Treason charge fails to respect right to criticize

Mayor Martin O'Malley's comments about being more worried about the "actions and inactions of the Bush administration" than about al-Qaida recently drew strong criticism from state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, who suggested that Mr. O'Malley's words rose to the level of treason ("Schaefer describes mayor's remarks on Bush as 'treason,'" July 8).


It is not Mr. O'Malley's opinion but Mr. Schaefer's reaction that strikes me as inimical to the values and liberties at the core of American democracy.

Rather than being unpatriotic, criticism of the government is the responsibility of citizens who are concerned that our government is headed in the wrong direction. Such criticism is the sign of an engaged democracy. Blind support of a president isn't patriotism, it's madness.


Rather than respond to Mr. O'Malley's comments by questioning those concerns or engaging him in a public discussion, Mr. Schaefer seeks to silence Mr. O'Malley via a personal attack - by calling him an unpatriotic criminal.

This insults Mr. O'Malley, demeans Mr. Schaefer and belittles the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Mr. Schaefer should be ashamed, and apologize.

Brent Garland


For state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer to describe Mayor Martin O'Malley's comments as treason is very frightening. Since when is criticism of the president a treasonous offense? I thought that, under our Constitution, expressing an opinion was not only our right but our responsibility, even when we disagree with the actions of our government.

Isn't this one of the freedoms that we are trying to give to the Iraqi people? Many loyal and patriotic citizens are worried about the "actions and inactions of the Bush administration."

No longer can Mr. Schaefer's irresponsible statements be dismissed as the words of a playful curmudgeon. As state comptroller and a member of the state Board of Public Works, he needs to speak and behave in a dignified way.


Doris Malin


Schaefer's diatribes have grown tedious

There is no need to give former Gov. William Donald Schaefer such generous space in the paper ("Schaefer describes mayor's remarks on Bush as 'treason,'" July 8).

It is obvious that his ill-tempered diatribes against Mayor Martin O'Malley are those of a man who is short on reason, restraint and, at this point in time, intelligence.

He is out of control, and as one of his former admirers, it saddens me to hear him accuse Mr. O'Malley of treason and criminal behavior simply because he criticized President Bush.


I suspect it is too late for Mr. Schaefer to curb his tongue. But it is not too late for The Sun to exercise sound judgment by not putting in bold headlines his ridiculous accusations.

Janet Heller


Is it just me or are others really tired of state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer using his position on the Board of Public Works to expound on his gripe du jour? What a waste of time.

It is becoming a bore, and Mr. Schaefer is quickly losing his credibility as a state leader.

Peg Massey



Comptroller owes mayor an apology

It is state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer who may be guilty of treason, not Mayor Martin O'Malley ("Schaefer describes mayor's remarks on Bush as 'treason,'" July 8).

In a country based on freedom and, more specifically, freedom of speech, how dare Mr. Schaefer or anyone else criticize another American for speaking his mind?

It does not matter whether you agree with Mr. O'Malley's words. This country was founded on the ideal that a truly strong government is based on the dialogue between people who are free to speak their minds - without fear of being accused of treason.

I think someone owes Mr. O'Malley an apology.


Wendy Scollins


Chilled by the notion of President Cheney

When President Bush was asked how John Edwards would stack up against Dick Cheney as a vice president, his reply was, "Dick Cheney can be president" ("For Bush, quick foray to Carolina," July 8).

This chilling scenario should be enough to make every American pray for the continued health and safety of Mr. Bush during his last few months in office.

D. Ebbert


Bel Air

Contraction plan won't help city zoo

My husband and I have been members of and donors to Baltimore's zoo for more than 20 years. We are also zoo aficionados who make it a point to visit zoos all over the country. We are very concerned about the current plan for the zoo, and we wonder whether we should continue our membership and whether the zoo will continue to be worth our visits ("Plans for 'new' zoo based on hope that less becomes more," July 9).

The current plan appears to be putting the zoo on a course that will lead to its demise within the next five years. We wonder why this is the case. We've seen the wonderful Cincinnati Zoo, which is older than Baltimore's, is located in an old industrial city, is in an urban park like Druid Hill Park and is hilly - and we wonder: What is the difference?

The Cincinnati Zoo is filled with educational exhibits, has animals unique to American zoos, is filled with visitors and is adding exhibits. Did the Baltimore zoo's directors not visit there to learn how they do it?

Or have they just given up?


Vivian Schimberg John Wagener Pikesville

Reasons to follow safe-sun practices

Many thanks for The Sun's excellent editorial about skin cancer ("Mad dogs and men," July 6). I hope it will serve as a wake-up call not only for men but for all citizens as we emphasize the dangers of the sun and its damaging rays.

And I would like to emphasize two additional points.

First, the importance of protecting our children by following safe-sun practices - particularly using sunscreen of at least SPF 15 (preferably higher) and limiting direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Just one bad blistering sunburn as a child can double the chance of developing skin cancer later in life.

Second, while we think of the dangers of the sun and its link to skin cancer, research has also shown that sun exposure creates a high incidence of cataracts and macular degeneration.


All the more reason we should follow safe-sun rules.

Robert E. Nicolay


The writer is chairman of the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation.