Don't hide truth

The Post and Courier reported on Feb. 9 that the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee met in Columbia to confirm Bryan Stirling as permanent director of the state Corrections Department.

Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, told the committee not to question Stirling about last month's ruling by S.C. Judge Michael Baxley, in which he reported that inmates with serious mental illnesses have died in state prisons for years because of inhumane treatment.

The judge called the treatment both unconstitutional and the most troubling case he has ever seen. He also cited reports showing that state government and department officials have known about the crisis for over a decade and failed to correct it.

It is very disappointing to me that Sen. Fair told the committee not to bring up that subject at the Stirling hearing. Sen. Fair has been chair of the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee for years, and in response to the Baxley ruling, he said he didn't know there was a problem.

I want to thank committee member Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, for refusing to be muzzled at the Stirling hearing. Sen. Kimpson asked Stirling pertinent questions about the judge's ruling. He also objected to the state's terrible decision to spend tax dollars in appealing the judge's order.

I wish more of our legislators had that kind of integrity and political courage to raise questions about state problems that others want to ignore.

Readers can find a lengthy report on the Baxley ruling online at the website for the Atlantic magazine.

Barbara Zia

Azimuth Court

Mount Pleasant

Senseless death

I was outraged to read the Feb. 3 article about the circumstances surrounding the death of 4-year-old Myls Dobson.

The fact that New York City's Administration for Children's Services (talk about an oxymoron) couldn't figure out over a period of six months that the caregiver was in jail speaks volumes about government agency incompetence.

Here's a suggestion. Instead of the National Security Agency collecting every shred of data about law-abiding citizens, how about putting it to work to identify when a child, under the jurisdiction of a state agency because of abuse, has the parent or guardian responsible for their wellbeing arrested and sent off to jail and then forwarding that information to the responsible agency for action.

It would also be nice if after giving that information to the agency that it follow up to make sure something was actually done about it.

Jeff Weiner

Legends Club Drive

Mount Pleasant

Driving force

They want to cut all the trees down in the median of I-26 between Summerville and I-95.

Really? Why don't they just cut down every tree by every highway or road in South Carolina so no one will ever hit a tree again?

Or how about just slow down? Problem solved.

Larry Baldwin

5th Avenue

Charleston

Oppose parole

Our father, native Charlestonian Stanley H. Kohn, Esq., was S.C. General Counsel for the Department of Social Services in 1985 when his life was taken by premeditated murder. Dad was "the children's advocate."

He started the S.C. Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem program in the 1970s; and was influential in implementing the S.C. child abuse and neglect laws. Stan Kohn lived to make this world a better and safer place for children.

This admitted killer, a Clemson professor at the time, also took the life of our friend Rosalind Allen. He boasted that he went back to the bodies and shot them each in the head so there was no chance of survival. After failing to prove his incompetence, the murderer plea-bargained for two concurrent life sentences rather than the death penalty. Our families and the judge agreed to those terms.

Robert Baker's seventh annual parole hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19, 2014. We want the Parole Board to give this man what he asked for, two life sentences.

As our Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell so aptly wrote to the parole board, "When those two people can walk out of their graves, only then shall Mr. Baker be allowed parole."

Please help us oppose the release of this dangerous man by sending your correspondence to the S.C. Parole Board via e-mail: Missy.Knight@ppp.state.sc.us or fax: S.C. Department Probation, Parole, Pardon Services (803)-734-9240. Along with your message please include the following: Offender-Robert L. Baker, SCDC No. 00138170, SID No. 00518355.

Laurel K. Fox

Chadwick Drive

Charleston

Familiar culprit

I've been fortunate to live here since 1997. This has been, and continues to be, the coldest, nastiest winter I've experienced here.

Some on the left would say this erratic weather is due to "climate change." Some on the right would say this winter disproves that theory. What we can all agree on, I'm sure, is that it's George W. Bush's fault.

Jerry Funk

Horncastle Place

Goose Creek

Wasted trips

CARTA needs to rethink its airport service. I'm at the airport frequently and never see more than two or three people on board. Most times - zero.

If CARTA wants to keep this route, I suggest it get a smaller, 10-passenger vehicle such as the Mercedes Sprinter and put the larger buses in the fleet.

Paul A. Krechman

Jasimine Court

Summerville