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Letters to the editor

June 16, 2007
(Page 2 of 3)

Since the BOE has calculated the cost for each new student is $45,000 and said there would be no new arts school students, all this money means an infinite cost per seat for construction. To put a high school into an operating budget when there are no classroom or academic spaces or student parking or luncheon facilities or any specified plan for daily operation is typical of this nod-your-head BOE to any Betty Morgan idea.

However, in view of the fact that the commissioners have said they would not use taxpayer-borrowing power while higher priority needs for new or updated or expanded schools remain, they have saved the BOE from itself.

But not to be thwarted, the BOE is developing a plan to go ahead and embed an expected $2.4 million in their own operating budget for the arts school. That would add a lease repayment of about $800,000 for 20 years and yearly operating expenses of $1.6 million.

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The BOE is so sure of its ability to divert money from current instructional, student/staff service and administrative programs that they are using Antietam Cable Television to advertise the opening of the arts school in this year's (2008-2009) budget request.

The idea just makes my blood boil.

To continue this hide-and-seek game, they might also try to "use state funds" and then tell us taxpayers that they are not using any county money would be sneakiness. That the BOE would impose Morgan's will by allocating state taxpaying citizen funds and then demand new county funds to make up for the shortfall is an ethical stance that calls for judgment. My verdict is guilty.

These attempts by the BOE at sleight of hand are like an elephant trying to pass unnoticed past the Hagerstown City Hall to Public Square.

Ton Janus
Hagerstown




'Thumbs down' given to Judge McDowell was not warranted



To the editor:

I was dismayed to read the "thumbs down" given to Judge McDowell on June 9. Not only was your criticism unjustified, but it was contrary to the facts and the applicable law.

In the case to which you referred, the defendant had all charges against him nolle prossed or dismissed by the state's attorney in return for his plea of guilt to one charge of animal cruelty. The maximum penalty for that crime is 90 days in jail, and Judge McDowell imposed the maximum penalty provided by law. Since the defendant received the most severe penalty allowed, the judge did not have the authority to require him to do anything else, such as ordering the person convicted to have no contact with animals.

In order for a judge to legally impose conditions upon a criminal defendant upon his release, there must be a suspended portion of his sentence followed by a period of probation, such as 90 days in jail (the maximum which cannot be exceeded) with all but, for instance, 60 days suspended.

Such a defendant would then be placed on a period of probation subject to conditions that the court deemed proper. In this case, however, Judge McDowell believed that, because of the seriousness of the case and the heinous nature of the abuse, nothing short of the full 90 days in jail was in order.

To suggest that Judge McDowell should have done more than the law allowed was irresponsible. I suggest that you more carefully consider the facts and consult someone who understands the law before you decide to print an editorial denouncing one of our judges in the future. Perhaps you can print a "thumbs down" to you as editor for your faulty research concerning this case.

Tina Ferguson
Sharpsburg




Even the Goths were more humane



To the editor:

The ancient Romans and their neighbors to the north, the Goths, were similarly cruel peoples. Nevertheless, the Goths were shocked to learn that the Romans used torture to extract criminal confessions.

This fact provokes an intriguing question.

What does it say about you and me that we permit the Bush administration to torture in our name? Does it suggest that fourth century Germanic barbarians were, at least in this respect, our moral betters?

G. F. Miller
Hagerstown




Abstinence-only has proved to be a failure



To the editor:

Every day in this country 10,000 young people get a sexually transmitted disease (STD), 2,400 become pregnant, many unintentionally, and 55 contract HIV.

We believe it is time to restore common sense to our sex education policy in Washington, D.C., and hope you agree. The long-awaited, federally funded evaluation of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, released April 13, showed no impact on teen behavior - findings replicated in a dozen states.

"Youth in the program group were no more likely than control group youth to have abstained from sex," the official government report concluded, "and among those who reported having had sex, they had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same mean age."

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