Getting ToughEditor: Your editorial, "Schaefer's Drug Policy,...


Getting Tough

Editor: Your editorial, "Schaefer's Drug Policy, " informs us: "Now the state has come up with a more measured approach that places treatment before retribution. Some 16,000 workers in 'sensitive' jobs affecting the life or health of others (prison guards, troopers, nurses, mechanics and bus drivers) will be subject to random tests."

If the evil of drug abuse is so pervasive as to create a presumption of guilt, then why limit the scope of those subject to random chemical inspection? A state job that does not affect the life or health of others would be superfluous.

The purpose of the policy is to send a message, so why settle for mere dismissals? Since the evidence against these miscreants would have been constitutionally seized, there is no legal impediment to their prosecution under the applicable criminal statute.

Gregory Lewis.



Editor: At a meeting of the striped bass advisory board Sept. 5, members of the Maryland Charter Boat Association proposed a special May striped-bass fishery for charter-boat members in 1991 due to poor early spring runs of large bluefish the past two springs. As one who stands opposed to inconsistency in any state regulation, I want the public to share my concern about a proposal that serves the needs of any special-interest group.

One of the objectives of the Chesapeake Bay striped-bass management plan is to "promote fair allocation of allowable harvest among various user groups of the fishery." If the CBA's proposal is adopted, 360 charter-boat captains will be able to take out recreational fishing parties in May 1991 while approximately 250,000 individuals, many of whom own private boats, will have to wait until the fall season to enjoy their sport. These persons purchase salt water licenses every year.

Maryland is the only state to have one regulation that allows persons on a charter boat to catch five fish per day while all other anglers have a two-fish per day limit. Now there looms a proposal for another exception. If you hire a guide to fish for large-mouth bass or to hunt geese in Maryland, your creel limit or bag limit remains the same. This is consistent in all states. We must have that kind of sensible consistency and fairness in Maryland.

William Huppert. Perry Hall.

Don't Move It

Editor: A recent editorial in The Sun discussed the possibility of moving the State Fair. I am opposed to moving the fair for several reasons. I believe that the traffic and parking problems cited by proponents of moving the fair are greatly exaggerated. The access to the fair is actually quite good. The fairgrounds are located near a major highway. Parking is plentiful as many nearby businesses sell parking spots during the peak hours of the fair.

If the fair is moved to a more rural location as many have suggested, the cost of upgrading roads would be enormous. The state simply cannot afford this expense. There would also be the added cost of constructing new exhibition halls and new animal exhibition facilities.

If the proposed 20,000-seat arena is constructed on the site of the present day racetrack, top entertainment could attract thousands to the fair every night. The arena would also provide year round usage of this prime track of land.

Moving the site of the fair will not improve it. If we are truly interested in improving the fair, we should target our efforts toward getting more local involvement. Local food merchants should replace the traveling sausage and pizza stands that now supply food to fair-goers. There should be less space allotted to games and more space given to local exhibitions, arts and crafts. These improvements would make the fair move enjoyable for everyone.

Shawn Blair.


Lighten Up, Gang

Editor: I had a good laugh reading in The Sun Sept. 6 the article concerning Anne Arundel County's decision to ban Barry Polisar from the county schools. If the subject of censorship was not such a serious issue it would have been a complete pleasure to follow the county's attempt to take joy out of the schools.

My three children (aged 10 and 7-year-old twins) and myself have thoroughly enjoyed the off-the-wall humor and glee of Mr. Polisar's books and tapes and had a wonderful side-splitting afternoon at one of his concerts.

Mr. Polisar's music is a breath of fresh air from the rules and regulations of the adult world. One of the most important things in life is not to be able to walk in a straight line to lunch but to be able to laugh. Apparently, some adults are offended by this notion.

Beyond the humor of Mr. Polisar's work, I think the messages are very good. "My Mommy Drives a Dump Truck" says that it is OK to be different or come from a family that is different. It certainly is not acceptable to behave as the child in "I've Got a Little Sister" behaves. What Mr. Polisar's song says, though, is that it is normal to have the feelings of jealousy and anger that are all too common in a sibling relationship.

As for the county's comment that Mr. Polisar "had a poor vocal quality," lighten up a bit, Anne Arundel. It's part of his outrageousness. It's part of the act. You might as well say a clown can't perform because he has orange hair.

Sam Austell.


A Glen Burnie School That Does It Right

Editor: This is the second year I have had my children participate in the Summer Academy at Richard Henry Lee Elementary School in Glen Burnie, and I have been more than impressed with the quality and effectiveness of the instruction.

Both of my children (9 and 10 years old) are "honor roll" students -- so I didn't place them in Summer Academy because of poor grades. My oldest daughter took reading last summer, and the confidence she displayed when she went back to school in September was astounding.

This year, I registered both children for reading and math, and each day when I picked them up, they were excited, stimulated and full of stories about what they were doing. Skills were being developed while they were having fun.

I have a computer program for math facts. During the entire school year, neither child could get below seven minutes in working through 100 facts. By the end of the second week at Summer Academy, both children came in under the line. The Summer Academy did in a very short time what was not possible over the entire school year.

The success of this program is tied directly to the student/teacher ratio (13:1 at the worst). Also, all classes were held in enclosed rooms -- not the open space used during the normal school year. The children were free from distractions, and the programs concentrated on skill development. It was apparent throughout the instruction and at the graduation ceremony that the teachers had developed a close relationship with each child.

This is a fantastic program. I would like to see it expanded to cover all the basic skills and opened to more children through public transportation. Actually, I wish the whole school year could be like this. My children learned more in those half day sessions than they do during a typical school day.

We need more programs like this because we are a country struggling with basic skills. In Japan, the cost to a manufacturing plant of bringing a new high-school graduate up to speed on techniques of statistical process control (SPC) is about $1. A high-school graduate in America needing the same on-the-job skills would cost the company a minimum of $200 to train. Should the American worker not have proficient math and reading abilities, the company cost is closer to $2,000.

American high schools produce approximately 700,000 graduates each year who have not mastered the basic skills.

Maryland is fifth in the nation in wealth, but 41st in the percentage of state aid to local education budgets, according to The Sun, Perspective, May 6.

All I hear is we can't afford to put more dollars into education; we can't afford to reduce the student/teacher ratio; we can't afford to increase teachers' pay; we can't afford to air condition schools and to extend the school year, and we can't afford to close in classrooms. The money is there -- it just needs to be committed to education.

I will always support any effort to improve education, and I extend to the Summer Academy teaching staff a very sincere "thank you" for an excellent program.

Gloria A. Holland.

Glen Burnie.

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