Ohio in Baltimore ("Electronic system beset by problems," Sept. 13).

After being turned away from the unopened polls in the morning, I was fortunate that I was able to return after work. But all day I thought about those who got discouraged, traveled too far to return or worked until after the polls closed.

We will never know the consequences for the election results of the disenfranchisement of many potential voters - particularly among the poor, the first-time voters, African-Americans and the working people of Baltimore.

Claudia Leight

Baltimore

New machines offer no privacy, security

After I came back from voting with the new machines, I felt like I had neon signs around me telling everyone whom I had voted for ("Electronic system beset by problems," Sept. 13). The machines offered no privacy.

And I'm praying that there isn't some teenager out there with the smarts to hack into these computers and mess with the vote count.

Let's put some kind of separation around the machines and give the voters a little privacy.

Mary H. Curran

Baltimore

I voted on Tuesday.

The voters were elbow-to-elbow and there were no curtains. So much for the secret ballot.

I'm not even going to get started on the Diebold voting machines and the lack of a paper trail.

Democracy at its finest. Sigh.

Pat Harcarik

Baltimore

Doing more to help the state's disabled

The Civil Rights Coalition, a statewide organization advocating the right of people with disabilities to be free from unnecessary institutionalization, appreciates The Sun's coverage of the gubernatorial candidates' performance at the recent forum on disability issues ("A state forum on disabilities segues into debate on city schools," Sept. 6).

As The Sun reported, the candidates agreed on the need to "move institutionalized residents into community-based housing" but did not offer specifics for reaching this goal.

We would like to offer a few suggestions that can help move Maryland forward:

The state now has a historic opportunity to obtain enhanced federal funding to help move institutionalized people with disabilities into appropriate community settings by applying for a grant through Medicaid's new "Money Follows the Person" program.

The state's bridge subsidy pilot program for affordable, accessible housing should be made permanent and directed to the jurisdictions in greatest need of temporary rental assistance for people with disabilities.

People with disabilities need access to consumer-directed personal-assistance services.

Community supports for people with disabilities must be significantly increased, both in quantity and quality.

Kimball Gray Virginia Knowlton Silver Spring

The writers are co-chairpersons of the Civil Rights Coalition.

Why criticize efforts to stop new attacks?

How is it that The Sun can run such a poignant story on its front page on Sunday about the thousands of people who personally experienced the horrors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks ("`I think we're getting hijacked,'" Sept. 10) - including photographs of the devastation and accounts of the last words of some victims - while it repeatedly criticizes the efforts by our government to monitor, track and maintain surveillance on those seeking to inflict a repeat of those horrors?

J. Shawn Alcarese

Joppa

More brutal nation undermines ideals

The America I believe in is a symbol of freedom. The America I believe in values every human life - those of citizens, immigrants and foreigners ("Bill would legalize harsh techniques of interrogation," Sept. 8).

The America I believe in would have a just government that does not lie to its citizens. The America I believe in does not practice torture and does not hand people over to countries that torture.

The America I believe in does not simply shrug its shoulders at the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of its policies and call them "collateral damage."

The America I believe in values peace and works for it every day.

The America I believe in has been absent for many years.

Instead, an America that tortures, lies, kills, steals, neglects and insults exists.

Instead, an America that spies on its own citizens exists. An America that kills innocent people in foreign lands and thinks nothing of it exists.

An America that is willing to desecrate the memory of those who died in a national tragedy to further the administration's policy goals exists.

An America that neglects its own people, whether they are the wounded from an unjust war or the wounded from natural disasters, exists.

An America where not enough people are outraged by these things exists.

Is this the America that people want?

Jeannette Marxen

Harrisonville

Don't tell terrorists our airport tactics

I think it is a wonderful innovation to have airport workers trained to watch travelers for suspicious movements ("Miami airport to train all 35,000 workers to spot suspicious people," Sept. 8).

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