Implement the 2020 Plan
Editor: I was glad to read Joyce Kelly's recent letter regarding the 2020 report. The report is a masterful effort to point a direction for protecting the Chesapeake Bay and managing growth.
During the past political year there was a great deal of rhetoric regarding these issues and, as usual, faced with the opportunity to match words with deeds, most of our political leaders have failed us.
As Gov. William Donald Schaefer is to be commended, Howard County Executive Chuck Ecker is to be criticized. By surrounding himself, both in his campaign and now in his administration, with those who led the fight for unmanaged and reckless growth, he has now delivered for them by scrapping those very tools that made the county a model for responsible growth management.
Obviously, county leaders are not going to have the courage, at least in Howard County, to make the tough decisions necessary in this area and then stand by them. For this reason, I must join with Ms. Kelly and look to the state and our legislative leadership to implement the 2020 plan.
We can do more for the bay than sell pretty license plates. We can do more to help our counties manage growth than commission reports and then ignore them.
The opportunity to lead is there. I hope it will not be missed.
Editor: The current move in education toward eliminating special settings to educate handicapped students and placing them in regular public school classrooms is being referred to a "least restrictive environment."
Is integration into the regular classroom really least restrictive?
State efforts to integrate handicapped students into public schools will actually result in an even more restrictive environment for these students. For some children, special education schools are the most appropriate placement, and already provide the least restrictive environment.
Special students inappropriately placed in an integrated school will be isolated, from participation in the activities that the student engaged in in the special school, and will be more restricted then at the special school, where all studies and activities were open to that student.
If special students are integrated into public schools, and difficulties occur that were not encountered in the pilot program, will the state have a means of eliminating these difficulties if the means are expensive?
Or will special students be constrained within an environment which becomes a microcosm of a special education school?
Editor: Jane Porter's letter of Feb. 11 contains errors of fact.
Out of respect for my father's meticulous scholarship and to prevent some future student at Menckeniana from pursuing this bit of esoteric erratum hoping to demonstrate Coleridge's influence on H L. Mencken, let me state that my father, Francis A. Litz, never witnessed any recitation by Mencken such as Ms. Porter describes.
His personal contact with Mencken was limited to the period (June 1927-June 1928) when he was actually working on the translation of the Latin text of "The Charlatanry of the Learned." This translation along with HLM's notes and comments was not actually published until 1937 by Alfred A. Knopf. This was years before Mencken suffered the stroke that left him unable to read.
The only recitation my father described to Ms. Porter was given by Father John Bannister Tabb during a visit with the blind poet my father made while still a student in 1908!
Ms. Porter's statement that my father's career centered "around Johns Hopkins and American Universities" is also wrong. Although he received his Ph D. from Hopkins and was an instructor in English there for a few years, he spent more time in the Baltimore public school system at Baltimore City College and later as head of the English Department at Western High School before becoming associate professor of English at the Catholic University of America in 1937. He retired from Catholic University as professor of English in 1962.
It is a shame that my father's last interview was marred by such deplorable reporting.
M. E. Litz.
Answer from El Salvador
Editor: I have read the editorial published in the Feb 11 edition of your prestigious newspaper, and would like to make the following comments:
1. First of all, you are comparing apples and oranges. We are a freely elected government that received 54.3 percent of the votes during the last presidential election (Mar. 19, 1989).
We are signatories to most, if not all, international treaties and agreements that provide the framework for all democratic and peace-loving nations in the world.
The FMLN, on the contrary, is a group of ruthless, hard-core, Marxist-Leninist terrorists who wish to achieve political power through violent means, in spite of the changes that have occurred round the world, particularly in Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R.
2. Since we took office (June 1, 1989), our main priority has been to achieve peace in our country through civilized and rational means, and we continue to stride in achieving our purpose within the framework of the "Esquipulas II" peace plan that you alluded to in your editorial.
In fact, during the first meeting of Central American presidents held since we took office, the four Central American presidents, including Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, agreed unanimously in Tela, Honduras, in August of 1989, "to ratify their appeal to the armed groups of the region, and specifically the FMLN, to refrain from their acts of violence."
The response from the FMLN was to thwart the peace process in mid-October of 1989, and to launch a large military offensive one month later that resulted in serious loss of life and material losses totaling over $100 million dollars.
Notwithstanding the attitude of the FMLN, the Central American presidents met again in San Isidro de Coronado, Costa Rica, in December of 1989, where again the four Central American presidents, including Mr. Ortega, stated, "their support for the government of El Salvador in its repeated attempts to find a solution to the Salvadoran conflict through peaceful and democratic means."
Furthermore, the Central American presidents stated: "We reaffirm our fervent call to the FMLN that they immediately and effectively put an end to hostilities in that nation (El Salvador), and return to the peace process. At the same time, we strongly demand that the FMLN publicly abandon all sorts of violent actions that, directly or indirectly, affect the civilian population."
Out of that meeting also came the resolution by the five Central American presidents to request "the good offices" of the U.N. secretary general to "bring about a renewal of the dialogue process."
The peace process was restarted in April of 1989, and we have been able to reach agreement on the important subject of human rights. Further progress has not been possible due to the intransigent position of the FMLN, but we remain optimistic that peace will be achieved in 1991.
3. The next round of elections will take place on March 10, 1991. There are nine registered political parties including five from the left. The election will be monitored by hundreds of observers from the Organization of American States (OAS).
In spite of continued appeals for the FMLN to participate directly in the elections, they have chosen not to participate, but they are actively campaigning for the leftist parties.
During the last election, the left received 3.9 percent of the popular vote, a long way from your prognosis that "given a chance in El Salvador (for the public to repudiate), they may do the same to the right-wing Christiani government."
Mr. Editor, let us wait until the election and let history be the judge of that.
There have been more meetings of the Central American presidents and more acts of violence by the FMLN, but we will save that for another occasion. We hope that your select readership can read our position and reach a conclusion on whether or not we "are afraid of peace in El Salvador."
The writer is vice minister of the presidency of El Salvador.