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Senate trial gives Clinton a chance to...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Senate trial gives Clinton a chance to expose real scandal

It is really too bad that at a time so many perceive the Republican Party as being under complete control of the most fanatical elements of the religious right that moderate members of the House of Representatives have demonstrated such an appalling lack of courage.

One has to wonder just how the right wing has gotten to them.

One way to find out is by letting the process go forward. The few who so rabidly favor trying to remove the president from office do not seem to realize that in a trial before the Senate, the president would at last have the opportunity to defend himself -- something that has yet to occur.

In a trial before the Senate, everyone from Monica Lewinsky to Linda Tripp to Lucianne Goldberg to even Henry Hyde and Tom DeLay can be called to testify and be cross-examined by Mr. Clinton's defense team.

Then, at last, we would see that Ms. Tripp's illegally obtained evidence will not hold up when the rules of law are applied.

Those who have joined the lynch mob fail to realize that only one side of the argument has been heard.

I believe the right wing's strategy throughout has been based on the belief that the president will cave in to the pressure and resign. Fortunately for all of us who believe in free elections, he will not. The bluff is about to be called.

In a trial before the Senate, the real scandal will be revealed, and it is the Republican Party that will suffer.

Joe Roman

Baltimore

Clinton's betrayal of trust makes impeachment right

During our recent visit to Washington, my husband and I visited the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Engraved on a wall is a memorable quote that I feel is appropriate in view of today's mess in Washington: "I never forget that I live in a house owned by the American people and that I have been given their trust."

Has President Clinton betrayed this trust? Yes. Impeachment is right.

Mary Jane Osial

Randallstown

To Founders, impeachment was for king-size crimes

History will deal harshly with the political partisans who now conspire to mislead the nation about removing the president from office. They know that nothing he has done parallels the "high crimes and misdemeanors" that bothered the Founding Fathers, whose concern, then, was to preserve the rights of the people and the security of the nation.

The main text of the Declaration of Independence lists high crimes of which the king was guilty. The colonies "impeached" him by severing ties with him. Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries were concerned with seeing that the nation would never again be so victimized. This finally led, in 1787, to the Constitution, the Preamble of which states the purpose through a list of assurances to the people.

Civil servants who are guilty of acts of such consequence that jeopardize these assurances (mainly the rights of the people and security of the nation) are guilty of impeachable crimes. From Jefferson's draft of the Declaration to the Constitution, that idea has been clearly evident.

Among the wrongs of recent concern, one that fits the category of high crimes, is the attempt to remove the duly elected president from office with the pretext that he has committed an impeachable high crime.

Earl Jones

Baltimore

Clinton has served well, does not deserve removal

I am ashamed to be an American today. The Congress of our great country is poised to remove a sitting president who was elected twice to serve the people. And he has served the people.

The country has rarely been in such good hands. The economy is the best it has been in 30 years. President Clinton has used his office to help prepare us for the global economy and put in place capable leaders to assure our aggressiveness and competitiveness in that economy.

Those who would minimize his hand in these accomplishments would have been the first to scream for his head had the economy gone bad. Fair is fair.

And despite his early admonitions to the contrary ("It's the economy, stupid!"), he has shown a deft hand and amazing ability to forge peace where others have failed, in places such as Northern Ireland, Bosnia and the Middle East.

We all know that the president made mistakes of judgment, but were they really abuses of power? Does his wrong rise to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors"? Who among us has not made mistakes of judgment, Republicans included? Will we lower the bar of impeachment so low that a leader is afraid to call in sick? Don't hold the country hostage to a painful and debilitating Senate trial merely to punish him.

Tobias Kaye

Bel Air

Action to remove president is not in country's interest

By pursuing impeachment, Congress was not serving the interests of this country or the wishes of its constituency. Bill Clinton has done a satisfactory job so far, and could do more, but his hands have been tied at every turn by partisan politics. Now he is being railroaded into political oblivion.

Mr. Clinton is not the first president to have committed adultery. If we routinely removed people from office for sexual misconduct, there would be few left to govern. While having an affair may be morally questionable, it certainly doesn't fit the category of "high crimes and misdemeanors" as defined by our Founding Fathers.

If anyone should be censured, it is those Republicans who are continuing this partisan witch-hunt.

Patti Kinlock

Baltimore

In her terms, Rehrmann filled predecessor's gaps

Habern Freeman's letter criticizing The Sun for praising Eileen Rehrmann's accomplishments as Harford County executive needs clarification.

Mr. Freeman lays claim for construction of a state-of-the-art landfill but fails to note that he left behind the upcapped Tollgate landfill, which required many millions of dollars to mitigate. He talks about water and sewer lines controlling development, but fails to note that it was during his administration that most of Harford's explosive and unmanaged growth took place.

During the last years of the Freeman administration, new housing starts averaged more than 3,000 a year. Under Ms. Rehrmann, the average was 1,500.

In October 1990, a month before that year's general election, Mr. Freeman invited all the candidates for public office to hear an assessment of the county's situation. He advised everyone that more than $100 million in capital projects had to be addressed by the next administration, and there was no money. "That's your problem," he told the gathering.

It turned out that the county's infrastructure needs totaled more than $300 million, including new schools, remodeled older ones, repairs to leaking roofs, new water treatment and state-of-the-art sewer treatment plants, a new library and many other projects ignored by the previous administration.

Ms. Rehrmann not only built these projects, but did so during a recession and massive cuts in state aid -- without raising the income or real estate tax rates. And she left an $11 million surplus.

Mr. Freeman can grouse all he wants about The Sun's praise of Ms. Rehrmann, but facts are facts.

George Harrison Jr.

Bel Air

The writer served as chairman of the Harford County Board of Library Trustees and as member of the county Economic Development Advisory Board under Mr. Freeman and as public information officer under Ms. Rehrmann.

More cargo coming here would clog our highways

I write in regard to your article "Baltimore steers a course to triple container shipping" (Dec. 13).

Few people would argue that increased business is good for Baltimore, but we should wonder how a possible move by Maersk Inc. and Sealand Services Inc. to make the Baltimore port their Northeast shipping hub could impact those who travel the interstate system between Washington and Philadelphia.

As Baltimore steers a course to triple cargo container shipping to a renovated Dundalk Marine Terminal, how many of the projected 550,000 plus inbound cargo containers will end up on 18-wheelers upon entry to Baltimore and clog an I-95 corridor already beset with too much traffic?

Mark A. Kukucka

Kingsville

Pub Date: 12/20/98

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