Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 06, 2006

The polls must open on time tomorrow

The Sun's editorial "Voting machinery" (Oct. 30) briefly mentioned the important opinion the state attorney general recently issued that clarifies that the polls must open on time in tomorrow's election.

Marylanders have a right to vote regardless of the number or party affiliation of election judges present.

As the opinion states: "The state election law anticipates that election judges may fail to appear or may leave a polling place and states that, in those circumstances, the local board of elections or the other judges at the polling place `may' fill such a vacancy. However, it does not require that the polls be shut down in the interim. ... In any event, the failure of some election judges to appear does not justify abridgment of the constitutional right to vote."

It is vital that voters, election judges, board of elections employees and the police officers who deliver election judge materials to the polls understand the law and open the polls.

That way, no party or individual can delay or stop the election by simply staying home.

Colin Pierce

Baltimore

The writer is election administration coordinator for Project Vote.

Corrections officers aren't treated fairly

The morale of the state's corrections officers couldn't be worse. Still we hear a deafening silence from our governor on this issue.

Forced overtime is not the answer. Yet pay is so low for this very dangerous job that overtime is welcome by many of the officers ("Prison overtime costs in Md. spurt," Nov. 2).

Despite what management may say, the job market is not really a factor in the difficulty filling positions. The real problem is: Why would anyone want to risk his or her life for an employer that has as little regard for the safety of its employees as Maryland shows for its correctional officers?

The state did raise pay this year. But it also raised health costs to employees. The net effect was not much of a raise.

The staff suffers from burnout and fatigue thanks to forced overtime. But management chooses to make it very difficult for an employee to get help through Maryland's employee assistance program.

The state hires many correctional employees who are single parents and are forced to work overtime. Yet these employees are not offered child care by the state.

The state continues to use a disciplinary system that can only be described as medieval. Corrections officers are considered guilty and terminated immediately upon a report of an incident.

It might take as long as 18 months before an administrative disciplinary hearing is held. And officers are actively discouraged from bringing workplace complaints to the attention of management.

The management of the state's correctional facilities must be brought up to 21st-century standards at once.

If management really wants to retain corrections officers, they must feel that they will be treated fairly.

That feeling doesn't exist right now.

Ed Rothstein

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the board of the Maryland Association of Correctional and Security Employees.

Saving Hubble helps revive space travel

I am very pleased to hear that NASA is going to repair the Hubble Space Telescope ("Hubble repair mission OK'd," Nov. 1).

It has served us very well so far, and will be of very good use in the future, not only to discover new stars and planets but perhaps to track our astronauts as they are in space.

I also feel that we should start more aggressively planning a human expedition to Mars to begin to map the way to colonizing that planet.

If the government would streamline its budget, as I believe it can, there should easily be enough money for such a project.

I believe now is the time for a renaissance in space travel.

Judson M. Brandes

Baltimore

Israel's aggression still real problem

The Sun's article "Syria, Iran accused of Lebanon plot" (Nov. 2) quotes White House spokesman Tony Snow citing "mounting evidence that the Syrian and Iranian governments, Hezbollah and their Lebanese allies are preparing plans to topple Lebanon's democratically elected government."

The article further notes that "the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton, accused Syria and Iran ... of violating a U.N. embargo meant to keep Hezbollah from rearming after the 34-day war it waged with Israel last summer."

However, as the article also notes, the "strongly worded statement from the White House did not detail" any evidence of meddling in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Israel committed war crimes against Lebanese civilians and infrastructure, including dropping deadly cluster bombs that continue to kill and maim Lebanese civilians.

If the United States were truly an honest broker for peace in the Middle East, instead of a lackey for the Israel lobby, we would be condemning Israel instead of its enemies.

Ray Gordon

Baltimore

Embryonic research brutalizes unborn

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