Your endorsements for this coming election reflect our need for a change in leadership for the mayoral race.
For council president, I can't agree or disagree, all the candidates have something to add to the position. When you got to comptroller, you lost me. I don't think the editors of this newspaper bother to read their own staff's articles. Recently there was an article describing the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates for city comptroller, Julian Lapides and Joan Pratt.
In this article it stated the only problem it had with Mr. Lapides was that he fought the new stadium project.
In discussing the background of Ms. Pratt, it was a different story. It referred to the City Paper's recent article in which her input in the many boards to which she was appointed by Mayor Kurt Schmoke, as well as her attendance record, left a lot to be desired. How independent would she be if Mayor Schmoke is elected for a third term?
Your reporter referred to a portion of the City Paper article, but the rest was just as important to relate; many, many faults were found with Ms. Pratt's business sense.
She owned property that had numerous housing violations. She was in arrears in property taxes and some of these properties were scheduled for auction. Her partner bought out her share to save her future embarrassment in the midst of her campaign. The article also alluded to other issues that made her ability to act independently and effectively questionable.
All this information was available in the media, and has not been retracted. So I presume all or most is true. As they say, I only know what I read in the paper.
Endorsing Ms. Pratt over Julian Lapides, who came through sounding much more qualified, based on his commitment to service by his attendance record while in the legislature, and her lack of same on very important committees and boards, shows a lack of forethought on The Sun's part.
You recall Mr. Lapides' distinguished career as a watchdog and civic presence, how he was single-handedly responsible for much of the General Assembly's ethics legislation. The only negatives were his strong convictions and opposition to Oriole Park. Yet you endorse Mary Pat Clarke and dismiss those same negatives in her.
In a position such as comptroller, after suffering the embarrassment of Jacqueline McLean, having a novice is not the answer.
We need the qualifications of Mr. Lapides, in spite of his strong convictions. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Each election year provides us with an opportunity to analyze, critique and evaluate the record of those individuals who seek or want to retain a seat in public office. The current contest for Baltimore's municipal offices is no exception.
The Sun actively participates in this review process and offers its recommendation for city offices.
A person, whom I think highly of, and who currently represents the Second District -- Paula Johnson Branch -- did not receive your paper's endorsement. The primary reason given by The Sun concerned her attendance record, completely ignoring her positive and considerable contributions during the past four years.
One particular piece of legislation stands out as a testimony of her hard work and commitment to our citizens -- City Council Ordinance 98. The amnesty for fines and penalties has been a win -- both for the city and some of our recalcitrant citizens.
The writer, a state senator, represents the 45th Legislative District.
Movies Are Worse
The shocking, sickening statements of Mark Fuhrman expose a prevalent, accepted, admired and even glorified attitude of many individual and groups of Americans. One does not have to look very far to find the evidence.
Best-selling author Pat Conroy portrayed graphically a Fuhrman type-Marine Capt. Bull Meecham in his 1976 novel, "The Great Santini." Bull Meecham, who ruled absolutely his family and his men with verbal and physical abuse, was hated yet admired for the very vile traits that demeaned and harmed. Marine life, as well as life in other armed forces, too often breeds Fuhrman/Bull Meecham types.
Families get the brunt of this "I am God" attitude. Imitation, by example, is fostered in children whose fear and vulnerability either defeats them or turns them into clones, thereby repeating the cycle.
America's children for the past 20 years have watched and read more about violence and hatred than any previous generation. That violence and hatred is spewed daily in film and on the streets of America. Most of the modern world reaps its share of these efforts.
Honor and rewards are given for this depravity. The movie "Pulp Fiction" is an example. Filmmakers get rich making more and more violent films, extolling hatred, which children and adults digest.
They can hear worse language than Mark Fuhrman's on HBO most evenings. Their minds, hearts and attitudes are formed daily by shocking, sickening statements and actions fed directly to them through the media. The shocking, sickening fact is that the savage, hateful murder of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson had become entertainment for the masses, with various characters vying for top billing and notoriety in the "La-La Land" courtroom where fact has become fiction and fiction is fact.
I would like to congratulate Doug Struck on his Aug. 30 report, "Jerusalem's anniversary finds few in a party mood," concerning the Jerusalem 3000 celebration being planned by the municipal government of Jerusalem. He accurately reported that Jerusalem has been the "indivisible" capital of the Jewish state since the Old City was restored to Jewish sovereignty in 1967 and the "eternal capital" of the Jewish people for much longer than that.
Mr. Struck also reported very accurately that "religious and political tolerance" have been the hallmark of Israeli control of Jerusalem. This being the case, it is not unusual that the celebration will "highlight the place and devotion of other communities, including Christians" in the history of the city. The Jewish people, the Jewish state and the Jewish capital indeed realize, as Mr. Struck reported, "that we all have Jerusalem."
Under Jewish sovereignty Jerusalem is, and was always meant to be, a home to all nations.
It is unfortunate that under Christian and Muslim control, Jewish access to Jerusalem was either restricted or impossible. It is sad to think that in recent times the Jordanians, both Muslims and Christians, banished Jews from Jerusalem and demolished the Jewish quarter of the city -- including historic houses of prayer and study -- with the encouragement and support of Arab and Muslim nations around the world and the silent consent of the Vatican and the United Nations.
How thankful we all should be that the Jewish people are finally in a position to demonstrate to the world how Jerusalem can be governed so that all people can access this holiest of cities freely and without fear -- as long as they come in peace. This is so because only the Jewish people love Jerusalem above all things and wish to share their greatest joy with the entire world. Mr. Struck is correct again when he reports "Jerusalem is ours. Only ours," because only under Jewish sovereignty does Jerusalem belong to us all.
Norman B. Jaffee
Cal Ripken's Truth and Purity
One night, my seven-year-old son asked me, "When I grow up, can I be just like Cal Ripken?"
I took a minute to answer this question.
Raising children in today's society is becoming very challenging. Every day the television news and front pages of newspapers are filled with crime and violence. Children watch television commercials that talk about AIDS, unprotected sex, etc. I am not opposed to these commercials; I am only saddened that we must explain such things to them at such an early age.
I shudder when I see well-known sports figures involved in drug use or violent crimes. These are the people children look up to. MTV videos scream sexual innuendoes. Songs are filled with obscene language. Nudity is all over advertisements.
Cal Ripken built his reputation on purity and truth. He represents family values that we often forget exist today. His contributions to charities, especially those involving children, are overwhelming.
This is the image we want projected to our children. So, when we stand up and cheer for Cal Ripken, we are cheering for our hope for children as well. And, in answer to my son's question: Yes, you can grow up to be just like Cal Ripken.