Jailing poor people who lack lawyers is...


Jailing poor people who lack lawyers is truly unjust

Social injustice lives and thrives in our judiciary. It is manifest in the judicial arbitrariness, revealed in Caitlin Francke's article "City judge jailing poor defendants who lack lawyers" (Oct. 25) about a judge, John N. Prevas, who feel entitled to jail poor defendants unable to afford an attorney.

Judge Prevas thinks that appearing in court without an attorney is "analogous to coming to court drunk and not being able to conduct business."

Obviously, it requires only good sense and responsible decision-making to avoid drunkenness in court, capacities possessed by all except alcoholics and the mentally impaired. But it takes money to hire an attorney, and it is money (not qualities of character) that the poor most sorely lack. Hence Judge Prevas' actions amount to punishing the poor for being poor.

Judge Prevas' twisted logic makes me wonder if he isn't too impaired in his own reasoning and sense of fairness to be fit to serve as judge. Perhaps we should impeach such judges. Social injustice and stupidity in the judiciary are far greater wrongs than any sexual indiscretion.

Robert E. Birt


Palestinian charter's goals identical to 1942 Germany's

In 1942, in the fashionable suburb of Berlin, Wannssee, 15 of the highest Nazis decided the fate of the Jews: total destruction of European Jewry.

The Palestine Liberation Organization charter calls for the destruction of Israel. Can anyone explain the difference between Wannssee and the PLO?

Joseph Kryszpel


Glendening Pfiesteria hype favored Big Mac over crabs

The editorial board of The Sun must be hard-pressed to find reasons for its glowing endorsement of Gov. Parris N. Glendening. His handling of last year's Pfiesteria "crisis" was given as one of his outstanding accomplishments.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The governor played to the public's fear of contaminated food to make Maryland seafood products seem like a health risk. His people used fish lesions as an indicator of a Pfiesteria infection. However, a recent U.S. Geological Survey done by fish pathologist Vicki Blazer reported these lesions are caused by a fungus known as Aphanomyces.

As a Maryland crab processor and seafood dealer whose company has been in business since 1920, I find it offensive that your paper would endorse a candidate who used misinformation and media hype to promote his image as our environmental governor. Our governor would probably rather eat a Big Mac, like his sometime buddy President Clinton, than enjoy a Maryland crab cake or a piece of Delmarva fried chicken.

His lack of knowledge and use of science impacted commercial production of Chesapeake Bay seafood, severely reduced retail

sales of all seafood products in Maryland stores and ruined pristine recreational areas such as Snow Hill for tourism. Fishing centers such as Tilghman Island, Chesapeake Beach and Crisfield felt economic hardship.

Re-elect Mr. Glendening, and Maryland consumers will be eating Mexican crab meat and Chinese chicken.

Jennings C. Tolley


Baltimore should not forget Sauerbrey false accusation

Baltimore City and its citizens were insulted to the extreme in the 1994 election by Ellen R. Sauerbrey, when she falsely accused us of election fraud. In the 1998 election, she should receive absolutely zero votes from Baltimore City.

Harry E. Bennett Jr.


Sauerbrey would bring environmental balance

By now you've probably heard the tabloid-style attacks on Ellen R. Sauerbrey's environmental record. It reminds me of 1986 when environmentalists complained about gubernatorial candidate, then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer. By signing the large majority environmental bills, Governor Schaefer proved to be a good friend of the bay.

Maryland is subject to the nation's most stringent environmental laws and regulations, which were passed by a heavily Democratic legislature and signed by liberal-to-moderate governors. Even if the worst-case scenario occurs and Governor Sauerbrey completely opposes the environment, it's clear Maryland's liberal legislature will not pass anti-environmental bills. Governor Sauerbrey would only be able to veto bills that further increase environmental requirements.

Too much regulation puts Maryland at a disadvantage to our neighboring states and doesn't help the bay. Because of Pennsylvania's much less stringent environmental requirements, pollutants from Pennsylvania developments are much less mitigated than those from Maryland developments.

Glance at a bay watershed map, and you'll see that Pennsylvania runoff enters Maryland and the bay via the Susquehanna River, Gunpowder Falls and the Monocacy River. The story is similar in Virginia. Increasing Maryland's regulations is not the answer. We need the sensible balance that a Governor Sauerbrey can bring to Maryland state government.

Raymond Burns


Good government requires a vote against Question B

The League of Women Voters of Baltimore County is strongly opposed to Question B, on the merit system, which would amend the charter so that future county executives could appoint all the members of the executive staff.

The charter allows the county executive to appoint his or her important advisers. We agree it is important for policy-making positions to have the same point of view as the chief elected officer. However, merit employees usually hold essential but nonpolicy-making positions. Currently, only one merit employee is in the executive office. The other 11 are nonmerit appointees who work part-time (34 hours a week).

We see no need to have future county executives fill the office with people who represent political supporters when qualified merit employees could perform the same tasks. We are also concerned that the proposed amendment does not limit the number of positions to be appointed to the executive office.

In sum, we oppose Question B, based on our history of promoting good government. Historically, excessive patronage has worked against efficiency and quality. We believe this amendment has the potential to compromise good government.

Anne H. Lee


The writer is president of the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County.

Election Day a referendum on Clinton and leadership

Let's make no mistake. Nov. 3 is a referendum on President Clinton and on honesty, fitness for leadership, leadership itself, judgment, whether an ordinary citizen can get justice and societal bribery. I, for one, cannot believe there is no one else in the party who is capable of doing the job of leading the country.

Morton M. Mower


Pinochet's contradictions cannot be reconciled

Richard O'Mara's article ("Change in the times ensnared Pinochet," Oct. 22, Sun Journal) concerning Gen. Augusto Pinochet's arrest was informative and very revealing. The article was full of contradictions that U.S. media pundits (and the world press) are grappling with in an attempt to put the former Chilean leader's detainment into perspective.

After explaining how free-market economists were given a free hand by Mr. Pinochet to annihilate the state economy, crush domestic industries and cause "hundreds of thousands of people" to lose their jobs and sink into poverty, Mr. O'Mara states: "But the economy took off like a rocket."

After that, he points out that Chile "became one of the most prosperous countries in the world" and concludes: "In a way, this is Pinochet's legacy, as are the torture, kidnapping and murder."

So how do we view this contradictory "legacy"? Do we factor in the Central Intelligence Agency's role in overthrowing Salvador Allende and paving the way for Mr. Pinochet as well as actively supporting his regime for 15 years?

What does it mean when the economy takes off like a rocket while more than a quarter of a million people sink into poverty? Who benefited from this economy -- Chileans or multinational corporations?

The answers are making our national leaders and establishment pundits very uneasy. They attemptto ignore critical insight and historic reality. An example of this is Mr. O'Mara's comment that Mr. Pinochet was "both an instrument and a victim of historical forces."

No, he was not a victim. He is the outgrowth of deliberate and conscious policies that contributed to and still sustain the vast disparity of wealth between the rich few and the poor majority.

Joseph Delia


Pub Date: 10/30/98

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