Editor: C. Fraser Smith's timely article on the Opinion * Commentary page on the risk to citizens from 500 additional Baltimore City parking meters -- proposed to raise revenues through fines -- was very good.
The inspiration for this action by the city fathers must have come from elsewhere, since many have learned, to their distress, that the Towson library parking lot had become a veritable feasting ground for parking maids and men.
The infraction of over-parking seems slight, however, when other violations, principally speeding, have largely gone unnoticed. When did we last see someone pulled over for a moving violation? If revenue is a motivating force, that derived from speeding violations would seem to generate a treasure trove.
Of course, there are some pretty tough-looking customers behind the wheel of cars hurtling along Charles Street and Northern Parkway in my neighborhood and, in spite of the fact that reckless driving imperils innocent lives while over-parking doesn't, it seems that imposing a fine in the silence of the time passed at the library is less risky than confrontation for the sake of public order.
Robert Patrick Adams.
Get the Message
Editor: Jonathan Zimmerman's, June 14 Opinion * Commentary article in The Sun, "Amotivation and Other Syndromes," is a clear message to all parents. The failure to invest in our children, our greatest legacy, has been a costly mistake financially and emotionally.
Mr. Zimmerman writes about the millions of dollars which have been spent educating and treating children on chemical dependency. No doubt, many of the dollars are spent on unnecessary programs and therapy, because money will attract unscrupulous characters. He cites studies, dollars spent and so forth. But the greatest danger to our young people is the abdication of the parental responsibilities, not the programs and all the statistics.
Unfortunately, nothing gathers attention more than a crisis, and PTC that is exactly what is upon us. Everyone is now budget-conscious and looking for targets to shoot at.
In this case, it is like shooting in the mirror. For until parents learn that they must not compromise on the greatest commitment of their life, the target will not fade. Great comfort is always found in shifting blame to someone or something less personal. It's time for each parent to help his or her children live, love and enjoy life with all of its imperfections.
When we decide to help our children more, as parents, the schools will be able to prepare our children academically. In the meantime, we should all challenge school boards, politicians and other responsible officials and programs to provide positive, academic learning experiences.
Stephen B. Tabeling.
Stop Your Engines
Editor: It seems as though automobile emissions are the latest contribution to the diminishing health of our Chesapeake Bay. Nevertheless, many people care less about the long-term environmental health of our watershed than they do about keeping cool.
A recent weekend, I witnessed at least six parked automobiles with motors running, two of which were unattended. One man sat in a parking lot for ten minutes with the windows opened and the motor running.
Granted that lately Baltimore weather has been horrible. It is understandable that people would want to escape the heat and humidity.
But leaving a motor running to keep a car cool is tantamount to dumping sludge directly into the bay, while spewing greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting CFCs into the atmosphere unnecessarily.
When will we wake up to the consequences of our actions? Motorists, stop your engines.
Editor: Roger Simon's May 31 column in which he concluded that all psychiatrists are crazy was in very poor taste.
To this psychiatrist, his biting humor was not funny, and, in fact, was potentially harmful.
People who are working usefully in psychotherapy would be annoyed but not unduly affected.
Such an article, however, if read by someone who was very much in need and contemplating seeking help, could be enough to make him hesitate or back away.
Barbara Young, M.D.
A Lawyer's 'Fun' and Drunk Drivers
Editor: I was recently quoted by Joel McCord in The Sun with respect to the John Glaser case. In that case, by paying a $35 ticket, the defendant's sentence of five years for automobile manslaughter was reversed on the grounds of double jeopardy.
I have an ethical duty as a defense attorney to vigorously pursue any defense that my client might have. I did so in this case. I clearly enjoy my work as a defense counsel. In this sense it is "fun."
It is unfortunate that Mr. McCord failed to indicate in his article that my office arranged for Mr. Glaser to go through a 30-day alcohol rehabilitation clinic. It is also unfortunate that Mr. McCord failed to indicate that my client had maintained sobriety for six months prior to his trial on automobile manslaughter. Instead Mr. McCord focused in on one remark made during two lengthy telephone conversations.
Editor: I was appalled to read Gill Cochran's remark of "that was fun" when the conviction of a drunken driver was overturned on a technicality. Yes, I expect an attorney (my daughter is one) to work hard for a client. But in this instance we are dealing with a man who has been twice convicted of killing someone while driving drunk. Mr. Cochran expressed no concern for the law that puts this driver back on the highway. The article gives no indication that Mr. Cochran had any concern for the devastation on the families of the deceased men. To express glee at his success is unseemly and one of many reasons the legal profession is not always held in high regard.
Robert W. Gifford.
Editor: As an elected fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers and as a citizen, I was appalled to read Gill Cochran's statement that "it was fun" to free a client who had been convicted twice of killing someone while driving drunk. Such reckless statements bring disrepute upon the criminal bar specifically and lawyers generally.
The role of the criminal defense attorney who defends guilty clients is the hardest role in the criminal justice system to explain to the public. As H. L. Mencken once put it: "The trouble about fighting for human freedom is that you have to spend much of your life defending sons of bitches; for oppressive laws are always aimed at them originally and oppression must be stopped in the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."
The zealous defense attorney is that last bastion of liberty in the final barrier between an overreaching government and its citizens. The job of the defense attorney is to challenge the government; to make those in power justify their conduct in relation to the powerless.
I suggest to Mr. Cochran that it is not "fun" to free someone who has been charged with a particularly heinous crime.
I think that I speak for most lawyers when I suggest that it is duty, honor and devotion to our constitutional system wherein we undertake the defense of those charged or accused under the adversary system of justice.
E. Thomas Maxwell Jr.
Editor: I was appalled to read of a lawyer saying that it was "fun" to "write the check right here in my office."
I bet it wasn't fun for the victims of his drunk driving habits. I hope that Mr. Cochran or his family are not the next victims.
Edna E. Smith.
Editor: Mr. Cochran's gleefully quoted remarks foster the negative stereotype associated with lawyers.