Editor: Your June 7 editorial, "The Owner Who Fired Himself," comes off as a fawning paean to Eli Jacobs, majority owner of the Baltimore Orioles. We read it is "in the club's best interest, he's firing himself."
Having paid $70 million 3 years ago for a baseball franchise now worth well over $100 million, the sale is obviously in Mr. Jacob's "best interest."
You might also wish to advise your readers that Jacobs is a director of the Times-Mirror Co. of Los Angeles, which owns your newspaper.
Stuart G. Morris.
Smell of Abuse
Editor: In "Lowly pigs provide profits for drenched Iowa farms," (The Sun, June 2), Doug Struck implies that pigs smell naturally bad and not because of the way they are raised.
In fact, intensive hog production systems with their concrete confinement buildings are responsible for the "overwhelming, permeating, suffocating smell" that irked the author on his visit .. to an Iowa pig farm.
These poorly ventilated, overstocked buildings are full of ammonia and other irritant gases from the manure pits, making respiratory diseases very common in hog factory operations. Dust, irritating fumes and toxic gases are so bad that not only pigs but farmers and workers are affected to the point where, according to the agribusiness newspaper Feedstuffs, "Seventy to 90 percent of workers in swine confinement structures suffer acute respiratory symptoms."
Being isolated from the cleansing effects of sunlight and rain, hog factory buildings develop what producers call "bacteria buildup" in which the interior becomes infested with a variety of disease-causing organisms.
It's as cheap a shot to blame the pigs -- the victims -- for their offensiveness under these conditions as it would be to blame people who were confined indoors and overcrowded amid their own waste. Let's be fair.
Restoring Civil Rights
Editor: Once again, members of Congress are faced with passing meaningful civil rights legislation. Since the height of the civil rights movement, a number of Supreme Court decisions regarding employment discrimination and employment opportunity laws have changed.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, because of the recent Supreme Court reversals, no longer protects the basic rights of those it was designed to serve. The Supreme Court has aggressively rolled back the clock on employment rights particularly as they relate to women and minorities.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 will challenge the Bush administration's posture on substantive civil rights, a posture that many so far view as a disappointment. For the past two years, the Bush administration has been attempting to make a political issue out of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
For this reason, the cynical and vicious nature of President Bush's attacks on this bill should be called into question. The solid issues of civil rights should not continue to be polarized by an administration seeking a political platform.
After months of give and take, the bill passed the House and has since moved on to the Senate for passage. Political analysts have indicated that President Bush will veto the bill. If the president does veto the Civil Rights Act of 1991, he will be ignoring the fact that we continue to have a national problem on the matter of race and skin color.
The residual effects of national bigotry have created a class of people insensitive to the basic rights of minorities and women who make up a sizable portion of our nation's work force. Additionally, the debate on civil rights also calls into question the role and motives of the Supreme Court heading into the future. During the height of the civil rights movement the Supreme Court offered its support to minorities and women. Now it has become America's most conservative institution.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 does not break new ground. It simply restores basic privileges that were single-handedly rewritten by the Supreme Court. Restoring these basic privileges would be a civil right, not a civil wrong.
The writer is a member of the House of Representatives from Maryland's 7th District.
Lida Lee Tall Travesty
Editor: What a sham!
After months of backbreaking work, the parents of Lida Lee Tall Learning Resources Center achieve the almost-impossible: a new mission for the school, a broad base of legislative, education, and community support, and a bill that provides the funding for another year. Lida Lee Tall lives!
Only it doesn't. The governor waits until the last day he can to veto the bill -- and slams shut the door on educational innovation and a passionate, voluntary involvement in public education by parents, teachers, education specialists, and such groups as the Greater Baltimore Committee.
It's enough to make you cynical, only I'm too angry.
The governor and his people have treated the children of Lida Lee Tall Learning Resources Center with a consistent lack of respect and concern that is chilling.
Consider how this ruthless shutdown was orchestrated: One week before Thanksgiving, the parents are informed the school probably won't be in the governor's budget. (You couldn't choose a better time to hit families than in the whirlwind of the holidays.) The chairman of the board of trustees, a Schaefer appointee, promises to meet with parents, but doesn't show up. Her advice to parents, meanwhile: Don't contact legislators or the media. Presumably, such action would jeopardize the chance to get back in good graces with the governor.
The parent wait anxiously for those good graces to descend, then spend the holidays blitzing the media and the legislature. Finally, a meeting is arranged between parent representatives and the governor's top aide. A deal is struck: Lida Lee Tall will live only if the school can show support from educators and the community for its new mission and can find funding.
Who could blame the parents and teachers of Lida Lee Tall for celebrating when those nearly impossible tasks were accomplished? What kind of opponent wouldn't concede victory, even grudgingly? And what kind of political leader wouldn't pat himself on the back for motivating citizens to throw themselves into a project for the commonweal?
Somebody must be getting something out of this travesty; it sure isn't the children of Lida Lee Tall. Nor is it the children of Maryland, who would have benefited from this model school's dTC timely new focus on math and science.
Editor: The sample used by Neal Peirce in "Baltimore and Beyond" failed to include the voice of the religious community. This neglect is especially evident considering the historically prominent role of the Catholic Church in Maryland, particularly in Baltimore.
"Baltimore and Beyond" recognizes the impact of the deteriorating city public schools.
The report describes dwindling confidence in Baltimore's public educational institutions and cites standardized test scores. No mention is made, however, of the significant contribution to education by the Catholic schools.
In addressing the dilemma facing public education, Catholic schools might be viewed as providing effective solutions to challenging problems.
Catholic schools are willing to share what works. As the public schools wrestle with school governance, particularly the shift from a centralized bureaucracy to site-based management, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore can be viewed as a working model.
Since 1989, every Catholic elementary and secondary school has created a school board at the local level.
This successful transition in school governance was possible because the Division of Catholic Schools worked in partnership with local leadership -- administrators, teachers and parents.
There has always been shared agreement between central administration and the local community about the purpose of the Catholic school. Each school has its own mission statement which complements this vision. Thus, what is now known as site-based management has always been and continues to be a key element in the success of Catholic schools.
@Lawrence S. Callahan.
The writer is the superintendent of schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.