Letters To The Editor


October 24, 2006

Community activists key to city's renewal

The Reservoir Hill Improvement Council (RHIC) appreciated Eric Siegel's column on Project SCOPE (Selling City-Owned Properties Efficiently) ("Slow pace of renovations hurts house-selling program," Oct. 19).

The RHIC values its relationships with city personnel and has had the opportunity to work with many dedicated, hardworking city employees.

However, the article leaves the impression that problems existed and the city responded. What it overlooks is the role of active city residents who brought the city's attention to the vacant house issue and advocated the changes the article identified.

As the article indicates, the record was quite mixed on whether SCOPE houses were being rehabbed.

RHIC monitored the program, prioritized properties for legal action and advocated stepped-up monitoring by the city, a process that led to the city taking some actions.

As a result of this advocacy, the rate of SCOPE rehabs in Reservoir Hill far exceeds the rate in the rest of the city.

Like all neighborhoods, Reservoir Hill needs organized and informed residents who take part in public processes.

Without their activism, neighborhoods are left without any organized voice and are unable to advocate for their interests.

Rick Gwynallen


The writer is development coordinator for the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council.

Voting software can be stolen again

Maryland voters should carefully note Diebold Election System's unconvincing response to revelations that its source code for touch-screen voting has been stolen ("Diebold declares machines secure," Oct. 21).

Diebold assures us that there is nothing to worry about, because the apparently purloined software is not the current version of the program.

But this is consistent with Diebold's standard response to any criticism of the program's inherent vulnerabilities.

Perhaps Diebold would have more credibility if it made its current version of the program available to critics. But the company has not done so.

Instead, it hides behind the fact that the program is proprietary and refuses to make it available for outside testing.

Besides, Diebold's "nothing to worry about, folks" argument misses the point.

Whether or not this particular disk contains the current program, the point is that if the program can be stolen once, it can be stolen again.

Sheldon H. Laskin


Guillotine exacts certain justice

I wonder how much pain two young people felt when they involuntarily had bullets inserted into them in 1983. Or don't they count anymore because, thanks to Vernon L. Evans Jr., they're dead ("Lethal Practice," Oct. 22)?

If, as Mr. Evans and his whiny liberal excuse-makers contend, lethal injection is "cruel and unusual punishment," then I have a solution to propose: Let's say, "Vive la France," and start using the guillotine.

No medicines to mix, no doctors violating their Hippocratic Oath, and no doubt about when death - and justice - occurs.

Michael Calo

Glen Burnie

Will Iraq army ever be up to the task?

During the Vietnam War, American civilians were drafted into the service, given a couple of months of basic military training and then sent into action in Vietnam.

Contrast that with the current situation in Iraq: We have been there for more than 3 1/2 years and have been training Iraqi troops almost since the beginning of the war. And our excuse for not leaving is that the Iraqi soldiers are not ready to defend their own country ("Military looking to Baghdad for Iraq solution," Oct. 23).

But when, if ever, will they be ready?

David Bavaria


Winning the peace is now essential

Leaving aside the absurdity of Cynthia Tucker, a writer who has been rabidly anti-President Bush time and time again, claiming to speak for those who supported the invasion of Iraq, her diagnosis of why some of us may have changed our minds is equally absurd ("Americans wanted to believe Bush's sales pitch for invasion of Iraq," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 23).

The basic notion that supporters of the invasion subscribed to then was that in the post-9/11 world, it was up to the dictators and terrorists of the world to prove they did not have weapons of mass destruction because, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we could no longer risk that the threats of a madman were simply rantings - we had to take them at face value.

That said, from a purely realist perspective, despite our best intentions, it seems that removing Saddam Hussein may have created a power vacuum in the region that may allow rogue countries such as Iran to assert more control.

This is why "winning the peace" in Iraq has become so important. The only way to prevent the rise of countries like Iran and its backers in places such as Syria and Saudi Arabia is to ensure we build a strong Iraq dedicated to peace and democracy.

Unfortunately, Ms. Tucker mentions none of this in her column, instead reverting to her usual "blame America, blame the president" ideas.

Aaron Gavant


Peacemakers sow seeds of finer future

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