Don’t support candidates who support death penalty

Del. Haven Shoemaker has introduced a bill into the House of Delegates to bring back the death penalty, which Maryland wisely did away with in 2013. April Rose and Susan Krebs are co-sponsors. They want the government to have the power to kill people. And they claim to be “conservatives” in favor of restraining government!

Taking the life of a citizen is the greatest power a government can have, usually exercised by kings, dictators and despots, not democracies. The targets tend to be political dissidents, journalists, rivals for power, or members of out-of-favor classes. In this country, that means African-Americans, who make up a large percentage of people on Death Row.


Anthony Ray Hinton’s book “The Sun Does Shine” tells about his 30 years on Alabama’s Death Row for a crime he could not possibly have committed. Ray Hinton is black, and the police, prosecutor, judge, his lawyer, and all the jury members were white, and that spelled “conviction.” Nobody cared about his airtight alibi, or that the ballistics evidence pointing to his mother’s dust-covered gun as the murder weapon was phony. He would have died in the electric chair but for the untiring efforts of Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer for the Equal Justice Initiative. Stevenson says the death penalty is a direct descendant of lynching. The perpetrators have merely turned in their white robes for black ones.

Any one of us could be falsely accused by a lying witness and sent to prison. Judging by the 158 exonerations in recent years, some 10 percent of condemned “criminals” are actually innocent. Once a person is killed, it is impossible to rectify a mistake. Ask Kirk Bloodsworth, who was sentenced to die here in Maryland in 1985, freed in 1993 after DNA evidence proved his innocence.

Even for people guilty of heinous crimes, who are we to say who lives and who dies? Should we grant that ultimate power to the government? Haven Shoemaker thinks so. “They should be slipped the juice,” he says flippantly on his website. Considering his juvenile tendency to brand anyone who disagrees with him with some nasty name like a petulant third-grader (“leftist” is his favorite), is he qualified to make life-and-death decisions? I think not. We should “slip him the juice” on election day by voting for his opponent, Emily Shank, a sensible grown-up. I’m sending a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative, too.

Steve McDaniel


Support Hester for state Senate in District 9

Most of us realize that our public schools are the cornerstone upon which the high quality of life in our community is built. Of the two candidates vying to represent District 9 in the Maryland State Senate, Katie Fry Hester is the most supportive of of public education. I believe Hester will best serve the needs of the 9th District.

Hester recognizes that public education needs new ideas to build a 21st-century workforce. Local employers indicate there is a mismatch between their needs and the skills of the local workforce, so they must recruit employees from out of state. Hester favors innovative programs, including public/private partnerships with industry, to create job training programs and apprenticeships to match local employers’ labor needs. These would provide real value for dollars spent on public education, and could make Maryland a most appealing location for new and expanding businesses.

Those needs cannot be met with a maintenance of effort school budget, which does not account for increased enrollment, labor, fuel and material costs, let alone the cost preparing our students to use current workplace technology. Status quo funding leads to status quo results. As a start, Hester supports using all state gambling revenue to supplement existing school funding.

According to the Kirwan Commission, in almost 60 percent of Maryland public schools, more than 40 percent of students are eligible for meal subsidies, including many schools here in Carroll County. They need the solutions proposed by the Kirwan Commission: universal pre-kindergarten, wrap-around supports for families living in poverty, support for struggling and disabled learners, and a professional pay structure to attract and retain top teachers. Hester supports the Kirwan Commission recommendations.

Gail Bates, the current incumbent senator, has repeatedly voted against funding the construction, renovation, and maintenance of public schools (HB1783-2018, SB611-2018, HB 860-2013), against implementing the geographic cost of education formula (SB 183-2015), against raising the school drop-out age (HB 373-2012), and has twice voted against improving accountability for public schools and boards of education (HB 978-2017, HB1299-2017).

Katie Fry Hester has been endorsed by the state and county educator associations. Standing still and looking backwards will not keep our educational system and our local economy in a competitive position in the 21st century. District 9 needs new representation in Annapolis. We need Katie Fry Hester.

Laura Mettle