Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 22, 2008

Real ID offers real protection

In her column "Real ID, real problem" (Commentary, June 17), Cynthia Boersma, the legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, rattles off the standard rhetoric against secure identification programs.

She claims that the Real ID program calls for "a national ID card" and that it will involve "huge costs of time and money" and leave us with "less, not more, security."

She conveniently fails to mention that the Real ID program - in addition to being a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission - was approved by Congress.

Rather than a federal mandate, the law is simply a set of minimum security standards that states must meet for their licenses to be used to board commercial aircraft or enter federal facilities.

States are in no way required to comply with those standards.

Another empty argument is that Real ID will increase identity theft and reduce personal privacy.

Information provided to state motor vehicle departments will receive greater protection under Real ID than is currently required by federal or state law. And secure licenses are harder to forge.

So Real ID, in fact, will provide real protection from identity theft.

And, in fact, all 56 U.S. states and territories have been granted extensions to meet the law's standards and are taking steps to meet its initial requirements.

This is in line with the views of the majority of Americans - some 82 percent - who favor secure identification.

Stewart Baker, Washington

The writer is an assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Scandal distracts from Dixon's work

Finally we have a mayor who loves the city and her job as much as former Mayor Clarence "Du" Burns did and, before him, William Donald Schaefer once did - one who gets things done and is out there involving herself in the city. Then what happens? A scandal ("More subpoenas in Dixon probe," June 19).

But how did any of us get hurt by Mayor Sheila Dixon's sister having a job with a city contractor?

We did not get hurt.

But in countless ways, every day, every one of us is helped by Ms. Dixon.

Yet The S un is loving this whole business because "scandal" supposedly sells papers.

Linda C. Franklin, Baltimore

Routine patronage poisons city politics

When Del. Curtis S. Anderson says Baltimore has been a patronage town for years, he is so right ("Inquiry threatens Dixon's momentum," June 18). But when he uses that as an excuse for Mayor Sheila Dixon's ethical violations, he shows what is really wrong with Baltimore.

Until the voters stop voting for the one-party machine in this city and start voting for independent candidates, our budget will continue to fall short of funding programs we desperately need, such as Peer-to-Peer Youth Enterprises and transportation initiatives.

Until voters connect the corruption of our elected officials to the misery in this city and throw many of our alleged public servants out permanently, Baltimore's systemic problems will never change.

Maria Allwine, Baltimore

The writer is chairwoman of the Maryland Green Party.

Fair must provide a forum for speech

The Maryland State Fair is a quasi-public institution that has in the past received significant financial support from the state and hopes to receive more in the future, particularly if slot machines are legalized ("Slots an issue at fair," June 16).

In seeking and receiving taxpayer support, it has surely assumed some obligation to respect the free speech rights of citizens.

I do not believe it should be allowed to practice censorship by denying a booth to an anti-slots group.

The fair manager's suggestion that the group would only be permitted a booth if a pro-slots group also wanted one would effectively give slots supporters veto power: They have only to say they don't want a booth and the slots opponents are denied one.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam, Baltimore

Need to fight slots in every forum

The Maryland State Fair management should surely not be allowed to pick and choose who can rent a booth at the fair ("Slots an issue at fair," June 16).

In this case, the issue is the Nov. 4 referendum asking Marylanders to vote on an amendment to the state constitution about legalizing slots casinos across the state.

The well-known adverse effects of big-time slots gambling in other states give us legitimate reason to oppose the referendum in every public forum.

Just ask New Jersey residents how much slots casinos have reduced their taxes and improved their quality of life.

Dave Thompson, Elkton

The writer is Cecil County chairman for Stop Slots Maryland.

Poster program deters drug use

While I totally agree with The Sun's concern about politicians using taxpayer-funded programs to promote themselves, I think using Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger and the state's attorney's office's anti-drug poster contest as an example of this is way off base ("Just say Shellenberger," editorial, June 16).

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