Republican perceives bias in editorials
Republicans and their supporters can't catch a break from The Sun's editorial board.
If a Republican appointee has more political experience than almost any other nominee in the state and complete knowledge of the concerns of Baltimore citizens - such as former state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV, originally appointed by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to head the Office of Urban Development - The Sun declares he has "no professional background" in a crass editorial ("Fire Mitchell," editorial, Feb. 16).
If a Republican candidate has enormous professional experience and runs a credible campaign even though he is new to politics - as in my own candidacy - The Sun's editors mock the candidate's lack of political experience.
Republicans have shown that they will do what is right for Baltimore. Someday I hope The Sun's editors will forget the political party and also do what is right.
The writer was a Republican candidate for Congress in Maryland's 3rd Congressional District.
Culture of Annapolis has not changed
I voted for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. because he promised to stop the corruption and greed in Annapolis.
His acceptance of more than $100,000 from gambling interests while he was pushing for slots at the racetracks was very disturbing. However, when he created a special job paying $92,000 a year for Clarence M. Mitchell IV (a person guilty of notable ethics lapses) I realized it was business as usual in Maryland ("Ehrlich hires Mitchell IV for $92,000-a-year post," Feb. 12).
Something smells in Annapolis, and it's not a load of week-old rockfish.
Kurt S. Willem
Sanity seems scarce on North Avenue
Despite the mounting cynicism that I, as a Baltimore school teacher, have felt over the past two months over the multimillion-dollar deficit created by the New Board of School Commissioners, even I was shocked by Liz Bowie's recent article describing the amount of tax dollars being paid to employees at North Ave ("City's debt-ridden schools pay 36 staff $100,000 or more," Feb. 13).
While the school board grapples with a deficit of its own making by laying off more than 200 adults who were actually working with our children, they knowingly maintain the employment of a man earning more than $100,000 for doing little more than drive a car.
And their chosen CEO, Carmen V. Russo, has five assistants earning a total of $373,000. Is the board telling us that these highly paid individuals are more vital to the education of Baltimore children than librarians, classroom assistants and people running after-school programs?
The evidence is clear. All sanity has been drained from that large marble structure on North Avenue.
Can the city get anything to work?
The Sun has reported that 87 out of 188 city snowplows are out of order and in the shop ("Cleanup slowed by snowplow failures," Feb. 19). This is typical of the city.
The snowplows are broken, the 311 system is broken and the public schools' administration is broken.
Is there anything in the city that works?
John C. Baker
Plowing policy puts pedestrians at risk
One of the major shortcomings of snow removal in Maryland is the lack of regard for pedestrian safety.
When the snowplows come through to clear the roads, the snow is not removed; it is moved onto the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. The resulting snowbanks also pose a major problem for passengers attempting to board or exit buses.
This is an extremely hazardous situation and one that has grown worse every year.
Many accidents could be avoided if the rights of pedestrians were respected. And I have been to other cities, where the snow is actually removed entirely from both the roads and sidewalks.
Too early to dismiss class rank approach
The Sun's editorial criticizing race-neutral programs for promoting diversity in college admissions missed some important facts ("Affirmative inaction," Feb. 2).
These plans are only one of many race-neutral approaches to expand access to competitive campuses.
For instance, in California and Florida, the class rank plans guarantee admission only to one of the state system's campuses.
The Texas plan guarantees admission even to the competitive Austin campus. In Florida, students must have completed 19 credits of college preparatory work to be considered. And in Texas, students who need remedial work in some subjects must agree to take it.
One result of the Texas plan is a dramatic increase in the number of high school students attending the Austin campus. And once enrolled, the Texas "10 percenters," as they are called, are performing as well as the other students.
None of the states involved in the class rank plans believes they are a panacea. Each state has substantially increased teacher training, access to advanced placement courses, and financial aid as well.
It is too early to know all the long-range effects of these actions, but also far too soon for The Sun to dismiss them.
Parking woes keep diners out of Towson
I have lived in Towson for 14 years and believe there are many attractive stores and restaurants in the area. But even though Towson has a number of establishments that my wife and I enjoy, we avoid them ("Towson trying to find new identity," Feb. 18). Parking is the only reason.
After long days at work, my wife and I just do not want the annoyance of finding a place to park. So we visit one of the restaurants in the York Road corridor that has its own lot.
Add convenient and ample parking and I am sure the business traffic will increase in downtown Towson.
Dennis L. Noah
Traffic confusion frightens the aged
The reason the Towson Commons and surrounding merchants have been losing customers is that they do not understand the neighborhood ("Towson merchants struggle as 'unthinkable' woes unfold," Feb. 13).
The surrounding area is largely populated by elderly homeowners. They do not like to deal with parking garages and traffic circles. Neither are perceived as safe, and both are confusing.
Subjecting one's customers to confusion and safety concerns is a good way to drive business elsewhere.
Notice that there are many people in the nearby Towson mall, who will circle the lot until a parking space opens. They do not like the garages, and will avoid them at all cost.