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Feb. 24, 1997



By Mari Maldonado

Inside warring hurts

Simpson criminal case

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An interesting twist has arisen in the O.J. Simpson saga.

I've been watching on various broadcasts how Mark Fuhrman is saying he
noted evidence at Simpson's home that would have turned the criminal
case around.

Like the chief detectives on the case, Phillip Vanatter and Tom Lange,
Fuhrman wrote a book on his findings.

He claims that he discovered a bloody fingerprint on the brass plated
handle of a back gate and boxes of what appeared to be packages for a
Swiss Army knife in O.J.'s bathroom.

There's also talk about a black sweat suit in Simpson's washer.

A person wearing a black sweat suit was identified by a witness at the
crime scene the time of the murders.

The onetime L.A. Police Department detective's former partner, who is
still with the LAPD, is backing Fuhrman's story, going so far as stating
he was the first to find some of the incriminating evidence.

Vanatter and Lange are denouncing Fuhrman's revelations, raising
questions regarding Fuhrman's failure to verbally make other detectives
aware of his findings. "Bells should have gone off," they said.

Furhman argues that he included his discoveries in the notes he handed
over to the lead detectives when they arrived at the scene.

As I said before, I don't think there was an attempt to frame O.J., but
the sloppy handling of the evidence really cost the prosecution their

The deal with these discoveries by Fuhrman looks to me like the LAPD
was suffering from a case of what I call, "department war."

This is what I've dubbed the scenario where people working for one
deparment refuse to work as a team.

One person refuses to help out a co-worker because they hold the
notion, "well that's what they get paid for, let them do it," etc.

You see it everywhere at every level of any company or organization.

In most cases I've seen it stem from employees discussing their
salaries, benefits, vacation time, etc.

It's clear to me why a lot of companies prohibit employees from
revealing their salaries to others.

Of course in a small town, such as this, that's a difficult task.

"Department war," is very evident in public offices where everyone's
salary is public record.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mari Maldonado is an Enterprise reporter whose column
appears each Monday.


Don't fix schools that aren't broken

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Some members of the Texas Board of Education are calling for doing away
with the TAAS tests that have become so controversial throughout the

The tests seem to be what educators are hanging their hat on to restore
academic excellence to Texas schools.

However, in so doing, a TAAS curriculum has been implemented in some
schools so that students receive instruction on taking the tests,
leading some parents and other critics to assert that nothing is being
learned except to how to take a test.

Those on the Board are pushing the use of a broader national test to
assess prograss by Texas students.

It seems in the panic caused by reports of failure of students in
Texas, those in charge of education have been grabbing for straws and
the tallest straw was TAAS testing.

We've never believed in putting all eggs in one basket in any
situation. No one situation can cure all ills. This applies to TAAS.

Whatever happened to the push to return to basics in school
instruction? If students learn the basics, can't they pass tests to show
they are progressing as they should?

Our young people have been experimented on for too long in schools as
new programs come along. The old system wasn't broke so why are we
trying to fix it?
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