Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 12, 2006

Report on firings just partisan politics

I am shocked, shocked, shocked to find out that the legislative committee investigating the Ehrlich administration's hiring practices has released its draft report just one month before Election Day. And yet The Sun (as well as other news outlets) reports this as a news story, claiming that only Republicans see it as an "election-year smear" ("Firings under Ehrlich violate rights and Md. law, panel says," Oct. 10).

How about calling it a disgraceful, taxpayer-financed campaign ad?

Just add this report to the huge quantities of ink spilled and trees destroyed to cover this hirings dispute charade, and you really have politics at its worst.

But is it really any surprise that a new governor, after wrestling some 30 years of control away from the opposing party, would want to make some changes and appoint individuals who support and agree with him?

Frank Maisano

Gambrills

Obstinacy delayed the firing findings

Republican members of the bipartisan State Employee Rights and Protections Committee are protesting the timing of the release of a report that finds that the Ehrlich administration did indeed fire state workers "based on political considerations in violation of constitutional rights and state law" ("Firings under Ehrlich violated rights and Md. Law, panel says," Oct. 10).

Perhaps they should aim their complaints at the administration, which failed to disclose the whereabouts of Joseph F. Steffen Jr. as he dodged a subpoena for months, even as he was in regular contact with members of the administration.

Even now, other members of the administration are being forced to testify by subpoena.

If the governor truly believes he was within his rights to fire these workers, why do any of his administration's members need to be compelled to testify?

Tim Eastman

Baltimore

Israel is also guilty of killing civilians

Aaron Resnick rightly expressed concern about the terrorist activities of Hezbollah, which "killed dozens of Israeli civilians and sent hundreds of thousands into shelters or fleeing northern Israel this summer" ("When will EU shun Hezbollah terrorists?" Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 6).

But I have to wonder: Why he did not condemn the terrorist attacks on Lebanese civilians?

The New York Times reported Friday that "since the war between Israel and Hezbollah ended in August, nearly three people have been wounded or killed each day by cluster bombs Israel dropped in the waning days of the war, and officials now say it will take more than a year to clear the region of them."

Yes, we must condemn the terror tactics of Hezbollah, but also those of any group or state that engages in attacks on civilians.

It is wrong to attack Israelis with rockets or Lebanese with cluster bombs.

We must be unbiased in protesting human rights violations.

Max Obuszewski

Baltimore

Judge's leniency sends wrong signal

After reading "Lawyer who hid drugs gets 1 year of home detention" (Oct. 6), I have to wonder: When did the courts decide a convicted felon doesn't have to pay a fine because he cannot afford one?

When did the courts decide that "irrational panic" was a justifiable excuse for committing a crime?

If U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett in fact found it "really distressing" that the crime was committed by an officer of the court, sentencing the defendant to jail time with a fine would have sent a message that lawyers are not above the law.

Robert Brown

Columbia

State shares blame for child's death

I disagree with the decision by the Baltimore state's attorney's office to charge Shanda Raynette Harris with "reckless endangerment" in her son's death ("Mother of boy killed in July is charged with endangerment," Oct. 6).

Really, on whose hands is the blood of 11-year-old Irvin Harris, in addition to those of his alleged killer, Melvin Lorenzo Jones Jr.?

And isn't our fervor to punish the mother for allowing her son frequent contact with Mr. Jones a bit of an overreach?

It's true that Ms. Harris may be at fault in this horrible event. But is not the government just as much at fault for granting Mr. Jones his freedom, even after his second conviction for sexually abusing a child?

Does the blame for this not rest on the state?

For if the state had stricter mandatory punishments for men such as Mr. Jones, would he have been out on the streets in the first place, and thus free to exploit the ignorance of people such as Irvin Harris and his mother?

But it is so much easier to nail Irvin's mother to the wall than to admit she only helped finish the heinous job the government started.

Our elected officials and the justice system they control have as much to answer for in this deadly mess as Ms. Harris does.

Nick Taxia

Ellicott City

Time for city to join fight to clear the air

I recently returned from a two-week jaunt to Europe, where I visited Germany and Austria. I spent most of my vacation hacking and gagging through the smoky haze wafting out of street-side cafes.

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