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Shocking positionAs one who has served several...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Shocking position

As one who has served several decades with Julian Lapides in the Maryland State Senate, I was shocked at the Sunpapers' failure to endorse him for city comptroller.

For all of the years we served together, Senator Lapides was "the conscience of the Senate," resulting in his being the clear choice for chairman of the Ethics Committee.

He also served ably on the very important Budget and Tax Committee and was an outstanding chairman of the joint Budget and Audit Committee. He was truly the "watchdog" of the state's purse strings. All of this experience in fiscal matters makes him superbly qualified to serve as Baltimore's comptroller.

Senator Lapides was also an early sponsor and supporter of the Senate's civil rights legislation -- long before it was the popular thing to do.

If the citizens of Baltimore fail to elect Jack Lapides as their comptroller, they will have missed the opportunity to put into this office a candidate of unquestioned integrity with superb fiscal skills and with the proven ability to serve all of the people of Baltimore.

James Clark Jr.

Ellicott City

Math humor

A hearty "Thank you" (excuse me, Rex) is once again in order to The Baltimore Sun. While reading the article by Edward N. Wolff (Perspective, Sept. 3), I had a "hoot."

The concept of "hoot" used here is measurable, audible laughter, e.g. laughed until I cried, uproaring, belly-quaking laughter.

Once again, cooked statistics are being stated as facts.

Mr. Wolff states that "New research, based on data from federal surveys, shows that between 1983 and 1989, the top 20 percent of wealth holders received 99 percent of the total gain in marketable wealth, while the bottom 80 percent of the population got only 1 percent."

Which federal surveys? What was the sample size of those surveys? How were the sample weights derived? What was the variance of the survey results? I had to get to paragraph 19 before he defined his term "wealth."

Quoting Mr. Wolff, "The concept of wealth used here . . . does not include automobiles . . ." What a convenient definition to support an obviously biased point of view.

This definition plays with the numbers. From the perspective of a statistical analyst I would point out that the percentage of "wealth" in terms of automobile ownership by the top 1 percent nasty, filthy, rich is immeasurably small. However, for most people this is not true.

By Mr. Wolff's figures, "the average American family's wealth adds up to a comparatively meager $52,000." Now I understand that I cannot sell my automobile for the price that I paid for it. But Mr. Wolff is categorically incorrect to assert that this asset is worth $0.00, which his definition of wealth states. I could probably sell the vehicle for 50 percent of the purchase price on the private market today.

My point is that this cavalier (or, worse, deliberate) disallowing of such assets skews the data for the weighted records in the unnamed surveys. There is never a dull moment when reading The Sun.

Albert Thomas Holt

Cockeysville

Postal workers

Sometimes an event occurs that is so marvelous, as many people as possible need to know about it. Therefore, it is my pleasure to relate my story.

I am a civil servant in the Charles L. Benton Building at 417 E. Fayette Street. Friday, Sept. 1, I received my paycheck and wrote my bills as I do every other Friday.

Unfortunately, when I posted my bills, I also dropped my paycheck in the mailbox. Horrors! I knew if I waited until 5 p.m. or so I could catch the mail collector, but at that time I need to be picking up my child from day care.

So I called the Post Office. A wonderful woman (whom I found out later was Joanne Rowlins) took my plight to heart and requested that a mail carrier come down to my office and retrieve the mail so that I could "have my paycheck for the holiday weekend."

Ten minutes later, James Cook showed up, got the mail and took it back to the main Post Office. He, as well, was a pleasure to meet.

I then walked up the street to the Post Office where Officer Stull assured me that I wasn't the first to mail my paycheck and that I certainly wouldn't be the last. He rang Collections, where they were expecting the call.

Soon thereafter, with a minimum of paperwork and a check of my ID, James Cook placed my paycheck in my hand. Time elapsed: 22 minutes.

So I don't care what anyone says about the postal workers, I think they are a terrific bunch of public servants.

Bronwyn Kauffman

Baltimore

Fine educators overcame many hurdles

The article, "Gifted, black -- they were paid to study elsewhere," (Aug. 14) by Mike Bowler, was fantastic. It was a long time coming.

The experiences of black educators prior to desegregation of graduate schools in Maryland were hard and draining. Those educators were certainly role models for me, as were many others not mentioned in the article.

I always admired the stamina and determination of these people, who every summer left Baltimore by train, bus, car and plane to earn graduate degrees in universities that accepted them. Many of them, also, took courses at night during the winter months.

Yet they still managed to provide children with the best education possible. I knew that I was going to follow in their footsteps and become the best teacher possible.

I knew that nothing would be impossible for me to accomplish, because of their example. I knew that I had to continue learning as long as I was to impart knowledge to the young children entrusted to me.

It was not only important for me to become a skilled teacher, but it was also important that I become aware of and participate in research and evaluation, to find out how children learn and to prove that every child can learn.

Drs. Roland Patterson and John Crew allowed and encouraged me to carry out research in the schools. Mrs. Alice Pinderhuges encouraged my work with young children. Their interest and assistance provided me the opportunity to participate in studies that enabled me to be involved in research at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

During their tenures as educators in Baltimore City, our school programs were considered among the best in the country. Our early childhood programs were known and praised globally.

One of the proudest moments was to stand in the processional at the University of Maryland at College Park with Dr. Rebecca Carroll as she received her doctoral degree and I received my masters degree. Dr. Carroll is barely 5 feet tall, but on that day she looked 10 feet tall to me.

Yes, there are many role models for blacks, such as the Carrolls, the Pinderhuges, Brackets, Valentines, Seabornes, Dantleys, Woodlons, Brooks, Wilsons, Cothorns, Robinsons, Dysons and many, many more.

I want to thank all of these people for the example they set for me to follow. The list could go on and on. Baltimore City schools flourished under the guidance of these educators.

African-Americans need only to look around and they will find many role models. The greatest role models of all may be within their own family and neighborhood.

Ernestine M. Reid, Ph.D.

Columbia

Containing China

The history of the next century will probably be dominated by the Chinese. But that doesn't require the U.S. or China's neighbors to simply roll over and submit to threats and bullying.

China has accused the U.S. of a policy of "containment" -- and I hope that is correct.

Five decades ago, when the Soviet Union began to aggressively exploit its size and emerging power, the West reacted by forming alliances. These were designed to maintain stability, a balance of power and to protect smaller and weaker nations.

In an analogous situation, China has recently begun to threaten its neighbors, conduct nuclear tests, export missiles to dangerous regimes and is now attempting to intimidate the Taiwanese in an attempt to manipulate their internal election.

China has also flagrantly trampled the human rights of its own citizens, the people of Tibet and American citizen Harry Wu.

It is globally important to bring China into full partnership in the comity of nations, in spite of recent saber-rattling.

Only a combination of clarity, patience, diplomacy, alliances, and the 7th Fleet will convince the current Chinese despots that civility and compliance with international standards are the best ways to reach their objectives.

China is testing us, and I hope U.S. leadership is up to the challenge.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

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