Environmental laws are why country has cleaner...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Environmental laws are why country has cleaner air and 0) water

The intellectual dishonesty of Tony Snow's May 5 column ("The sky isn't falling, Mr. Gore") is grotesque. He excoriates America's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, which limits carbon dioxide emissions, and claims environmentalists "harbor an infantile fear of the grownup world."

As if to prove those fears are groundless and that government intervention, which he terms "annoying regulations," would be foolish, Mr. Snow states, "Today our air is cleaner than it has

been since World War I, and our water hasn't been as pure since horse-and-buggy days."

What Mr. Snow doesn't say, of course, is that the purity is a result of tough anti-pollution legislation pushed through Congress in the 1970s -- legislation that forced those "captains of industry" he worships to clean up their act.

Mr. Snow must believe in spontaneous environmental healing. Obviously, he doesn't believe in telling the truth.

Jack Purdy

Ellicott City

'Terrible' Baltimore Arena is out of step with the times

Last year, I moved to Baltimore from Cincinnati and enjoy living on the East Coast. I love going to Orioles games at Camden Yards, and it looks as if the new football stadium will be just as spectacular.

What I don't understand is why Baltimore has such an out-of-date indoor sports facility. A couple of weeks ago, a few friends and I went to a professional lacrosse game at the Baltimore Arena. We had a horrible time.

The game was exciting but the arena was terrible. The seats are much too small, and there is absolutely no leg room. The view from our seats was dreadful, and there were not enough concession stands.

And what I could not figure out was why there was a stage at the far end of the arena. Was the facility designed for the symphony or for sports?

Before the city or state spends a penny on a new playhouse, a new arena should be built.

Dirk Himebaugh

Westminster

We don't need MSPAP to find troubled schools

In the April 29 editorial "Van Bokkelen's turnaround," the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program is credited as the reason a troubled school with unsuccessful students was identified and turned around.

The editorial was quick to mention, however, that all the red flags had been up and flying for years with the state's threat of reconstitution.

Why is it necessary, then, for a hyped test to diagnose a failing school? What is wrong with education accountability that officials had to design such a costly, invasive testing program to rescue public school students?

MSPAP is a complicated tool of governance that is actually getting in the way of true school reform. It is another layer in the web of bureaucracy that perpetuates the blame game and its ensuing negative climate.

Rather than holding education systems hostage with the MSPAP, the Maryland State Department of Education should focus on bringing research-based programs to every school so that each student's success can be guaranteed, whether they are at Van Bokkelen Elementary or any other school.

Mary Pat Kahle

Timonium

Translation off by a word changes the meaning a lot

The front page of The Sun April 27 shows a picture of demonstrators protesting the election of right-wing members to the German parliament. Unfortunately the sign was translated incorrectly.

"Nazi's raus aus den Kopfen" means: "Nazis out of their heads", not ". . . on their heads." It's just one little word, but it changes the meaning significantly. The young woman carrying the sign wants people to get Nazi ideology out of their heads, i.e., to forget it. The way you translated it, it sounds like an aggressive appeal to remove Nazis.

Please be more careful in translating foreign texts. They can leave the wrong impressions with readers.

Gabriele Lorek-Parks

Ellicott City

Substitute teachers are unsung heroes of schools

I would like to salute some unsung heroes serving our schools -- substitute teachers. They are committed, selfless, caring people who often drop what they're doing to come in on a moment's notice.

For their efforts, they receive little pay and even less respect. Substitutes probably encounter more disrespect and verbal abuse than most other adults working in education. Unfortunately, often ordinarily obedient students think nothing of being rude to a substitute teacher.

Although most school officials and administrators are very supportive, a few do not consider contemptuous behavior toward substitutes a serious matter. Therefore, little is done to curtail it. Occasionally, teachers also are unkind. In one instance, because the regular staff wanted privacy, subs weren't permitted to enter the faculty lunchroom.

It isn't any wonder why the best ones leave. Substitute teaching is one of the most difficult and thankless jobs in schools today. Yet little is done to fairly compensate or improve the conditions of those who serve. This needs to change.

Mank

Baltimore

Bill Clinton, not McDougal, deserves shackle treatment

I agree with Bail L. Rao ("Shackled Susan McDougal is snapshot of McCarthyism," April 24), and I am voicing my disgust at seeing Susan H. McDougal in shackles. It should be Bill Clinton.

Lawrence J. Klos

Baltimore

Rita Fisher case highlights necessity of record-keeping

Thank you for your April 30 story on Rita Fisher's murder (" 'Safety net' let little Rita Fisher fall to her death"). Your story rightly stresses the history of multiple abuse complaints fielded in this case. The history of complaints evidently is intact, and although it did not prevent Rita's death, the sequence of events highlights the importance of recordkeeping.

Child abuse and neglect investigations are inherently difficult. An accurate history of past complaints is an essential part of protecting children. It is critical to the proper allocation of resources during an investigation.

There is a policy crisis regarding the creation and use of Child Protective Services records following a ruling of the Maryland Court of Appeals. The court ruled this month that no record may be made about the names of adults in a child-abuse investigation without providing those adults a full evidentiary hearing.

The cost of those hearings would be substantial. Making a computerized record does not imply guilt but may raise suspicion about the person listed. The governor and the General Assembly must decide whether to change the law regarding recordkeeping or include enough money in the budget to pay for hearings.

Without either action, hundreds or even thousands of children will not have the benefit of complete records of past allegations of child abuse or neglect.

Charlie Cooper

Baltimore

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Thank you for Michael Olesker's poignant remarks regarding the death of Rita Fisher ("Rita's killers disgrace the human race," April 30). Somehow he said what I wanted to say about the anger, frustration and amazement of the second-degree murder conviction that resulted from the trial of the three who killed little Rita.

I suppose the deaths resulting from starvation and dehydration atrocities of the World War II death camps also were only second-degree offenses. I see little difference here. As many of those perpetrators were eventually executed, this should have been the conviction of the jury. Our coddling justice system suggests that these people did not intend to kill little Rita. If so, why did they deny the food and water essential to sustain her?

I will pray for her and think about her cries for mercy that went unanswered, her tears for the physical pain imposed on her fragile body, and her despair, knowing her own family lied to the caseworkers who might have helped.

W.J. Andahazy

Annapolis

Nipper memorializes 'Walt Disney of Baltimore'

I would like to express my joy to learn that Baltimore's beloved canine, Nipper the Dog, has a new home at the Maryland Historical Society. Nipper's move is a fitting tribute to the career of Howard Adler, who could very easily have been the Walt Disney of Baltimore.

Amy E. Seitz

Baltimore

Pub Date: 5/11/98

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