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Ehrlich impeded Healthy Air Act

I nearly fell off my chair when I read the claim by a spokesman for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. that "Governor Ehrlich fought for and signed into law" the Healthy Air Act ("Ehrlich assailed over his record on air pollution," May 31).

Despite Mr. Ehrlich's stump speeches and fundraising appeals, the truth is that the Ehrlich administration fought against the Healthy Air Act down to the bitter end.

In 2005, the administration worked hand in hand with Constellation Energy lobbyists to kill the air pollution bill ("MDE, industry blocked a bill," Dec. 18).

This year, Mr. Ehrlich described the Healthy Air Act as a "threat," and his appointees to the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Public Service Commission who once worked in the energy industry worked long hours to weaken or defeat the legislation.

Fortunately, strong grassroots support from Marylanders of all political stripes helped secure the bill's veto-proof majority. But when the Healthy Air Act was sent to governor's office, he literally locked the door to refuse to receive it, raising the possibility of a veto.

A week later the governor quietly signed the bill, without notifying the bill's sponsors or advocates.

So let's remember who really fought for clean air and who deserves to be thanked: Sen. Paul G. Pinsky and Del. James W. Hubbard, the lead sponsors of this bill. And the members of both parties who voted for the legislation - in particular, the handful of Republican legislators who understood clean air is not a partisan issue. And the public health, religious and business groups that worked with environmental groups on this issue.

Marylanders also owe a huge thanks to Sun reporter Tom Pelton for his investigative work exposing environmental problems in our state.

Terry Harris


The writer is acting executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Early voting isn't cause for concern

While Marylanders are dying in distant lands to give strangers the right to vote, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his minions are doing everything they can to stop the early voting program that is set to begin here this fall ("Md. early voting suffers setbacks," June 1).

The governor's petition drive to stop the program may have met its first deadline, but the whole operation just doesn't pass the smell test.

If the governor really cares about honest elections and expanding voting opportunities for Marylanders, there are other things he could be doing.

How much money has he put in the budget to increase the number of voting machines in each polling place?

How many new polling places have been funded, and how much money has been allocated so that more election workers can be hired?

More than two dozen states offer early voting, and none has reported voter fraud.

Is the governor afraid Marylanders are more dishonest than the rest of the country?

Stephen G. Gunnulfsen


It's God, not Paul, who judges gays

Regarding Norman Allen's comments about the Apostle Paul's "judgment" of homosexuals, I would note that Paul is not writing harshly about homosexuals because of their homosexuality ("Walking on water? How liberal Christians interpret the Bible," Opinion * Commentary, June 4).

Homosexuality is a forgivable sin. It is the failure to be repentant and to grasp and hold fast to the salvation won by the atoning sacrifice of Christ that may condemn homosexuals.

Paul is just acknowledging this fact.

He is not allowed to condemn anyone; this kind of judgment belongs only to God.

John A. Mann


Volunteer to teach immigrants English

I do hope that many citizens who are complaining about immigrants not learning English quickly enough will volunteer to teach those immigrants our native language.

I'm convinced this would greatly enhance the lives of the immigrants, who would be grateful for the assistance.

And the volunteers would be rewarded by the experience.

Marie H. Storm


Letsinger's ouster a setback for schools

It is dismaying that the success Eric T. Letsinger oversaw in his short but highly productive tenure as chief operating officer of Baltimore's schools has been drowned out by the allegations of faceless accusers, the jeering of others as a result of the accusations and a public lambasting by city officials.

As The Sun has reported ("Official of city schools is fired," June 1), Mr. Letsinger pushed through a variety of projects for much-needed improvements to school facilities.

These accomplishments should be no surprise, given his role as former deputy housing commissioner in helping Baltimore's Housing Authority go from being labeled by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as among the worst in the country to a "high performer" ("City Housing Authority working on a comeback," June 2).

The reasons for Mr. Letsinger's firing stem, at least in part, from a politically vulnerable school system that had been riddled by incompetence for decades. Sadly, he is now the target of a backlash that is, in part, the result of the previously sorry state of the school system - a system that he was doing a commendable job helping to repair.

As George A. Nilson eloquently noted, people like Mr. Letsinger "are often hard to find in government. When you find them, I think you should treasure them."

It is an understatement to say that it will be a challenge for the school board to find someone who can continue the strides Mr. Letsinger has made.

Zoe Rush


Forgetting the real fight against evil?

I was surprised that Tuesday's Sun carried not one word in commemoration of the 62nd anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the sacrifices of thousands of Americans in the liberation of Europe from Nazi domination.

Prominent, however, was a front-page article about the superstition surrounding the diabolical connotations of the date ("On 6-6-06, no apocalypse," June 6) and a big feature on the remake of the 1970s horror film The Omen ("Eerily familiar," June 6). I wonder what this says about our cultural focus on the nature of the struggle between good and evil?

D. R. Belz


Dooming D-Day to dustbin of history

As a very proud and grateful grandson of someone who served this country in the invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 (D-Day), I was surprised and upset not to see any mention of this historic and significant event's 62nd anniversary on the front page of The Sun.

I hope that this and many other great historical achievements are not simply forgotten as time goes on.

But I guess that The Sun found the story about birds taking refuge in area Home Depot stores more newsworthy ("Birds find a good home in big-box stores," June 6).

William J. Polyniak


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