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O'Malley's tirade didn't raise issues of race...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

O'Malley's tirade didn't raise issues of race or gender

The Mayor Martin O'Malley-State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy imbroglio has gotten out of hand ("O'Malley and Jessamy agree to bury hatchet," Feb. 9).

This is not because common ground can't be found on the main issue (Ms. Jessamy's decision not to prosecute Officer Brian L. Sewell); it can. Or because the mayor got away with publicly using offensive language; he didn't. The problem is that the mayor is being scorned for offending African-American women.

I've read Mr. O'Malley's tirade over and over ("Mayor fumes over Sewell," Jan. 26) and nowhere did he make derisive remarks against women, particularly African-American women.

He went too far in using language unbecoming to a political figure of his status, but that is hardly reason to take to the streets and protest.

I agree empathy is important in understanding why people different from us do what they do.

But it is preposterous to assume that every time a mayor, governor or president reprimands someone, he or she must first consider that person's heritage.

Andrew Reiner

Baltimore

I am outraged at the people who have made the O'Malley-Jessamy controversy an issue of race and gender. The outrage against Mayor Martin O'Malley's use of profanity is justified, but he has never made it a race or gender issue, nor is it one.

If the abilities of the city prosecutor, or any other office-holder, are criticized, that person should defend himself or herself on the merits of the job he or she has done.

Peter W. Busch

Baltimore

The women of color who complain about Mayor Martin O'Malley's outburst forget he is trying to get justice for their sons and husbands -- and perhaps save their lives.

We need more, not less, of his electric language. Evidently it is the only way Baltimore's entrenched bureaucrats can be shocked out of their comfy nests.

The real scandal is the official torpor and dithering that have made the city's courts a national object of derision. In Mr. O'Malley, at last, we have a leader who passionately wants to do something about it.

Michael Kernan

Baltimore

Learn from mistakes made in Sewell case, and move on

The Officer Brian Sewell case is a Pandora's box of errors. Every time the lid opens, the complications multiply.

There is nothing that can be done at this point, other than fire Mr. Sewell, learn from the mistakes and move to the future smarter and better prepared.

Denise Whiting

Baltimore

Colorectal cancer screening could save countless lives

We congratulate The Sun on its excellent coverage of the colorectal cancer screening program to be funded by a portion of the tobacco settlement ("Md. programs to educate about cancer," Feb. 5). The money will be well spent defraying the cost of colonoscopy examination for poor and uninsured Marylanders over 50.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer mortality in Maryland, causing more than 1,000 deaths a year. But fewer than one-third of all Marylanders are screened for this deadly, but preventable, cancer.

Two bills before the General Assembly would mandate insurance coverage for colonoscopy screening of all persons over age 50. We urge citizens to write their legislators asking them tosupport Sen. Leonard H. Teitelbaum's bill, SB100, and Del. Dan K. Morhaim's bill, HB190.

A generation of aggressive screening has gone a long way toward eliminating cervical cancer as a killer of women in this country. Similar efforts can do the same for colorectal cancer.

John A. Covington

Towson

The writer is president of the Maryland Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Veterans and families need answers about their illnesses

The recent letter "Depleted uranium isn't cause of veterans' woes" (Feb. 10) insisted depleted uranium (DU) is not the cause of widespread serious illnesses among Gulf war veterans, their families and Kosovo veterans.

But all authorities don't agree that DU is innocent. The sick veterans and the public need to know the cause of these illnesses and what will be done about them.

Answers are urgently needed. We don't need more cover-ups and whitewashes.

D. F. Thompson

Elkton

Where were the homeless during the Clinton years?

In his column "What are the priorities in a land of wealth?" ("Opinion

Commentary, Feb. 7), Richard Pretorius asks what President Bush is going to do about the homeless. Where was he during the Clinton years?

Give me a break: Mr. Bush has been in office less than one month.

How come there was no uproar over the homeless during the eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration?

Allan Kaufman

Owings Mills

Cell phones are just one of many driving distractions

When lawmakers talk about making it illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving, they are missing the point ("Cell phone users face static," Jan. 31).

The problem is not the cell phones, but the distracted drivers.

Distracted drivers have been around much longer than cell phones and their activities include lighting cigarettes, putting on makeup, trying to give a baby a bottle or break up a fight between children in the back seat, driving with headphones on, rubbernecking, looking for something, eating and drinking, taking notes, using laptop computers and reading.

Lawmakers should look at the larger picture and direct any legislation toward the bad habits of the distracted driver, instead of only one of the many objects of their distraction.

D. Wagster

Baltimore

By touting smoking's pluses, legislators set a bad example

In The Sun's article "Insiders, but outside" (Feb. 10) legislators tout the jovial, bipartisan opportunities precipitated by their smoking addictions.

Of course, it doesn't take much to realize these legislators are setting bad examples for their constituents -- not just in their warped concept that smoking is beneficial, but with Del. Clarence Davis not facing any consequences for breaking the law by smoking in his office.

Mr. Davis mentions he is trying to quit smoking. By doing so, he would be setting a positive example as a leader who promotes health and obeys the law.

Esther Rae Barr

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Academy of Family Physicians.

We know the dangers of smoking and are trying to keep our young people from starting. For The Sun to quote Del. Carmen Amedori saying, "Some of the best deals are made over bipartisan cigarettes" is unconscionable.

The entire article was nothing but a blatant attempt to encourage and sanctify the rights of smokers.

Their rights end when their smoke enters our lungs and imperils our health.

Patricia Cummings

Edward Cummings

Baltimore

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