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Sergeant's complaints of racism snubbed by police...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Sergeant's complaints of racism snubbed by police department

This is in response to Kenneth Stockwell's letter stating that complaints by my husband, Sgt. Louis H. Hopson, of racism were a result of being disciplined ("Fired sergeant's troubles his own making, not racism," Jan. 6). Not so.

In June 1992, my husband was promoted to sergeant and transferred to the Northeast District. He had to tolerate such racist behavior as someone leaving dog feces in an Afro American newspaper on his desk, his wife's picture having a racial epithet written across it, his children's pictures marked with stripes of zebras on them and using a numerical police term used for criminal suspects to refer to him. I could go on and on.

My husband complained to the major of the district with no results. He made formal complaints to the department's internal investigations division, which conveniently tucked them away. He went to the mayor in 1995 as the retaliation for his complaints became worse.

Some changes in the Police Department were implemented at that time. But look at how the department reacts to these allegations (truths). Col. Ronald Daniel was removed from his command, and the mayor had to step in to try to rectify the damage done by Commissioner Thomas Frazier.

My husband's complaints were found just by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. And now the Justice Department is looking into these complaints. So Mr. Stockwell may have enjoyed smearing my husband's name a bit more, but if he is going to tell the story, he should tell it properly.

Stephanie Hopson

Glen Burnie

The writer is the wife of former Sgt. Louis H. Hopson.

Agents make the sacrifices in nation's 'war on drugs'

The New Orleans Times Picayune carried a piece titled "Addicts who seek help should get it" by Ken Fuson of The Sun on Jan. 2. I write to comment on this article.

Journalist Michael Massing, the subject of Mr. Fuson's story, knows nothing of the drug war having not participated in it himself. He can read all of the boxes of federal archives he wishes and see all of the heroin addicts in New York City shoot up, and he will still not get it.

I resent Mr. Massing's referring to treatment workers as having engaged in a heroic struggle. It is the agents all across the country who put their lives on the line who are the heroes.

Mr. Massing, like so many other liberals, refers to $17 billion dedicated to the drug war. This is hogwash.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's budget and that of the Federal Bureau of Investigation dedicated to the so-called drug war does not exceed $1.6 billion.

All of the other money attributed to it is used by other agencies performing their primary mission while efforts toward drug fighting are secondary.

It is ridiculous to believe that education is the route to go in eradicating drug use. What would Mr. Massing have the country do -- stop all enforcement efforts and let anyone bring drugs into the country and let the population become addicts before undoing -- through treatment -- something that should never have occurred in the first place?

Joseph I. Molyneux

Metairie, La.

The writer is a former Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in Louisiana.

Howard sting to nab drivers was a 'Catch-22' trap

The article "Caught in the act: Howard sting snares 28 suspended drivers" (Jan. 8), which describes Howard County's effort to recapture convicted suspended drivers, was interesting.

First a person makes the indefensible mistake of driving under the influence. Then this person is asked to make his or her way to the police station to report to a probation officer. The second paragraph describes it as a "trap," and rightly so. The individuals quoted in the article seemed to have been given the Catch-22 situation of breaking the law through failure to appear or driving with a suspended license.

Depending on the individual situation, parolees must make a living and support homes and families as much as the law-abiding citizen.

Perhaps if government officials, such as Bob Myers, assistant chief investigator at the state Motor Vehicle Administration, want to "make roadways safer places," they will also focus on enforcing laws against the aggressive driving habits of the unconvicted.

Bill Burnham

Baltimore

Good sense, not hysteria needed to prepare for Y2K

Now that 1999 has arrived, and the countdown to 2000 really kicks off, I think it is time that someone trustworthy stands up and addresses the nation on the Y2K issue.

I think the biggest issue for the Y2K bug is not the computers themselves, but people. Of course, computer systems may have glitches, and things may get deleted, but these are repairable, and many companies are preparing for them.

If everyone starts freaking out and pulling their money from banks and the stock markets and starts stockpiling food and basic supplies, we are going to have trouble.

But if everyone is instructed to obtain a food supply to last just a few days, to withdraw only an extra $100 from the bank, to obtain hard copies (on paper) of all their assets as of Dec. 31, 1999 and to stay calm and be patient, I think we can pull through whatever comes our way on Jan. 1, 2000.

Someone should tell the American people that we will survive and counter those who make people fear the worst. Hysteria will not solve anything.

Elise Achuff

Baltimore

If snakes don't fly maybe pigs will

It is a real shame Peter Kahl has to lay out all that money to fight to keep his snake-breeding facility, especially after Baltimore County gave him the required permits to start the business ("Snake breeder sues to keep operating," Jan. 7).

I don't see why the neighbors are upset. The reptiles are kept in a modern, secure facility, and they are not a nuisance to anyone. If Mr. Kahl loses his fight, I hope he can relocate his operation. Maybe someone will buy the property and start a hog farm. That ought to make the neighbors happy.

Joseph C. Weaver

Perry Hall

Inaugural ball payments circumvent campaign laws

According to the Jan. 7 issue of The Sun, you can become a VIP guest at the governor's inaugural ball for $30,000 ("Maryland inaugural a feast of donations").

Allow me to rephrase that. For $30,000, your special-interest group can "contribute" a sum of money that would otherwise be illegal, according to the campaign-finance rules.

With our own leadership cleverly using loopholes to circumvent the law, it's no wonder that the more pedestrian members of our society do the same. How can they expect citizens to have respect for the law when lawmakers themselves do not?

Jessica Fleischer

Cockeysville

Correcting the geography for Allegany's Canal Place

I was recently forwarded a copy of the Dec. 18 issue of The Sun. An article appears in the Regional Digest section that describes the Evitt's Creek footbridge project, which is proposed as part of the city of Cumberland's Canal Place development initiative.

According to the article, this project, as well as the city of Cumberland, is in Frederick County. The Canal Place Preservation and Development District is indeed a designated heritage area. It is a cornerstone of our region's developing hospitality and heritage tourism industry.

We invite you to visit Canal Place, ride the nearby scenic railroad (during its season), hike the adjacent C&O; Canal towpath and shop Cumberland's central business district.

However, we must point out that Canal Place and the city of Cumberland are located in Allegany County, not Frederick County.

In addition, the footbridge that will connect the Western Maryland station and Canal Place to George Washington's headquarters will cross "Will's Creek," which runs through downtown. Evitt's Creek is east of Cumberland.

Al Feldstein

LaVale

Pub Date: 1/09/99

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