January 21, 2009

Effort to punish Carter was an abuse of power

Thank you for the article "Two dodge House shuffle to stay on judiciary panel" (Jan. 17).

State House Speaker Michael E. Busch's effort to punish Del. Jill P. Carter for being outspoken and well-informed was an abuse of power. Thankfully, many in Baltimore responded with phone calls to the speaker and he backed down.

But Mr. Busch was trying to punish Ms. Carter for speaking up for the people and the Constitution.

When Martin O'Malley was running for governor, she highlighted the arrests without charges of tens of thousands of Baltimore youths during his years as mayor. No doubt the increase in arrests was helpful to his image as a tough-on-crime mayor, but did it help fight crime to arrest people who were not doing anything illegal?

And when Ms. Carter spoke up in the last legislative session in opposition to a DNA database created by taking DNA from people merely arrested, not convicted, this was consistent with a constitutional philosophy that ensures individual freedom and limited government.

We need someone like Ms. Carter who will stand up to the Democratic Party machine and challenge its members when they go too far. Her presence on the Judiciary Committee ensures it has a spokeswoman for civil liberties, civil rights and the presumption of innocence.

Bravo to Ms. Carter for standing up and giving voice to the voiceless. We need that voice.

Mr. Busch should restore her subcommittee chairmanship as well and grant her all the power such an experienced legislator deserves.

Kevin Zeese, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics.

Delegate is a voice for social justice

As one of Del. Jill P. Carter's constituents, I was dismayed to read about the unsuccessful effort to change her committee assignment ("Two dodge House shuffle to stay on judiciary panel," Jan. 17). Ms. Carter has consistently been a strong voice in support of social justice issues that come before the Judiciary Committee, and we need her intelligence, expertise, convictions and tenacity on that committee.

Carrie Evans, Baltimore

The writer is policy director for Equality Maryland.

Ignoring the mayor an insult to the city

Mayor Sheila Dixon has had a longer and more significant history of public service than President Barack Obama has. The slight to Ms. Dixon by Gov. Martin O'Malley, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and Mr. Obama on his visit to Baltimore was disrespectful not only to our mayor but also to our city government and the citizens of Baltimore ("Dixon's presence shadowed," Jan. 18).

We are proud of Ms. Dixon's accomplishments and her fine choice of public appointments. She has served us well. And it is she who should represent our city in the public arena.

She should not have been totally ignored during Mr. Obama's visit to Baltimore.

Marcia Kargon, Baltimore

Condoning misdeeds sends wrong signal

For those who have followed the case against Mayor Sheila Dixon over the years, the actions leading to her indictment may have faded in our memories with time. Then Dan Rodricks' column "The mayor's apparent sense of entitlement" (Jan. 13) arrives to detail, so clearly, the evidence of ethics violations, perjury and financial misdeeds that some people still deem to be of little consequence.

Mr. Rodricks represents those of us who believe that the charges against Ms. Dixon are valid and want justice done but fear that the power of Ms. Dixon's supporters will prevail.

With the city in a serious financial bind, why aren't more people concerned that millions in tax breaks and city contracts may have been awarded through questionable relationships and improper contracts?

We all should care about this and the message, especially to our youths, of the idea that a pattern of unethical or illegal actions is no big deal, as long as some good things are done.

Jack McAllister, Salisbury

Despite defeat, Ravens made the city proud

At a time when smiles, high-fives and cheers remain on back order ("End of History," Jan. 19), I want to offer kudos to John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and the entire Ravens team on a fantastic season and on making Baltimore proud.

Mark McElwee, Catonsville

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