Kaufman was honest, not 'irrelevant'

Thank you for the article on the passing of A. Robert Kaufman. As one of Bob's closest friends and political comrades in his latter years, I would like to briefly respond to Professor Donald F. Norris' comment that Bob was irrelevant to the political process.

Before there was such a thing as the civil rights movement, Bob was walking picket lines against racial injustice. Before there was a mass movement against the Vietnam War, Bob was helping to organize and educate people about the crimes the U.S. government was perpetrating there. He continued in his later years to rail against what he referred to as the twin hoaxes of the war on drugs and the war on terror.

Just as the majority recognize today that racial discrimination and the Vietnam War were wrong, in the coming years Americans will come to view the criminalization of drug use and the American government's latest false justification for waging wars abroad to be equally as spurious.

Bob told the truth. For that he was often vilified, but in the long run he will be recognized for the courage of his convictions, his honesty in the face of many critics (as many from the so-called left as from the right), and, above all, his integrity.

Michael Melick, Baltimore

City needs ethics, not just competence

In his recent letter to The Sun, City Councilman Robert Curran asserts Sheila Dixon should stay in office because she is a good administrator. I won't argue the point of her administrative skills, but I would suggest that not being a convicted thief is also an important quality the city's mayor should possess.

The city needs a mayor capable of providing a moral example and ethical leadership, not just someone who can get the snowplows out. Mayor Dixon's conviction proves she is incapable of providing that leadership. The pettiness of her crime is not mitigating; to the contrary, it makes her offense particularly egregious.

One can at least understand how a politician might be tempted by a million-dollar kickback, but Dixon was willing to sell out her oath and her constituents for a few hundred dollars in gift cards. Her actions show a disdain and disregard to the citizens and her office. She appears to be an arrogant reverse Robin Hood, stealing from the poor and giving to her wealthy self. One wonders what she would be willing to do for "real" money.

That Robert Curran doesn't seem to grasp that a convicted criminal shouldn't remain as mayor shows his lack of judgment. The city needs a new mayor, and the Third District needs a new councilman.

Douglas J. Kaplan, Baltimore

Baltimore's legal graffiti is beautiful

Yeah! Finally someone (Mary Carole McCauley) wrote about the wonderful graffiti in Baltimore ("Making their mark," Dec. 27) - especially being able to do it without breaking the law!

Going back and forth to New York on the train, one can see lots of great lettering along the tracks - I've often shown this to my grandchildren, mentioning that if only someone could get these people into an art school, they would probably "bloom" and do good works.

And, thanks to Sherwin Mark and Karly Fae Hansen for promoting a place where Baltimoreans and tourists can enjoy the works of these talented people. I, personally, love seeing paintings along sides of walls in downtown Baltimore! There is a lot of talent "out there" waiting to be discovered.

Promoting the "good" news in our local paper is the way to go!

Helen Lacy, Baltimore

Terps men's teams aren't the only winners

This morning on Dec. 27, I was enjoying reading your ranking of the Top 10 sports stories of the past 10 years. As I read over the third-ranked story of the University of Maryland men's basketball team winning the 2002 national championship, I eagerly looked down the list to see where you ranked the 2006 women's basketball national championship. Imagine my disappointment to see that it did not make your list, but was relegated to only an honorable mention. In fact, the only "female" athlete to count for anything in 10 years was a horse!

The general public will never develop an appreciation for the skill of talented and entertaining women athletes unless the sports media begin to respect and recognize women's contributions to sports.

Carol P. Saucier, Cockeysville

Women's basketball team snubbed in list

I'll leave it to your Kevin Van Valkenburg to decide what he thought the Top 10 sports events were - that's his prerogative as a columnist. However, I am writing to question his decision to only mention the Maryland men's NCAA title in his narrative leading up to the final selections. What about the women? They won a title too. Even if Mr. Van Valkenburg didn't see it or appreciate it - others apparently did. Sports Illustrated named it the top women's game of the decade! What gives?

Tricia O'Neill, Lutherville

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