The Baltimore Sun

Bishops, homeless: a troubling contrast

Wednesday's columns by Gregory Kane ("Meeting puts new light on homeless," Nov. 14) and Laura Vozzella ("The cuisine is heavenly, I guess," Nov. 14) should provide all of us, especially Roman Catholics, with much food for thought.

The picture of the homeless former high school coach bedding down under the Jones Falls Expressway while, at the very same time, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien and his colleagues from the U.S. Conference of Bishops are swilling from $55 bottles of Italian wine at one of our new, high-end restaurants, just blocks south of the Jones Falls, causes me to wonder where we have gone wrong. Perhaps my Sunday collection monies should go elsewhere?

I think about what comforts the price of just one of those bottles of Vino Nobile de Montepulciano could provide for the homeless and wonder what has happened to our priorities.

But then what should I expect from the same archbishop who, not one week earlier, decided that the Rev. Ray Martin had to resign as pastor of the South Baltimore Catholic Communities for the heinous infraction of permitting a female Episcopal priest to read Scripture as part of a funeral Mass to which she had been invited by the deceased's family, and for additional infractions relating to permitting his pets to enter the sanctuary and missing an appointment or two.

It seems that sipping expensive wine and making sure that no one dares step out of line are far more important than tending to the "flock."

I have to wonder where our priorities are and whether I am still proud to say I am a practicing Roman Catholic.

Gerard P. Martin


Parker very wrong on Clinton claims

I am not sure from where Kathleen Parker derives her demographic conclusions ("If men attack Hillary, women will help her," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 15).

She states emphatically that "the deeper Kenneth Starr cut into Bill Clinton's very private life, the more men felt sympathy for and aligned themselves with the president." I beg to differ. As a faithful husband and loving father of three girls, I found the former president's actions abhorrent. His Monica Lewinsky escapades were a naked abuse of power with a young subordinate. Mr. Clinton also lied on TV to the American public and later under oath to a federal prosecutor. Perfidy at its worst and most despicable.

Ms. Parker further states about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that "all women could relate to her position and could admire her classy handling of the situation." Classy? She remained married not to "stand by her man," but rather out of a cold-blooded calculation to suffer through her term as first lady, using it as the launching pad to her Senate election, which was preparatory to running for president. To think otherwise is either blind naivete or a partisan obfuscation of the facts.

Thomas M. Neale


Stop giving licenses to illegal immigrants

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton waffles on giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens ("License plan for illegal immigrants fails," Nov. 15), but not Maryland. It is one of those states that do issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

I wonder what part of "illegal" Gov. Martin O'Malley and the members of the Maryland legislature don't understand.

Franklin Shekore


Immigrants only aim to feed families

The controversy over the granting of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, most of who come from Mexico, is really an indictment of Mexico's atrocious standard of living ("Benefits for illegals insult to law- abiding," letters, Nov. 13). It forces its citizens to illegally come north across the border to afford to feed their families.

Those Latino immigrants are not loafers; rather, they seek only to be gainfully employed.

Being able to drive could be a tool to more financially productive employment. Isn't it better, then, that they be licensed? Would anyone prefer that those immigrants drive unlicensed and uninsured?

Harry E. Bennett Jr.


O'Malley wasteful on police gun issue

I am outraged that Gov. Martin O'Malley would veto a bill that would save the state money, while at the same time trying to raise our taxes ("House offers specific budget cuts for O'Malley," Nov. 15).

Allowing police departments to trade their old service weapons back to the manufacturer in exchange for deep discounts on new guns is a common practice in other states, and could save millions of dollars for Maryland police departments and the taxpayers who fund them. Mr. O'Malley would prefer to destroy the guns, probably at an additional cost to the taxpayers. That the vetoed bill was unanimously supported in both the House and the Senate only shows Mr. O'Malley's blatant disregard for the will of the people as well as their financial well-being.

It also shows his disregard for logic. His excuse that "police weapons should not be potentially made available outside of the law enforcement community" just doesn't hold any water. These "police weapons" are no different from the identical models available to ordinary citizens. And the recycled guns are no more easily available than a new one, as all the same paperwork, background checks and record-keeping rules apply.

Fortunately, our legislature is not as inclined as Mr. O'Malley is to be wasteful, and they overturned his veto.

Peter Bagnell


County needs better solution on hearings

For the Baltimore County Council to hold additional public hearings to allow comments on amendments to proposed legislation - as the article "In the blink of an eye, it's law" (Nov. 13) seemed to suggest - sounds reasonable, even desirable, but for one impediment. The county charter contains one sentence that makes additional hearings difficult, if not impossible: "Any bill not passed within 40 days after its introduction shall fail."

With only six days between the council work session, at which comments on a bill are encouraged, and the regular council session, at which the bill must be voted on, it is not possible to schedule any additional hearing.

We need another solution for real transparency in our system.

Marjorie Slater-Kaplan


The writer is president of the Baltimore County League of Women Voters.

Why show support for disgraced senator?

I am writing concerning the article "Letters to court praise ex-senator who took bribes" (Nov. 14).

What an outrage! Do we now have two standards - one for elected officials and one for everyone else? Former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell betrayed the trust of the citizens who elected him. Why should elected leaders and other "elite" citizens recommend mercy?

Apparently the letters indicate the many good things he did while representing his constituents. Big deal! Many elected officials are representing constituents without selling their office.

The rule of law should apply to everyone.

Mark H. Olanoff


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