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Pert again?After calling it quits a few...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Pert again?

After calling it quits a few months ago, Ross Perot has announced to the media his renewed candidacy for the presidency.

Now, I don't see the point. It's true Perot had a certain magic when he first almost entered the presidential race. The media wouldn't touch him, and he had a groundswell of support.

After he has alienated his campaigners, many voters will now have a shadow of doubt in their minds. The reason for his withdrawal was he would shake up the vote. He felt the country would be better served if he wasn't in the race.

Why enter now when all he could possibly do is shake up the

vote and be a spoiler?

My feelings are that the American public is growing weary of the on-again, off-again Perot.

atthew Smardon

Baltimore

Taxes are not the only way to raise money

We were just given an impressive tax hike supposedly to forestall severe cuts in state personnel and services. Now further taxes and cuts in state services are being sought.

The recently imposed taxes could have been sufficient if the state were not spending our tax dollars recklessly.

It seems that the state has embarked on a propaganda campaign to scare the taxpayers into accepting further taxes. As Josef Goebbels, the propaganda minister for the Third Reich, once said, "The bigger the lie, the more it is believed."

We went from a prosperous state to a pauper state in no time, even though we had approximately a half-billion-dollar surplus not too long ago. The state can easily offset the need for tax raises by selling off some of its vast holdings. Yet it still wishes to accumulate more.

For example, it recently revealed it wants to acquire the existing emissions control stations and even build more. The way the state entered into a contract for the emissions control stations was a very questionable deal. A California company was awarded the contract without competition, despite the fact that several local firms were fully qualified to perform the service.

The taxpayers of Maryland should band together and vote out of office any legislator who does not oppose tax increases. They also should pressure their county executives and the Baltimore City mayor to fight for restoration of funds cut by the state.

If our governor were any good he would explore means of avoiding tax increases and cuts in services by having some of the state's holdings offered for public sale.

If this were done (it is perfectly legal), the taxpayers could coast instead of being burdened with extra taxes and loss of services from state agencies.

We must assert ourselves instead of being hammered unduly with unnecessary taxes or cuts in state aid.

Joseph D'Arrigo

Baltimore

Another Horton

The floundering Bush campaign is desperately trying to find another "Willie Horton" type villain to use against the Democratic candidate.

So far, President Bush has tried to make Congress the villain and Dan Quayle has offered up "Murphy Brown," the television industry and the Hollywood elite. But, their hard sells have just not struck a chord with the electorate.

Alas, however, enter Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton is an attorney who happens to have served on the Board of Directors of the Children's Defense Fund.

By coincidence, the Children's Defense Fund is probably among the 18 organizations that fought the good fight in Florida on behalf of Gregory K.

That young man had the audacity to want to be adopted into a real family rather than remain in "foster care," where he can be relocated at any time, without his permission or input, by the state government or even by his abusive parents.

In his own inimitable and "logical" way, George Bush recently seized upon this court ruling, saying of Hillary Clinton and other "advocates of the liberal agenda" that "they even encourage kids to hire lawyers and haul their parents into court. And I believe kids need mothers and fathers, not 'big brother' bureaucracy."

Never mind that Mr. Bush has ignored totally the facts of the case and the deplorable, negligent and uncaring behavior of the parents and the state, God bless his little heart. He thinks he just might have another "Willie Horton."

rwin H. Desser

Baltimore

Killing words

The policies of commercial TV stations to accommodate programs to viewers who object to foul language is a joke.

The movie "Call Me," for example, depicted a vengeful murder. A man's throat was slit, bleeding graphically. Then, with the helpless victim dying on the ground, the killer pressed a foot against the split windpipe, crushing it. The dead man gurgled a ** groan.

Afterward, while attempting to kill two other people, the murderer uttered a not quite inaudible "s--t."

The criterion seems to be: Kick it out of somebody, bash it out, etc. -- but just don't say it.

D. Reese

Baltimore

Cutting costs

My daughter and I had to leave the hospital within 24 hours of the birth in July because I was told my insurance company was trying to curtail costs.

Spending $300,000 for a Camden Yards skybox and over $500 per game for food and drinks sure seems like a strange way to curtail costs.

Am I missing something or what?

Marlene Duff

Baltimore

The tragically slow turning of justice's wheels

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke has recently called for enforcement of the death penalty in Maryland, after the recent wounding of one Baltimore City police officer and the death of another.

I must wholeheartedly concur, not from a sense of moral outrage (though my deepest sympathies go out to the officers' families and colleagues), but from an economic standpoint.

As an example, a close friend of mine was a homicide victim in Maryland in 1981. The suspect was apprehended, convicted (twice) and sentenced (twice) to the death penalty for first-degree murder.

In 1990, his murder conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeals. The grounds: failure to provide adequate assistance of counsel during his original trial.

Yes, eight years later, and an unknown amount of costly appeals, and it came down to this. In essence, the Court of Appeals said that this defendant's public defender was not experienced enough in, or knowledgeable about, defending his client against a first-degree murder charge. A common enough occurrence; but eight years later?

Was this public defender alone in that courtroom during the trial? Where was the judge, whose major responsibility, especially in capital murder cases, is to be sure that procedural law is followed to the letter?

And where was the chief of the public defender's office? It appears as though no one supervised the public defender's first attempt at a capital murder case. And this error, enough to cause a reversal of a murder conviction, slipped by numerous other appeals; the United States Supreme Court refused to review it.

I wonder if the appeal was even glanced at, let alone read and scrutinized for any errors in procedural law. I for one would be greatly interested in the numbers of first-degree murder cases in the state of Maryland which are reversed or reduced because of procedural error, how many years these appeals took and the total cost to the state.

Yes, the wheels of justice are slow, but is it too much to ask that the operators of the system simply have a driver's license?

I don't think so. I think the residents of the state of Maryland deserve better; I know my friend did.

I was embarrassed beyond belief to relay the initial news to her family (the family was not informed by the state's attorney's office of the overturned conviction), who are residents of another state.

Talk about adding insult to injury. In the final analysis, this decision has made the judicial department of Maryland look like a bunch of bumbling buffoons: "So sorry, we overlooked this one little thing . . ." So, yes, I side with the mayor of Baltimore and others, in enforcement of the death penalty. I'd be happy simply to know that Circuit Court Judges and Judges of the Court of Special Appeals know enough law to recognize a mistake when they see one. Eight years is an outrageous amount of time and financial burden to recognize a mistake.

If judicial officials cannot perform their duties with regard to the death penalty, then get the law off the books. It is costing us too much money. I wonder how much money would now be available to the state for education, health programs, etc., had this one individual's appeals not been allowed to go on for eight years.

I wrote to Governor Schaefer's office when all of this occurred. I was given a pat on the head, a condescending civics lesson, and dismissed. Seems to me I'm not the only one who needs lessons.

Rosemary B. Waites

Laurel

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