Mayor Schmoke gave Baltimoreans a voice in...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Mayor Schmoke gave Baltimoreans a voice in the state's affairs

As chairpersons of Baltimore's state Senate and House delegations, respectively, we take exception to The Sun's editorial "Transition starts today for new administration." Its criticism of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's relationship with the Maryland General Assembly does not reflect Mr. Schmoke's lobbying efforts.

For 12 years, Mr. Schmoke has been the voice of Baltimore's citizens -- and his voice has been heard in the halls of Annapolis. Taking the time and effort to travel the state to foster support for Baltimore, the mayor developed a strong working rapport with legislators from both parties in all areas of the state.

During the 1999 legislative session, Baltimore was awarded $746 million in state aid. That's a sizable amount of funding for a legislative agenda The Sun called "puny" and "unfocused."

In 1997, Mr. Schmoke worked in depth with legislators to enact a state-city school partnership that resulted in $264 million in additional state funding for city schools along with measures to strengthen school accountability.

During the past legislative session, Mr. Schmoke worked to protect Baltimoreans against negative effects from utility deregulation and lobbied to win tax incentives for development that will create jobs and hotel rooms and increase tourism.

Mr. Schmoke and his administration were also strong supporters of brownfields legislation, which provides assistance to businesses while protecting the environment, and of a civilian review board for Baltimore City police.

We didn't agree with the mayor on certain issues, but we were not reluctant to bring these differences to his attention.

The Sun's portrait of Mayor Schmoke as inactive in lobbying the General Assembly was unfair and inaccurate.

Salima Siler Marriott, Baltimore

Nathaniel J. McFadden, Baltimore

Ms. Marriott represents the 40th District in the House of Delegates. Mr. McFadden represents the 45th District in the Maryland Senate.

Unchecked corruption poisons our public life

While reading Dan Rodricks' column "Acquittal gives Young status of martyr" (Sept. 27), I was reminded of Demosthenes' oration seeking the death penalty for a corrupt public servant in Athens.

He argued that a crime against an individual impacts only the victim and her family, but when a public servant commits a crime, the whole society is affected.

One cannot help but marvel at the genius of the Maryland legislature. It gave jurisdiction over crimes committed by public servants to a special prosecutor, making certain the prosecutor was understaffed (and obviously overworked).

This approach has proved most fortuitous. The state prosecutor's record remains intact, unsullied by a courtroom victory, in a state where corruption has reigned so long it is genetic.

Is it surprising that the public no longer knows, or cares about, the difference between right and wrong?

Edward L. Blanton Jr., Glen Arm

He wasn't convicted, but Young scandal still stinks

Hooray for The Sun's editorial reaction to the Larry Young verdict ("Verdict doesn't erase Young's ethical breach," Sept. 28).

What happened to the consulting business the senator was running out of his district office, with aides working for Mr. Young at the taxpayers' expense?

What happened to charges that Mr. Young was paid by the state university system to lobby for them at the same time he was a senator?

What happened to the federal probe of all of this?

Call me cynical, but I must conclude that either prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli's office is incompetent, or it deliberately chose to approach this case lackadaisically.

I hope The Sun will, by continued aggressive reporting and editorial comment, direct the rotting fish stench of the Larry Young scandal where it belongs.

Bob Testani, Elkridge

The acquittal of Larry Young certainly gives the green light to other would-be con artists.

I am embarrassed to live in Baltimore.

Nancy Christie Baltimore

Whether or not The Sun is "fish paper," as it was described by Larry Young, is certainly debatable.

But something definitely smells when Mr. Young is acquitted of all charges in a jurisdiction outside his former base of political power.

McNair Taylor, Baltimore

Appeals Court is unlikely to uphold public ethics

At last I agree with one of The Sun's editorials ("Bereano should pay the price for abuses," Oct. 4).

Don't hold your breath, however, waiting for the Court of Appeals to disbar Bruce Bereano.

In previous cases involving politics and politicians, this court has demonstrated that it is as corrupt as the other two branches of our government.

Jacob B. Davis, Gambrills

Courts right to reject The Sun's biases

Is it sour grapes I detect in both The Sun's recent editorial about the Larry Young verdict ("Verdict doesn't erase Young's ethical breach," Sept. 28) and its ugly shot at Bruce Bereano -- and anyone who supports Mr. Bereano's efforts to retain his law license ("Bereano should pay price for abuses," Oct. 4)?

Of course it is.

As self-appointed watchdog of certain public figures, The Sun has been embarrassed that in both cases an independent fact-finder -- with access to all relevant information and due regard for the rights of any person accused of misconduct -- chose to disagree with the conclusions The Sun sought to impose through its one-sided reporting.

I hope the Court of Appeals will understand that The Sun's concerns about the "ethical miasma" of the Larry Young case have more to do with the rejection the paper's ill-conceived conclusions than any real concern for the public good.

Gerard P. Martin, Baltimore

The writer is one of Larry Young's attorneys and a friend of Bruce Bereano.

Fear of concealed weapons could deter criminals

I fail to see the logic in Tom Heiland's letter, "Would concealed weapons really make us safer" (Sept. 30). He wonders "how many people in America feel so unsafe that they would take comfort in knowing that those around them . . . may harbor a concealed handgun."

There is no way of knowing, in any given place, how many people are carrying concealed firearms.

But allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed, licensed firearms would make criminals wonder how safe it would be to perpetrate a crime -- because they wouldn't know how many legally concealed handguns might be used to stop them.

Don Laughery, Brooklyn Park

History contains atrocities that rival the Holocaust

Certainly the purges instigated by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, China's Mao Tse-tung and Cambodia's Pol Pot were quite bad enough, but Michael Pakenham's claim that "history offers no parallel to the evil of Hitler's 'Final Solution' " applies at most only to our own bloodthirsty century (" 'Hitler's Pope' debate: Highest moral drama," Sept. 26) .

Among the more obvious parallel atrocities in the more distant past are the Inquisition in Europe, the decimation and displacement of native populations in the Americas and, of course, slavery.

Franklin T. Evans, Baltimore

Pub Date: 10/06/99

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