Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 22, 2007

Execution falters in search for justice

It was with real dismay that I read the headline "Death penalty repeal falters" (Feb. 15).

I am proud of state Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, a sponsor of the legislation to repeal the death penalty, and of the other senators who support repeal.

The United States is the only Western country that imposes the death penalty.

Since 1973, 123 people on death row in 25 states have been exonerated.

The American Bar Association has called for a moratorium on capital punishment because of concern about racial disparities in its application.

It has been proved that it costs the state more to execute a prisoner than it does to pay for life imprisonment.

I think state-sanctioned murder is wrong.

But most of all, there is the real possibility of executing someone who is innocent.

There is no way to rectify that mistake. And we are human. We do make mistakes.

Suzanne O'Hatnick

Baltimore

The writer is legislative coordinator for Maryland for Amnesty International USA.

Chance to comment a critical safeguard

The legislation discussed in "Death penalty repeal falters" (Feb. 15), which would exempt death penalty regulations from the procedural requirements of the Maryland Administrative Procedure Act, should be rejected as an irresponsible response to the Court of Appeals' decision invalidating the death penalty procedures in Maryland.

The APA requires that all proposed regulations undergo review by the attorney general and a joint legislative committee and, most important, cannot be adopted until after the public has an opportunity to offer its comments.

These APA procedures are not useless formalities.

They are, instead, essential to protecting the democratic principle that important public policy decisions should be made only after the public and elected officials have had the chance to express their views.

Arnold Rochvarg

Baltimore

The writer is a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

State should stand for farmer's Oasis

Because of a large development near Joseph Mills' farm near Bowie, a stream has gone dry and the Mills' well has dried up ("Development dries up farmer's Oasis," Feb. 18).

Numerous government agencies signed off on the developers' water-control plan, even though many predicted the stream could go dry. And now that it has gone dry, everyone stands in a circle, points right and says, "It's his fault."

I find that response totally unacceptable.

The government should be protecting the little guy, not aiding in his demise.

Dean Danielson

Denton

Green Fund is win for open space, bay

The Chesapeake Bay Green Fund proposal supported by Gov. Martin O'Malley and state House Speaker Michael E. Busch solves two problems at once ("Bay cleanup fund wins endorsements," Feb 16).

First, it will provide a big chunk of the additional funding needed to clean up the Chesapeake Bay by 2010.

Second, it will encourage the development that has been increasing in our rural areas to occur where it is really wanted.

The Green Fund bill is a major step toward cleaning up the bay, along with saving rural areas for agriculture and open space.

It is a win for the environment and for the bay.

Richard D. Norling

Darlington

The writer is a former president of Friends of Harford, which promotes Smart Growth in Harford County.

Believes in leaving the city slogan alone

I "believe" that Mayor Sheila Dixon should "embrace" the opportunity to leave well enough alone ("End could be near for `Believe' drive," Feb. 12.

The city should spend the time, energy and money it would take to change the "Believe" banners on better upkeep for city buildings.

Barbara Hill

Baltimore

Baltimore's problem isn't a lack of belief

If the mayor of Baltimore is seriously considering ending the "Believe" initiative, she might consider changing the city slogan to "Behave" ("End could be near for `Believe' drive," Feb. 12).

Baltimoreans do believe but often don't behave.

S. G. Piet

Bel Air

State doesn't value its disabled athletes

"Since we don't have an equitable way to score the points [for wheelchair athletes in track meets], we won't award team points," Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, told The Sun ("Wheelchair athlete's motivation quite basic," Feb. 17).

This statement speaks volumes about the attitudes of the members of MPSSAA toward athletes with disabilities. What it says is: We don't value you.

That's a harsh lesson for Tatyana McFadden and her teammates.

We can only hope that Mr. Sparks and his colleagues will learn from The Sun's Milton Kent how to change their attitudes toward athletes with disabilities - and then follow that up with positive action to include students with disabilities with their nondisabled peers.

Sue Keller

Finksburg

City first to use cars to deliver the mail

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