Letters To The Editor


November 16, 2006

Behavior of police should be recorded

I am prompted to write after reading the Nov. 14 editorial "Dueling cameras."

As a denizen of the Inner Harbor, I have witnessed police officers spending energy and time hassling people and nitpicking in situations that are not unsafe or illegal. I do not doubt that some Baltimore officers treat law-abiding, productive citizens badly.

The police take great pride in ticketing and arresting people, but citizens do not give tickets to the police. Public photographic evidence is a powerful tool and provides a "check and balance" to possible illegal police activity.

Even though the citizen cameramen are concentrating their cameras on the police, they are not necessarily ignoring lawbreakers. It is illegal for the police to break the law.

On Nov. 2, The Sun's Annie Linskey reported in "Policing police on city streets" that prosecutors dropped the charges in a case because the cameramen's footage contradicted what was written in a police report. The prosecutor is not pursuing charges against the officers because, according to a spokeswoman for the state attorney's office, "we would not be able to prove any criminal wrongdoing."

I am sure it is criminal to file a false police report. It is even a greater problem if the police themselves file the false report.

I have started shopping for a camera phone.

Paul W. Graves


No `shift to the left' in Maryland vote

I am a moderate Democrat who is neither more nor less liberal than he was in the 2002 gubernatorial election, when I voted for Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. I did not vote to re-elect him. I concur wholeheartedly with the article "Inflexibility, not ideology, led to Ehrlich loss, critics say."

First, as you mentioned, it wasn't ideology or even the false bogeyman of "media bias" that many of your readers blame for part of his loss; it was his partisanship and inability to compromise that helped do in Mr. Ehrlich. He learned a little too much from Newt Gingrich and his crowd while in the House.

Second, the banning of the two Sun journalists from access to his government was prima facie evidence that he is much too thin-skinned to be governor. As the old saying goes, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Unfortunately for Mr. Ehrlich, the voters had to show the cook the door.

Third, he faced a much more qualified candidate for governor this time, unlike the inexperienced Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in 2002. Martin O'Malley had several years' experience in running a large governmental operation; Ms. Townsend never even came close to such experience.

So, please, folks, stop complaining about Maryland's "shift to the left." It's a figment of your imagination.

Stephen L. Sprecher


GOP should focus on fielding candidates

I'd like to comment on those Maryland Republicans who are now crying the blues about our "one-party" state ("State puts an end to two-party rule," letters, Nov. 9.)

Explain to me how the state GOP's failure to produce viable grass-roots candidates for decades upon decades is anyone's fault but its own?

I saw hundreds of lawn signs in the city for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, but where were the other Republican candidates on the ballot? A significant number of positions in my district had Democrats running unopposed. How can the state GOP consider itself a legitimate party in Maryland if it doesn't even try to field candidates in the major population centers?

Stop whining and get to work.

Teri Lura Bennett


More sample ballots would speed voting

During the general election, I had my first experience as an election judge. In spite of the anticipated problems, things ran very smoothly ("Across the nation, a smattering of glitches," Nov. 9).

But there is one place for improvement. Before the vote, the Board of Election Supervisors sent a sample ballot to all voters. We had this posted in the hallway at my polling place. Way too many voters did not read the ballot questions before entering the booth. This caused a long wait for others.

All voters in future elections should read the official sample ballot before voting. I would also encourage all judges to post multiple copies of the sample ballot where the voting line forms. By doing these simple things, everyone can make the voting process much easier.

Kurt Kocher


Facing the fatal flaw of electronic voting

"Building a better ballot" (editorial, Nov. 15) perpetuates the first big myth of the 21st century: that Y2K was an "overhyped computer system meltdown that didn't happen." The threat was very real, like a bomb with its timer ticking away. It didn't go off on Jan. 1, 2000, because thousands of programmers like me worked hard for over a year to defuse it.

The big myth of 2006 is that because the polls were not shut down on Election Day by "buggy software," we should be satisfied with the electronic voting machines.

The polling may have gone smoothly, but no one has any way of knowing if the votes recorded were the votes cast.

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