Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 11, 2008

Let schools chief keep doing her job

Gov. Martin O'Malley and the members of the state legislature need to leave state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick alone ("Grasmick called a `pawn' of GOP," Jan. 10).

Like her or not, her case for remaining in her position was made clear by the most recent Education Week report, which ranked Maryland's public schools third best in the nation.

It is almost impossible to keep politics out of appointments to such positions. But to have the governor and some legislators try to change the rules because they can't get what they want is, at best, petty.

The parents and schoolchildren of this state deserve better from their elected leaders.

C.D. Wilmer

Baltimore

What a sad display of pettiness by Gov. Martin O'Malley, as he resorts to name-calling against state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, the schools chief he wants to replace.

We also see House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller piling on, with threats of new legislation to force her out.

But there is no evidence of the superintendent failing to perform her duties - indeed the opposite is suggested by Education Week ranking Maryland's public schools as a top performer.

My suggestion to Ms. Grasmick is to remember the old adage: "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

Then she can continue to do the job she does so well.

R.A. Bacigalupa

Baltimore

Threats only betray weakness of leaders

The state schools superintendent must not have to respond to the agendas of our politicians ("Grasmick called a `pawn' of GOP," Jan. 10).

Threats directed to Nancy S. Grasmick by leaders such as Gov. Martin O'Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch speak only to the incompetence and insecurity of these three leaders.

Joseph N. Maranto

Timonium

Loyalty of criminals merits little respect

I couldn't disagree more strongly with the writer of the recent letter that defends the "Stop Snitching" videos ("Disdain for snitch an act of loyalty," Jan. 5).

He writes that "the issue of snitching ought to remain a matter of public debate."

But there's no debate about whether lawbreakers are entitled to any loyalty that would protect them from punishment. They aren't.

In defending the "Stop Snitching" movement, the letter writer sings to the tune of every criminal who plagues our city: Blame everyone but myself. Blame the disloyal friends who ratted me out. Blame the "corrupt" legal system and the evil police officers. Blame everyone but the person who chose to break the law.

The problem is not with snitching. The problem is with people unwilling to live by the same rules the rest of us do.

The problem is with individuals who feel free to rob, steal and commit acts of violence.

The letter writer praises the ethic of loyalty, as advocated by the "Stop Snitching" videos.

I, on the other hand, would much rather see an ethic of personal responsibility.

Philip Kaplan

Towson

Juveniles evade the force of justice

After reading Gregory Kane's column "It's `little dear' justice in city" (Jan. 5), I got the distinct impression that there is very little "justice" in the juvenile justice system.

William Huppert

Perry Hall

Wrong to sue bank over debtors' woes

The fact that Baltimore plans to sue Wells Fargo Bank because of foreclosures on subprime loans is ridiculous ("City files suit over foreclosures," Jan. 9).

Wells Fargo didn't target blacks, whites, Latinos or members of any other race when making these loans.

In my experience, banks make loans based on credit scores and risk - period.

This isn't a fly-by-night mortgage lender but a nationally respected financial organization. It didn't force anyone of any race to do anything.

Why must certain organizations and the city continue to blame everyone but the people who took out the dubious loans for the foreclosure problem?

What's next? Will the city sue ink pen companies for supplying the ink to the people who signed the loan contracts?

Rick Slone

Odenton

Kid-friendly tobacco deserves a tax hike

The Sun's editorial "Low-taxed tobacco" (Dec. 26) eloquently points out the state's misstep in failing to raise taxes for other tobacco products (OTP) when it raised the tax on a pack of cigarettes.

As The Sun noted, the primary reason to raise the tax on cigarettes is not to balance the state budget but to discourage people from buying them.

Recent studies have shown that when OTP excise taxes fail to keep pace with cigarette taxes, there is a real potential for product substitution. If the price of OTP stays the same while the cigarette tax rises, youth are drawn to OTP.

By contrast, raising OTP taxes will make these products less appealing and prevent many teens from becoming addicted to tobacco.

Raising the price of OTP has become even more important since both R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris have entered the smokeless tobacco industry and begun marketing mini-cigars and smokeless tobacco products to youth.

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