February 28, 2013
When Baltimore County Councilman Todd Huff was stopped for drunken driving in a country vehicle at 2:30 a.m. Feb. 23 he indigently asked the police officer: "Don't you know who I am?" ("Council member faces DUI charge," Feb. 24). Taxpayers are asking: "Who do you think you are, Mr. Huff?" This is not his first brush with the law, but it should be his last as an elected official. It is time for him to resign. Public office is a public trust, and abusing it is inexcusable. If Mr. Huff hasn't figured that out, he should call his fellow Republican John Leopold in Anne Arundel County.
January 25, 2013
Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts announced Friday the creation of a new unit to oversee internal affairs, audits and the writing of police procedures, a move he hopes will strengthen public confidence in his agency. Jeronimo "Jerry" Rodriguez, a 26-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran, was named deputy commissioner in charge of the new Bureau of Professional Standards. Rodriguez will report directly to Batts and joins Deputy Commissioner John Skinner at the top level of Batts' staff.
January 23, 2013
Your series of articles on the speed camera fiasco prompts me to make the following comments. Since I started teaching political science in 1964 with my first assignment at Ridgely Junior High School, I have developed a good idea of what constitutes good or bad behavior on the part of our politicians. Thus, on Jan. 6, I filed a formal complaint with the Baltimore City Board of Ethics concerning the behavior of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake with regard to the speed camera mess. I stated in my complaint that Mayor Rawlings-Blake violated the sacred public trust by approving a speed camera program which allowed the Department of Transportation to issue tickets to citizens with the understanding that the company, Xerox State and Local Solutions, would receive a portion of every $40 ticket issued.
January 8, 2013
The replacement of all of Baltimore's speed cameras and the police department's decision to beef up the review process for the tickets they generate are welcome signs that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration is taking seriously the need to correct problems with the system. Those steps hold the promise of eliminating many of the technical and human errors that have led to some motorists getting tickets they clearly did not deserve. But they do not eliminate the need for the General Assembly to enact reforms to the state's speed camera law to correct other flaws in how they are used in the city and other jurisdictions.
December 17, 2012
It's time for Baltimore to shut its speed cameras down. On Friday, the vendor that runs the city's program reported that several cameras have error rates as high as 5 percent, and it doesn't know exactly why. Those cameras are no longer issuing tickets. That's a positive step, and so are several others city officials are making or considering in response to questions about the cameras. But the only way the city is going to restore trust that its intention is to foster public safety, not to generate millions in revenue, is to turn the cameras off until it thoroughly reviews the program and makes whatever changes are necessary to ensure the tickets are accurate and fair.
May 7, 2012
I applaud Sen. Ben Cardin's efforts to end racial profiling: Nothing is more divisive than to bring an "us against them" mentality into law enforcement ("Candidates make final push before Tuesday," April 2). What could be more demoralizing and dehumanizing than being judged by the color of your skin or the clothes you wear? Racial profiling, by definition, is incompatible with the guarantee of equal protection under the law contained in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Yet, many of the same people who claim to be strict constructionists with regard to the Constitution are in favor of denigrating one of its most basic tenets.