Editor: Your editorial, "Help for the Uninsured," supports a "basic benefits" policy being promoted by Blue Cross. A policy that provides no coverage for mental illness!
Try to convince the 20 percent of the population that will suffer the agony and torment of symptoms of mental illness during any six-month period that coverage for effective treatment is not essential.
The insurance industry has historically attempted to minimize or avoid the coverage of nervous and mental conditions. As a result, our legislators passed the mental health mandates to insure accessibility to timely and affordable treatment. The proposed Blue Cross policy is a step backward.
Any "basic" health insurance policy that doesn't address the conditions of mental illness is inadequate. It provides only an illusion of protection. It denies the facts that mental illness exists, that these conditions affect a large number of our citizens and that the absence of this insurance coverage deprives many individuals from receiving currently available treatment that can substantially improve their quality of life.
Editor: Gov. William Donald Schaefer's willingness to sign Maryland's so-called abortion rights bill, which has been dubbed the most liberal in the nation, illustrates the dangerous and shameful state of politics in the United States.
The treacherous dogma of political expediency reigns in the hearts of much of our "representation." Integrity and personal conviction now kneel in shameful obeisance to the wet-finger approach to public life; the result meting destruction to those incapable of wielding the political power of the moment.
Any scrutiny of the bill reveals its cleverly contrived nature. The "safeguards" of this bill clearly provide the abortionist with an arsenal of premises for 1) denying human rights during all stages of fetal development and 2) denying parental rights during a minor's pregnancy. Phrased in nebulous terms of legal impotence, this bill paves wide the currently protected and profit-laden avenues of abortion-on-demand, and leaves parents and women in crisis behind to pick up the pieces.
The governor says he is personally disturbed by abortion. He has now lent his signature to another reason to be so. The governor says that he is personally opposed to abortion. Let the weak and helpless beware.
John and Kristen Leonard.
Editor: Well here we go again with another 6 1/2 -cent rise in the gas tax plus substantial increases in fees for drivers licenses and vehicle registrations.
God help the poor motorist. Not only does the motorist pay, everyone else pays, too. As everyone knows, when the cost of gas goes up it fuels inflation, and everything goes up. What ever happened to cutting operating costs? I guess it is easier to pass it on to the consumer.
For example, Gov. William Donald Schaefer could cancel some of his pet projects such as the light rail system. With money so tight we really don't need this right now. Last but not least, how about giving back his pay raise? With the state in such terrible financial straits this is no time for a raise in pay.
Raymond S. Burnett.
Editor: The dump fire at the Patapsco Valley Farms has finally brought the plight of the residents of the Granite-Woodstock area to the attention of Baltimore County and other jurisdictions outside our area.
This dumping operation has created a gross nuisance to the area's residents for the past five years. The county apparently has taken the position that there was nothing it could do to control this operation, either from a traffic standpoint or from an environmental standpoint.
Area residents were expected to tolerate this nuisance as long as it was confined to a small geopolitical region. However, the chickens have now come home to roost and the county is faced with a tremendous expense to correct a situation it failed to control.
The Granite-area residents have documentation that an average of 100 large trucks per day were delivering loads of stumps and other clearing debris from construction sites in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince Georges, Montgomery counties.
The average charge for dumping at the site was $70 per truckload.
This debris was not covered, but simply piled into a monstrous 75-foot pile covering more than five acres of land.
Simple arithmetic should demonstrate to the county that the operator of this dump should have sufficient assets to assist in the cost of abating the nuisance created by his dump fire.
The county is now considering an application for a permit to continue operating a dump at this site. We can only hope that Baltimore County will exercise some control over this operation so that the area residents get some relief from this very profitable nuisance.
John J. Kelley.
The President's Record
Editor: President Bush is riding a wave of popularity.
With the Gulf War ending with a decisive victory resulting in the liberation of Kuwait and the undoing of Saddam Hussein, Mr. Bush is bound to be swept back into the White House.
But if we are to re-elect Mr. Bush, we have to ask ourselves, "What kind of a president was he before the war, during the war and after the war?"
Picture the bleak scenario before the war began. The savings and loan crisis was eating up the attention of the country. The deficit had grown to such monstrous proportions that President Bush had to unzip his lips and utter the two most loathed words in recent American history: increased taxes.
The Bush administration did not have a credible environmental policy or a comprehensive energy policy. Parental leave for child-care, a main concern of middle America, was left to individual employers' discretion. Health care now in shambles is suffering colossal cuts and someone in the administration is yet to come up with a plan to salvage Medicare and Social Security for future generations.
To top it off we have a recession, rising unemployment, homelessness, poverty, crime and other such ignominious details which the administration prefers to see as minor setbacks in a generally prosperous America.
President Bush was clearly failing us before the war.
During the war he rose in stature. He has forged a previously unthinkable alliance and waged what he called a just war against a ruthless dictator. Harping on the liberation of Kuwait, he did not tell the American people the whole unvarnished truth about the war.
If our policy was to fight and eliminate dictators of the ilk of Saddam Hussein, what were we doing rubbing shoulders with Hafaz el Assad, whose reputation is almost as unsavory. True, Assad has not hurled Scuds, or dumped oil in the gulf, but he is ambitious, ruthless and armed.
If our policy was to punish invaders, where were we, for instance, when China invaded Tibet? It is evident to me, and to a lot of other people, that American soldiers paid the price in the gulf today for the misguided energy policy of the Reagan-Bush era. The recently unveiled energy policy of President Bush is more of the same old stuff dished out on new paper.
Mr. Bush has failed us where foreign policy is concerned. Arms control talks with the Soviet Union have been postponed, ostensibly due to the war. The real reason of course is the hard line stand of the Soviets in the Baltics, about which the Bush administration has done nothing concrete. I am convinced this administration will regret its inaction in the matter of the demise of perestroika.
As for China, it has been given most favored nation status in trade. That is not a just reward for Tiananmen Square.
The relentless bombing of Baghdad lost us the good will of some Third World and Arab nations. When masses of people march against America in Arab cities, we are hurt or threatened, but such demonstrations are spontaneous expressions of people power. Instead of cozying up with overbearing Arab governments, if we stand for democracy we should listen to the voice of the Arab people.
How will Mr. Bush forge peace in a bruised Arab world? Can Iraq be excluded from the peace game? Where will the money come from for all the rebuilding? If threatened nations like Saudi Arabia clamor for weapons, how can there be arms control?
What of Israel, which continues to settle Soviet Jews in occupied territories?
The American people should examine President Bush from many angles. It is the bitterness of truth that builds a nation's conscience. Somewhere beneath the war rhetoric and the smart bombs is the truth. We will find it only if we seek it.