Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 18, 2007

Mandel's conviction remains an injustice

When I served in the House of Delegates - from 1955 to 1959 - Marvin Mandel was chairman of the city legislative delegation. He demonstrated leadership, a keen legal mind and fairness to Republicans as well as Democrats.

As governor, Mr. Mandel reorganized state government, which was long overdue, and was widely respected as one of our best governors.

In 1975, he was indicted in federal court based on charges that he had personally benefited from the financial success of his close associates at some racetracks as a result of laws he helped enact ("Mandel trial revisited," Oct. 13).

I remember attending the trial one day and talking with Mr. Mandel. In answer to one of my questions during a recess, he said, "I still don't know what, if anything, I did wrong."

There is no doubt in my mind that this answer came from a very competent lawyer with a clear and keen legal mind.

The appellate courts vindicated Mr. Mandel after he had spent considerable time incarcerated, and President Ronald Reagan later commuted his sentence.

It is a sad day in our legal system when a man who defends himself against an alleged criminal violation is convicted by a jury evidently misled by the charge it was given.

Isn't it about time for The Sun to switch its emphasis from reiterating Mr. Mandel's conviction to recognizing this injustice and his otherwise commendable service to Maryland in the House of Delegates and as governor?

Samuel A. Culotta

Baltimore

Right to reconsider Thornton funding

Congratulations to Gov. Martin O'Malley on his proposal to reopen the Thornton law for fiscal examination as part of the forthcoming consideration of state taxation and spending ("Educators protest freezing Thornton," Oct. 13).

Educators, predictably, always howl vociferously at any suggestion of funding cuts.

They simply can't envision any fiscal belt-tightening as a means or incentive to pursue more fruitful, diligent and rational methods than those espoused by the philosophically bankrupt federal Department of Education.

The truth is that much of the additional funds schools have received in recent years have been spent chasing the elusive grail of higher test scores.

The No Child Left Behind law has been a boondoggle from the start. This insane law has prompted schools to chase test data instead of learning.

A fair reduction in the unsustainable growth rate of education spending created by the Thornton law is not only necessary for the state but also would be good for schools.

Contrary to the protests of the education establishment, this restriction would be beneficial because it would force some needed rethinking in both education methodology and management.

The result would be a net gain in learning.

Frank O'Keefe

Baltimore

Will state still aid sectarian schools?

I guess we'll learn something about the education priorities of the governor and the legislature during the coming Assembly special session.

Gov. Martin O'Malley wants the legislature to revisit the Thornton law that requires inflation-based state funding increases for public education ("Educators protest freezing Thornton," Oct. 13).

Mr. O'Malley seems to see that action as essential to balance the state budget.

But will he once again include millions in state aid for non-public (mainly religious) schools in that budget?

And will the legislature take away the money for our public schools while again providing it to religious schools?

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

State's tax burden already high enough

Yes, Maryland is now ranked No. 1 in median household income among U.S. states. But do we want to be No. 1 in tax burden too ("O'Malley confident on session," Oct. 16)?

Our taxes are high enough. In fact, they are already too high.

Generally, if you can't make ends meet, you go on a budget and spend less - the way millions of struggling Americans do.

Hey, there's an idea. Gov. Martin O'Malley, why not offer a little less spending to bring the budget into line?

James Horchner

Pylesville

Past time to close Rosewood Center

At its monthly meeting in February, in response to pending legislation and a report by the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality, the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities voted unanimously to support closing the Rosewood Center in Owings Mills.

Unfortunately, given the most recent report by the OHCQ indicating that conditions have not improved at the institution and, in fact, have deteriorated to the point that a ban on new admissions has been instituted and an independent monitor has been mandated, the commission, at its September meeting, renewed its support for the closure of this institution ("Coalition persists on closure of Rosewood," Oct. 11).

The reason often given for the continued operation of the Rosewood Center is that it houses individuals who are so disabled they cannot survive in the community.

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