Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 15, 2007

ICC approval shows Ehrlich's foresight

The Sun's article on a federal judge's refusal to hold up construction of the Intercounty Connector ("Judge removes final ICC roadblock," Nov. 9) referred to the decision as a "vindication" for the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. I would argue that it was the administration's greatest accomplishment.

Mr. Ehrlich and his staff were highly engaged in this project. They left the mechanics, however, to transportation professionals who knew the intricacies of road construction.

I can still remember the day in January 2003 when Neil J. Pedersen, the top official at the Maryland State Highway Administration, presented the agency's recommendations for getting the project built. Over the next four years, he and Secretary of Transportation Robert L. Flanagan implemented a work plan that ultimately led to approval of the highway.

They had the foresight to require substantial environmental improvements as part of the project, and they insisted on broad public input. While the engineers and planners worked, Mr. Flanagan constantly reached across the aisle to remove political roadblocks that imperiled the project.

We live in an age when it is very difficult for policymakers to follow through on tough decisions. The approval of ICC shows that once in a while, in an era of government paralysis, bold decisions can produce historic results.

David Marks

Perry Hall

The writer is the former chief of staff at the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Unfair to list Meade as `dropout factory'

I am very concerned about the recent article in which Johns Hopkins University researcher Bob Balfanz labels 1,700 U.S. high schools as "dropout factories" - schools where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior years ("1 in 10 schools called high in dropouts," Oct. 30). One of the schools mentioned in an accompanying chart was Meade High School. But Meade's dropout rate last year was 0.57 percent, according to state education data. In 2006, it was 0.77 percent. That's not a "dropout factory."

Mr. Balfanz also says that while some students transfer, most drop out. At Meade, where about 33 percent of our students are members of military families, pupils do transfer to other schools.

As a culturally diverse school, we take pride in our academic success. We have made adequate yearly progress targets for three years. Eighty-one percent of our students passed the government High School Assessment test. We have fabulous academic programs such as International Baccalaureate.

To label Meade as a "dropout factory" just doesn't add up.

Daryl Kennedy

Fort Meade

The writer is principal of Meade High School.

Priest's firing defies Jesus' example

I would like to commend Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien on the recent action taken against the Rev. Ray Martin ("Funeral prompts firing of priest," Nov 9). It seems unconscionable that a priest could miss a baptism when he only has the demands of three different parishes to juggle.

With regard to his other offenses, one can only imagine how horrified Jesus would have been to discover that one of his faithful would welcome an "outsider" to the table, or provide a second chance to someone who had once been at odds with the law.

St. Francis of Assisi might have had something to say about allowing dogs in the sanctuary, unless we stop to consider how disrespectful this could be in light of a God who presumably delights in all living creatures.

Where did Father Martin ever get the idea that "all are welcome," that we are called to be inclusive, or that everyone is deserving of mercy and compassion?

Mary K. Huntt

Manchester

The writer worked in the school of the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City when Father Martin was assigned there.

State's history shows religious tolerance

When Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien fired the Rev. Ray Martin from his post for including the Rev. Annette Chappell in a funeral Mass, I believe the reason was not that she is an Episcopal priest but that this Episcopal priest is a she ("Funeral prompts firing of priest," Nov 9).

Archbishop O'Brien is new to Baltimore; he would do well to remember that Maryland has a proud history of religious tolerance, starting from a time when Roman Catholics suffered discrimination.

Jane Ball Shipley

Baltimore

Moms know best: Fish is `brain food'

Andrea Kavanagh's quibble over industry funding of a recent seafood-science review ignores the reality that the review itself was spot-on correct ("Fishy report shows danger of industry-driven research," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 12). This sort of sober look at the latest and best science is just the kind of work the federal government should be doing, but isn't.

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