Editor: Gov. William Donald Schaefer recently said there would be no state funds available for new school construction.
A few years ago the governor strongly supported construction of a new stadium. The governor wants to be known as the "sports governor", not the "education governor."
There is money for a new sports stadium for a few millionaire ballplayers, but no money left for new schools.
I have an idea that might get the governor to change his mind. We could name all of the new schools after him.
Editor: The new ball park will be given a name sooner or later. Who gives the name matters little. The new park is to be the home of the Orioles. Should not the name reflect this fact?
"Oriole Park" seems to make more sense than naming a ball park after a train yard. Are we promoting baseball, or trains?
James R. Burns.
Gun Shop Murder
Editor: Michael Olesker's Sept. 17 column all but says the owner of the Northeast Gun Shop, Charles "Eddie" Scheuerman, deserved to die. I have read many disgusting anti-gun essays over the years, but this is clearly the most appalling.
Eddie Scheuerman is, indeed, someone who Marylanders should remember. Thanks to his willingness to stand up to the Maryland State Police, Maryland's waiting period is now just seven days -- as the law requires. Before Mr. Scheuerman's brave action, the real waiting period was often much longer -- despite the clear intent of the Maryland legislature.
Mr. Scheuerman died because some criminals decided not to go through a waiting period to get guns. Instead, they brutally killed him and robbed his store. No gun-control law would have saved his life, let alone the stronger gun laws Mr. Olesker demands in his column. I would remind Mr. Olesker that murder and robbery are also illegal in Maryland.
Mr. Olesker might have bothered to spare a tear or two for an honest businessman killed by thugs. Instead, his readers learn that Mr. Scheuerman was asking for trouble by selling a legal product. I look forward to reading future Olesker columns in which the wardrobe and background of rape victims are dragged out as an excuse for rapists and dead crack dealers are callously used as an argument for most drug laws.
The writer is executive director of a lobbying group called Gun Owners of America.
Nomination of Clarence Thomas
Editor: I have been impressed with your coverage of Judge Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Sun has been fair and objective in its balanced portrayal of Judge Clarence Thomas. Your readership has been informed in many ways, not only about the man, but about the confirmation process to the U.S. Supreme Court as well.
My respect for The Sun has been elevated to a new height because of your journalistic integrity and professionalism in this important matter.
Editor: Though they should know better, many people discussing the nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court are confusing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution when facing the problem of Judge Thomas' rTC beliefs in the pertinence of "natural law" to his expected new position. The latest of these that I have seen was Cal Thomas in his Sept. 14 Opinion * Commentary piece.
The Declaration of Independence was a rallying point for people engaged in armed revolution against the existing authority. Since those people won, they were right; what they won was the right to form a new nation based on the principles set forth in that declaration.
It became the job of those citizens and remains the job of their descendants, partly directly and partly through their elected representatives, to convert the arguments in that document into a working government. One result of that conversion is the Constitution, a living document kept alive through the amendment process. That is a rewriting process that is not the prerogative of the Supreme Court.
There are very few sets of words which mean the same thing to every one. It is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret that document as it exists at any one time. While the citizens and their elected representatives must consider natural law in writing laws and amending the Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court are outside that process. A Supreme Court justice who bases his opinions on "natural law" is a form of loose canon. A person who wishes his views of "natural law" to have an impact should run for some elective office, including the presidency. If he gets on the Supreme Court, he should suppress his inclination to be guided by "natural Law," a very difficult thing to do.
George H. Winslow.
Editor: So much has been written about the need to provide more dollars for the poor and education that I think we need to remind ourselves of a few sad facts.
We are the world's largest debtor nation. We have lost nearly every lead we once enjoyed. We have squandered our wealth with nothing to show for it.
Our children cannot perform decently in school. Parents have abrogated responsibility in favor of selfish pursuits. We have mocked all spiritual belief, yet failed to substitute any acceptable alternative. Only drugs and murder now occupy our hearts. We are lazy, selfish, prone to excuse-making and blaming others for our plight.
If we spent not another dollar on defense and taxed the rich ten times what we do now, and were we to eliminate all illiteracy, all poverty, all drug addiction and trafficking, destroyed all ghettos, rebuilt the entire infrastructure and paid off the entire national debt, we would revert to the same condition within a decade.
Why? Simply put, it is because, as a nation, we lack the moral fiber to do what is necessary.
We will not study, we will not control and teach our children, we will not plan and work for the long term, we will not take a hard line against criminals, we will not accept responsibility for our own conduct, preferring to blame others for personal failures, and we simply will not accept anything but instant gratification for anything.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, I truly question whether the need for a United States exists anymore. Can a people such as ours, more determined to rip and accuse each other, rather than face true economic enemies, survive as one nation? I think not, not if they don't cease and desist very soon.
Douglas B. Hermann.
Hickey School's Employees
Editor: Your article, "Hickey changes to be costly -- in money and jobs," (Sept. 16) creates serious misperceptions in terms of the transition of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School from a public to a private facility.
The proposal by Rebound to renovate the Hickey school was not unanticipated. Prior to the "privatization," both the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) and the legislature were keenly aware that the existing physical plant at the Hickey school did not provide an appropriate environment for the rehabilitation of Maryland's youth.
In the last several years, DJS has proposed various renovation plans to improve buildings and grounds at the Hickey school. Most recently, as part of the FY 1992 capital budget, a Juvenile Services capital project fund of approximately $5 million was created for facility renovations of DJS facilities, with the understanding that a significant portion would be allocated to Hickey, once a vendor was chosen. The renovation plan recently proposed by Rebound was a requirement of the contract and, therefore, anticipated. However, it is a draft proposal and must be reviewed by both the executive and the legislative branches.
While it would have been preferable to work with potential vendors on a capital improvement plan prior to contract award, this was not possible given the extremely tight deadline to make the transition. Also, it should be noted that improvements to the facility allow for a maximum of 372 youth, not 432 as stated in the article.
On Sept. 1, when the operation of the Hickey school was transferred to Rebound, 350 state positions were terminated. Prior to that date, all Hickey employees were afforded the opportunity to apply for the new positions with Rebound. In addition, DJS, the Department of Economic and Employment Development and Baltimore County cooperated in holding job fairs, employment training and placement seminars for Hickey employees.
These state employees were certainly not "abandoned" as your article states. Approximately 200 of the employees have been hired by Rebound, others have been picked up by various state agencies, while still others have retired or have chosen private employment opportunities. DJS is still actively working with those remaining former employees who are still seeking employment. These efforts are hardly to be categorized as
putting state employees "out on the street."
Mary Ann Saar.
The writers are, respectively, secretary of Juvenile Services, former secretary of Juvenile Services and state senator.