Public safety, youths brutalized again by juvenile...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Public safety, youths brutalized again by juvenile injustice

The Sun's article "Young lives return to a vortex of crime" (July 16) ought to make every Marylander ashamed and outraged.

After being continuously brutalized by staff of Maryland's Department of Juvenile Justice, 14 pathetic youths have been savaged once again. The public has also been brutalized by the coarse negligence of the governor and lieutenant governor, as well as the director of that agency.

After The Sun reported that most of these delinquents were back on the street, dealing and using drugs and getting into serious trouble, how dare Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend refuse to comment on the plight of these youths?

She and other state officials owe taxpayers an explanation for why these children, still on probation and under supervision of Juvenile Justice, were never contacted by officials.

While several boot camp staff members were removed, mistreatment and neglect of these youths on the street continued.

How dare Gov. Parris Glendening's spokesperson say: "We never saw this as being about 14 kids. This is about an entire system being changed."

Exactly how? Is such a statement plainly stupid or perhaps simply treacherous? How does Ms. Townsend now refuse Sun reporters access to that agency? Perhaps she and the governor should resign.

H.L. Goldstein, Baltimore

I have concerns after reading of the recent actions of the 14 youths of Charlie Squad after state boot camp.

My concern begins with the pizza man terrorized with a knife to his throat, and extends to the second pizza man robbed, the auto theft, assault, armed robbery and attempted murder -- for which the perpetrators have paid little consequence.

My concern also is for the lack of accountability on the part of the elected officials, Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who decided to release these delinquents from boot camp. Under their watch, the boys returned to crime, suffered minimal consequences and victimized others.

How can we hold juveniles accountable for their behavior when the two adults who released them into society refuse to face the press and the people of Maryland to be held accountable for the decision?

How dare these officials refuse to discuss the situation. I want to hear, and the victims deserve to hear, that officials made a bad decision, follow-up was nonexistent and that the problems with these boys are being corrected immediately -- while the overhaul of the system itself is under way.

Patricia K. Wajbel, Phoenix

I commend reporter Todd Richissin for his July 16 article on the horribly dysfunctional Maryland juvenile justice system. There is no greater problem in our state than the reduction of crime. There is also no better example of the ineptitude of the Glendening administration than its inability to do so.

According to the story, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend "bills herself as the governor's point-person on criminal issues, [but] now says she won't discuss Charlie Squad or the department."

The administration's solution is to ram through a 16-percent budget increase for the department this year. In the real world, one doesn't throw more money at a problem until a strategic solution is well thought out and implemented.

It is time for Maryland to have leadership that is willing to tackle these types of problems head on and not duck reporters' questions when concrete answers cannot be formulated.

Replace the Glendening-Townsend duo, and get effective leadership to help all Marylanders live in safety and peace.

Thomas M. Neale, Baltimore

Marriage tax penalty real, affects all income groups

The Sun's stand on the marriage penalty tax is misguided at best ("Political tax cuts endanger surpluses," editorial July 24). The editorial assumes that this tax is not a penalty, affects mainly the rich and that any such tax break would be fiscally irresponsible.

The tax affects everyone who gets married. An unmarried couple who live together and earn a combined income of $35,000 to $40,000 will pay less on their taxes because each partner has a separate individual filing status. If they get married, they will pay $1,000 to $1,500 more in taxes. The IRS justifies doing this because marriage is considered to be the pooling of financial resources, which creates a larger taxable income.

Marriage is the excuse for the IRS to legally combine the income of a couple so it can be taxed. To get married is to pay more for the privilege of doing things that most couples did before they got married. Sounds like a penalty to me.

Fiscal responsibility is more than the mere act of cutting taxes. The government will have a surplus as long as it can increase taxes. The government needs to streamline itself, hold its programs and bureaucracies responsible for their spending habits and make cuts when necessary.

By abolishing this marriage penalty tax, the government would be giving back to the people. Otherwise, people are being penalized for improving their lives through marriage.

Stephen H. Gearhart, Baltimore,

Redwood developers care about architectural integrity

In his article "Forsaking old Baltimore" (July 13), James D. Dilts does not give Baltimore's new developers credit. Downtown Baltimore is changing. Thousands of club-goers patronize downtown nightclubs each and every weekend.

We are not just the operators of the new Redwood Trust nightclub in the former Mercantile Bank building, but also the owners the real estate. After careful consideration of the original architectural elements, we chose to elongate two windows on the Calvert Street side of the building to street level. The new fire exits must comply with Baltimore City code. The exterior block will be cut and removed so that it can be reinstalled at a later date.

If, Mr. Dilts had ventured inside the building, he would have seen the damage done to the interior of this great monument. The beautiful Beaux Art ceiling is being restored, at considerable expense, after it was chopped through and obscured by a lathe and plaster ceiling in the late 1960s. Other additions are being removed to bring the building back to its original grandeur.

The Wyatt and Sperry building at Redwood and Calvert streets, vacant for seven years and deemed unfeasible for office or residential use, will again shine both inside and out after extensive restoration.

Mr. Dilts should have taken the time to research this project before condemning the efforts of those who hold Baltimore's architecture dear to their hearts.

Nicholas Piscatelli, Baltimore

The writer is a developer and owner and operator of Redwood Trust.

Jones won Grand Slam as amateur in single year

The Sun's articles on Tiger Woods completing the Grand Slam in golf and the accompanying list of other players who accomplished the feat omitted Bobby Jones -- the man Jack Nicklaus ranks as the greatest of all time.

In 1930, at age 28, Jones won the four tournaments considered the "majors" at the time -- U.S. Open, British Open, U.S. Amateur and British Amateur. He is the only player to win four major events in the same year.

Bobby Jones retired at 28 with 13 major titles. With no formal golf training, he won his club championship at age 12, placed in the top 10 in the U.S. Amateur at 14, and won the U.S. Open at 21.

His success was even more outstanding because he devoted only three months a year to the game: He was considered a weekend "hacker" and a pure amateur.

Unlike with Tiger Woods, golf did not consume his life. A lawyer, with degrees in English literature and mechanical engineering, he demonstrated there was much more to Bobby Jones than golf.

Clark E. Woods, Odenton

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