Family members can help leaders serve the public
In a recent editorial The Sun argued that the "distinction between surrounding yourself with trusted aides and nepotism is a clear one" ("Mayoral follies," Sept. 7). Unfortunately, it is not as clear as The Sun may think.
In many instances, politicians have successfully engaged relatives for high-profile positions in the public sector. President Kennedy, for instance, selected his brother, Robert Kennedy, as the nation's attorney general.
As attorney general, Robert Kennedy enforced federal court orders regarding desegregation and congressional mandates designed to improve equality and civil rights. Would The Sun have criticized his appointment, too?
Furthermore, for many persons, relationships with non-relatives are stronger than those with their own family.
It is unfair for The Sun to brand Mayor Martin O'Malley's choices "old-fashioned" political appointments at the outset.
Until there are reports or evidence to suggest problems, The Sun is wasting valuable time and space addressing issues that do not exist.
John Dailey, Columbia
I don't condone the nepotism and cronyism derided in The Sun's editorial "Mayoral follies" (Sept. 7). But I can't help but wonder whether The Sun also expressed its righteous indignation when President Kennedy appointed his brother Robert as attorney general.
Steven S. Lakin, Annapolis
Shame on The Sun for suggesting that there is nepotism in City Hall in the case of Mayor Martin O'Malley and his brother, who isn't even paid by the city.
President Kennedy and his brother Robert did great things, and there are many other brothers who have done the same. And where would Texas Gov. George W. Bush be without the help of his father and brother?
Our families are our best friends and people we can count on.
M.C. Provance, Baltimore
Mayor and City Council should give back their raises
I am a city employee who has just received my morale-boosting letter from the mayor informing me that I should not expect a decent raise in the next three years and also that I will see my benefits decrease during the same period ("Unions, O'Malley at odds over pay," Sept. 6).
I find this appalling and hypocritical of the mayor, considering that he and the City Council each got a robust raise earlier this year.
I suggest that a bold move for the mayor would be to give back all of his raise, and the City Council's raise above 3 percent, so that they can be in line with the rest of us unfortunate city workers who aren't in the Police Department.
Michael Campbell, Baltimore
The writer is a member of the Baltimore City Fire Department.
It would be wrong to sell the name of the Bay Bridge
Along with everyone else who has ever sat in a backup en route to the Eastern Shore, I would love to find a better way to reach the beach ("A better way to reach the beach," letters, Sept. 9).
However, selling the name of the Bay Bridge doesn't set right with me, mainly because the bridge's real name is the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge.
It was named after the man who was the governor of Maryland at the time of the bridge's construction.
Some things are not for sale at any price -- and surely not so we can hit the beach a little faster.
Albert Franklin Hunt Jr., Halethorpe
U.S. should stay out of future Kosovos
Now that the province of Kosovo has been effectively cleansed of Serbs, gypsies, Jews and other non-Albanian minorities, it is only cold logic the next step must be self-determination and independence ("Kosovo's people must decide fate," Opinion
Commentary, Sept. 7).
The hope for a multiethnic society is not realistic, nor will the centuries of hatred be eradicated any time soon.
After 78 days of NATO bombing, a new nation is about to emerge and the so-called "international community" should beware the monster it has created in the name of humanitarian intervention.
And, since many peoples around the world suffer human rights abuses, religious intolerance and cultural degradation, American military involvement will be coveted in many places in anticipation of Kosovo-like outcomes.
I would welcome a new era of isolationism where we resist deploying our troops to areas that pose no threat to us.
It is unconstitutional to place this country's combat personnel in harm's way, just to provide peace of mind for global armchair diplomats.
Rosalind Ellis, Baltimore
Anti-abortion terrorism gives Christians a bad name
It is true that most religious people try to some extent to impose their own view of morality on everybody else, because they think they, and they alone, know what God wants ("The left is also eager to impose its own morality," letters, Sept. 6).
It is also true that right-wing, born-again Christians are currently conducting a war of terrorism against doctors and clinics that perform abortions.
Even though abortion is a constitutional right and we have a two-term Democratic president, abortion is unavailable in huge swaths of the country because of this movement's bombings, shootings and intimidation tactics. Maybe this is part of the reason Christians are suffering from a negative, slightly scary public image and why their presence does so much damage to the Republican Party.
Forcing a church to provide health-care benefits that it doesn't agree with is one thing. Shooting doctors in their houses is just a bit more serious.
I'm not saying that every Christian endorses this terrorism, but I don't hear too many of them protesting against it, either.
So while "the left leaps the wall of separation between church and state in a single bound," the right has another approach. They simply blow it up.
David Rupkey, Baltimore
Unlike owning cars, our right to bear arms is guaranteed
I was amused by the recent letter-writer who found it amusing that a comparison of registering autos and handguns ignores the fact that an auto is for transportation while a handgun is for "murdering people" ("Unlike guns, cars have a peaceful purpose," Sept. 5).
The writer overlooked the fact that the right to keep a handgun or other firearms is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
And the last time I read it, I failed to find any reference to cars or other forms of transportation.
Did I miss something?
James A. Kelly, Nottingham
In response to the letter "Unlike guns, cars have a peaceful purpose" (Sept. 5), I must state, first, that the writer's statement that guns are designed to murder people is incorrect.
Firearms are designed to launch a projectile. What the firearm is pointed at is entirely up to the person holding it.
Second, in suggesting that there are no peaceful purposes for firearms, the writer did a great disservice to the thousands of Americans who hunt, target shoot or merely collect firearms as a hobby.
Robert Doetsch, Baltimore