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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Poor salaries for prosecutors impede justice

The Sun's article on prosecutors' salaries was instructive but also prompted deep concern ("City's prosecutors exit as their job takes a toll," July 6).

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As a law student at the University of Maryland, I am concerned that many talented, public-minded law school graduates will be deterred from practicing in this crucial legal field. Most students accrue more than $30,000 a year in debt to attend law school; when this debt is added to undergraduate loans, a student could easily graduate from law school more than $150,000 in debt.

Starting such educated professionals at a salary of only $37,700 a year not only prevents many graduates from taking such a job, it's insulting.

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And how can we reduce crime in the city if we do not value those responsible for carrying out justice? Perhaps the adage "You get what you pay for" has never rung more true.

As long as we pay our city's prosecutors far less than they are worth, we should expect nothing more than a second-class criminal justice system. Increasing the salaries of the city's prosecutors would attract more qualified attorneys, motivate existing prosecutors and ensure a more capable delivery of justice.

The citizens of Baltimore are not interested in territorial disputes between the city and the state over funding.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. should act immediately to raise the pay and standards of Baltimore's criminal justice system.

Otherwise, the Baltimore state's attorney's office will continue to be the employer of last resort for lawyers and a resort for criminals to escape justice.

Eric Swalwell

Baltimore

Governor's reaction to suit disappointing

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The governor showed his true colors in responding to the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit on behalf of gays challenging the state for the right to marry ("Lawsuit challenges state law barring same-sex marriage," July 9).

This governor campaigned as a moderate Republican. But over and over, we see that he is truly a conservative who is out of step with Maryland. His most recent comments about gay marriage paired with his stand on multiculturalism show him to be inconsiderate and intolerant.

He's a true disappointment as the leader of our state.

Aimee Darrow

Baltimore

Schaefer puts blame in the wrong place

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Unbelievable. After The Sun documents widespread abuse at the Chimes ("Disclosure at Chimes puts donors in the dark," Oct. 22, "Chimes asks IRS to review records," Oct. 31, and "CEO's pay at Chimes more than reported," July 4), state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer says of the charity, "I just don't understand why the Sunpaper picks you out to discredit you" ("Chimes' airport contract approved," July 8).

Instead, Mr. Schaefer and his buddies on the Maryland Board of Public Works (Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and state Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp) approve a $111 million airport cleaning contract with the Chimes that will enable its chief executive, Terry Allen Perl, and his cronies to continue to enrich themselves at public expense.

Instead of criticizing The Sun, Mr. Schaefer should direct his fire at himself and at Mr. Ehrlich for failing to provide effective regulation of charities in Maryland.

Paul Streckfus

Pasadena

Chimes revelations will deter donors

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After reading The Sun's article about the CEO's pay and the insider deals at the Chimes ("CEO's pay at Chimes more than reported," July 4), I bet that not only me but other people who donate money to this worthy cause will stop donating not only to Chimes but to other nonprofit causes - and that is a shame.

Jack Dibbern

Baltimore

Libraries defend our civil rights

As a former Montgomery County and current Howard County resident, I would like to praise the two library systems for rejecting Web filters and the federal money that accompanies them ("Web filters secure money for libraries," July 7).

As Congress and the executive branch continue to erode our constitutional rights, libraries have stood at the forefront of debates ranging from Internet filters to post-9/11 hysteria over the right to read in privacy.

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Responsible librarians and library trustees are some of the last bastions of hope for continued freedom and honest discourse in America.

James Howard

Columbia

Edwards emphasizes the public interest

Jay Hancock suggests that Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards displays hypocrisy by owning a lot of stock in companies and industries he criticizes and urges crackdowns on ("Edwards' words are at odds with his portfolio," July 7).

I usually admire Mr. Hancock's insight and candor, but must differ this time. It seems to me that Mr. Edwards displays remarkably genuine principle by criticizing and urging crackdowns on companies and industries in which he owns considerable stock.

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Cliff Terry

Baltimore

If I understand Jay Hancock correctly, a politician such as Sen. John Edwards - who supports policies that he thinks are right even though such policies would hurt his own investment portfolio - is a bad guy, a hypocrite.

I guess Mr. Hancock is more comfortable with the Bush-Cheney philosophy of letting their own potential gain and the potential gain of their friends determine policy, regardless of what it means for the rest of us.

H. Bruce Finkelstein

Stevenson

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Fallen officers earn public recognition

As the former commanding officer of Baltimore's Southwestern Police District, I had the great pleasure of having Officer Brian D. Winder serve in my command ("Hundreds pay respects to a fallen city officer," July 8). Officer Winder was a dedicated and caring individual but, more important, a wonderful human being.

Officer Winder joins former Officer Kevon Gavin, another officer in my former command, as a victim of the violence perpetrated by the many violent repeat offenders who roam the streets of Baltimore creating havoc on the lives of decent, law-abiding citizens.

Both of these young men were outstanding members of a proud and professional Police Department who sacrificed their lives in the service of the community they had sworn to protect. Both deserve the recognition not only of their peers, but of the community they served and of those in leadership at the local and national level.

John L. Bergbower

Baltimore


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