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After Kurt SchmokeDoes Baltimore need a return...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

After Kurt Schmoke

Does Baltimore need a return to William Donald Schaefer's "do it now" approach or more of the cerebral but detached style of Kurt L. Schmoke? Or something else?

Send us your thoughts on the skills, experience and management style Baltimore should seek in its next mayor, who will lead the city into the 21st century.

Letters should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.

Send responses to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is letteraltsun.com.

All letters are subject to editing.

Another Ford needed to put nation's interest ahead of political gain

As Congress bungles toward an impeachment vote, I can't help remembering what it was like living through Watergate.

I know what an impeachable offense feels like, as do the great majority of American people. I suspect a great majority of Congress does, too. This isn't one, and yet Congress pushes us inexorably toward an abyss.

I also recall the feeling I had when Gerald Ford was sworn in as president after Richard Nixon resigned. It was as if a 100-pound weight had been lifted collectively from every American's shoulders. "Thank God, an honest man at last," I shouted at the TV as Mr. Ford was sworn in.

And then he did what may ultimately be judged as one of the

most courageous acts in American political history. He pardoned the disgraced and much-hated Richard Nixon, saving the nation from another two years of agonizing and destructive political angst. And he paid the price for his conviction that the best thing for the country was to immediately put Watergate behind us.

As a lifelong Democrat, I hated that he wasted no time in letting Nixon off the hook. I thought at the time he was wrong, and obviously so did most Americans because he took the fall after serving only two years as president.

Those of us who lived through Watergate know that Nixon tried to cut the heart out of the democratic process, and we wanted him to pay for it.

But President Ford, knowing he was signing his political death certificate, put the interests of the American people ahead of his own. He was a good, honest man who made all of us feel better.

This impeachment process is bent on splitting the country apart in a blind pursuit of partisan justice. Where are the Gerald Fords?

Richard E. Keister

Monkton

Editorial sunk to new low defending Clinton's wrongs

The editorial against impeachment projects your paper to a new low of respectability ("Without high crimes, end impeachment now" Dec. 8).

Mr. Clinton has jumped from one offense to another since he was elected.

Your paper has backed the Democratic line on every wrong he has committed.

If the elected leader of our country and the news media cannot distinguish between right and wrong, the future of society doesn't look very promising.

It's time for the public to get rid of them both.

William D. Townsend

Lutherville

Partisan loyalty over oath for president's defenders

We are inundated daily with news of the tragedy of America: carjackings, house break-ins, children dying -- and killing -- and, as reported on the front page of The Sun, corrections jobs are replacing industry jobs that have left.

These tragedies pale in comparison to the spectacle of the impeachment proceedings.

What is one to think of those members of the House Judiciary Committee who, like junkyard dogs, make a lot of irrelevant and irreverent noise as a strategy to defend the lack of character and moral integrity of President Clinton? This by men and women who have sworn to protect and defend the Constitution.

Partisan loyalty takes precedence over that oath, apparently for some.

Vincent Ciletti

Baltimore

Voting party or conscience, impeachment hurts nation

The full House will likely vote for articles of impeachment. The notion that one would inflict an impeachment trial on the American people when there is no chance of success in the Senate is unspeakably irresponsible.

A vote for impeachment under these circumstances is either a lock-step partisan move or a reflection of authentic revulsion at Clinton's behavior.

If it is the former, it ignores the clear will of the people and is arrogantly anti-democratic. If it is the latter, it visits upon the country the tortuous reality of an impeachment trial for the sake of a symbolic gesture whose symbolism will never be particularly clear.

Joseph L. Evans

Sparks

Lane's 'Runamok' cartoon hits mark on Henry Hyde

Mike Lane's "Runamok" cartoon is rapidly becoming one of my favorite things about Sundays. His Henry Hyde fruitcake take was right on target.

Mr. Hyde broadens the scope of the House Judiciary Committee investigation, but when the fishing expedition comes up with no fish, he wants us to forget the whole thing.

He holds forth on how his hearings are about constitutional responsibility, not politics, but refuses the president's defense team adequate time to present a case because he's afraid the next Congress with a slimmer Republican majority won't be partisan enough to vote out articles of impeachment.

He practically equates the president's unwillingness to make his private affairs public to a capital crime, but he is on record defending Oliver North's lying about selling arms to Iran, a country that held American citizens hostage, simply because Mr. North was working for Republican Ronald Reagan.

President Clinton may have his faults, but when up against such blowhards as Mr. Hyde, Newt Gingrich, Bill Bennett and Ralph Reed, Mr. Clinton looks like one of the Founding Fathers.

The reality is funnier than the cartoon.

Joe Roman

Baltimore

Sun's 'scandalous' criticism of Mayor Schmoke is unfair

The criticism that hit Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke in The Sun upon his announcement that he will not seek re-election to a fourth term next year was scandalous.

Twelve years ago, then-Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer uttered words that still ring true, according to Barry Rascovar: "The next mayor would have a tough time coping with Baltimore's sad decline" ("Schmoke faced hardship of city's decline," Dec. 4).

And Mayor Schmoke has had a tough time, despite his superior education and conscientious endeavors. Reporter Gerald Shields said that the "city's myriad problems beg for a skilled mayor." From Guilford to Cherry Hill, from the west side to the east side of Baltimore, there might be an individual who could handle it all. But done criticize Mr. Schmoke. He has done a good job despite impossible situations.

Frieda Faiman Eisenberg

Baltimore

Schmoke brought city back from disrepair he inherited

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is a wonderful mayor. He brought the city back after predecessors left it in disrepair.

Parts of the city had been neglected to promote the harbor and other affluent areas. I believe the real reason for the criticism of Mr. Schmoke is he didn't don old-time swimming attire with his ducky wucky and jump into the aquarium tank. Thanks for the likes of Mayor Schmoke.

Nathaniel Hagler

Baltimore

Using capitalistic means for socialistic ends

I write in response to two Opinion Commentary pieces: Barry Rascovar's "Tobacco money should go to medical research" (Nov. 25) and Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover's "Democrats hail the 'third way' " (Dec. 7).

The settlement by the tobacco companies has spurred debate about how to spend the money. It seems to me that the best possible use is one that would represent a "third way" for politics in America.

Why not invest the money as a kind of "public trust," an endowment for the general good of the people of Maryland, and use it to fund a variety of programs and tax cuts?

This would maximize the potential of this tremendous windfall far more than any one-shot approach to using it. This would be a more tangible and beneficial "third way" than pragmatic idealism or compassionate conservatism. One could call it "using capitalistic means to achieve socialistic ends."

Stephen R. Rourke

Baltimore

Pub Date: 12/13/98

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