The Baltimore Sun

County isn't aiding special interests

For more than 30 years, I have fought to arrest or mitigate the influence of money in political campaigns.

But the stark reality of political life in America today is that winning campaigns require a lot of money and candidates must spend an inordinate amount of time fundraising.

Our system is awash in money. But most reform efforts get little traction in Congress or in state legislatures.

The media that decry the influence of money in the political process often will, at the same time, eliminate from serious press attention candidates who fail to win the "money primary" by raising large sums.

Campaign contributions should be viewed as reprehensible when there is a quid pro quo or favored treatment in exchange for the contribution.

My record for the past nine months as county executive and during my previous 30 years in elective office speaks loudly that my executive and legislative actions have been in the broad public interest, not in the service of special interests seeking favored treatment ("Money for nothing?" editorial, Sept. 14).

The county lawsuit against E. Steuart Chaney (who contributed $2,000 to my 2006 campaign) regarding alleged illegal building at a marina in south county and my legislation to ban disposal of coal ash after receiving a large contribution from the company that has been ordered to clean up contaminated water are just two examples.

Several other developers who contributed to my 2006 campaign have requested favorable treatment since my election, and their requests have been denied.

The Sun and the citizens of the county have every right to be vigilant to ensure that elected officials keep their commitments not to allow special interests to drive public policy.

My record over three decades justifies public confidence that my commitment will be kept.

John R. Leopold


The writer is county executive of Anne Arundel County.

Refusing a tax hike while extending war

I find it quite ironic that many of the same people who advocate a war without end in Iraq also refuse to raise taxes to pay for it ("Bush sees success in Iraq," Sept. 14).

The Bush/Republican tax cuts of 2001 are still in effect. They give the richest of the rich Americans tax cuts they don't need while leaving much of the bill for the GOP's military adventure in Iraq, which is helping our enemies and embarrassing our allies, to future generations.

The $500 billion or so that we have spent so far on this war in Iraq could have fortified our Social Security system or started a national health care program.

The president and the vice president now claim that the Vietnam War was a just and noble cause, although they avoided serving in Vietnam.

Now they claim that our occupation of Iraq is of dire importance, yet they vehemently oppose raising taxes to pay for it.

Some things (and people) never change.

William Hettinger


Fix the problems at Rosewood Center

Rosewood Center's problems can be fixed if the will to do so is shown ("State health center faulted," Sept. 14).

Marylanders with profound developmental disabilities deserve a range of quality options for homes and services that suit their desires and needs, including state residential centers.

State residential centers excel because of strong federal monitoring and their qualified and caring staff. Many of their residents experience good relationships in these centers and receive access to outstanding medical and dental care.

It's imperative that the legislature find the political will to fix Rosewood and not close it.

Linda Scherer


The writer's brother resides at a state residential center in Salisbury.

Church birth stance imperils the Earth

Neither the pope nor the Catholic Church will ever be able to "clean the slate of environmental sins" or have a significant impact on protecting the environment as long as they continue to promote their policies that help overpopulate the world ("Religiously green," editorial, Sept. 17).

The only good news for the environment that could come from the Vatican would be the church's deciding to accept and support family planning as a way to protect women, children and the world.

Deirdre Smith


A ludicrous picture of hunting's cruelty

I am not a bow hunter. However, I must disagree with E. Joseph Lamp's column in which he laments the deer that may be wounded by bow hunters and "left to run around in the woods with arrows sticking in them, or to die a slow and agonizing death days or weeks later" ("Stop Maryland's season of cruelty: fall bow hunting," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 12).

What a ludicrous picture Mr. Lamp paints.

Not once in the 19 years I have permitted bow hunters to use my property have I seen a deer running around the woods with an arrow sticking in it or seen dazed and wounded animals roaming the woods for days or weeks on end.

I have, however, seen hundreds of deer eating every living plant (except daffodils and holly) on my property and decimating the fields of the farmers in my neighborhood.

I'm sorry, but unless you are a vegan and eat no animal flesh, I don't think you can criticize hunters.

Getting that domesticated beef burger to your table is no less cruel than bringing it home from the wild.

Melanie Winyall


Bow hunters cause deer painful death

E. Joseph Lamp should be commended for his column which brings the dirty secret of the gross cruelties of Maryland deer bow hunting to the attention of the general public ("Stop Maryland's season of cruelty: fall bow hunting," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 12).

Reports show that about one-half of deer hit by arrows run off terrified to die a slow, agonizing death or are crippled for life. And indeed, having seen a deer hobbling in a wooded area near a friend's home with an arrow sticking out of its body left me with a lasting, terribly upsetting vision.

And all of this gross cruelty for the recreational enjoyment of the bow hunter.

Marvin Tenberg


The writer is vice president of Animal Action Inc.

Maryland graduates deserve a chance

Every time I read an article about the shortage of workers with high-tech and other skills needed to fill defense and homeland security jobs, I see red ("Worker shortage called Md., U.S. threat," Sept. 14).

My son, a 2006 aerospace engineering graduate of University of Maryland with a 3.0 GPA, never even had an interview after countless applications to many government and defense organizations.

The argument that college graduates lack basic skills in communication, teamwork and leadership is weak.

These skills are learned on the job and come with experience. And experience comes from getting an opportunity.

Sarah Higgins


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