Editor: I am appalled by the petty arrogance displayed by lobbyist Gerard Evans in his comments about former Del. William Clark. Evans, who represents physicians and their political action committee, was way off base in his attack on Clark. He represented his constituency with distinction and fairness during his eight-year tenure.
If Evans wishes to use the Medical PAC as some self-administered bully pulpit, that is his prerogative. However, if I were his client, I don't believe I would appreciate his pronouncements to the press. And if I were a lawmaker, I would be more interested in restricting arrogance than limiting PACs.
Robert L. McKinney.
Editor: The Sun is to be commended for its strong support of the bill before the General Assembly that would allow battered women charged with murder to tell their stories in court.
Few people realize how widespread the "battered spouse syndrome" is in our society. My wife is a social worker who works with battered women. She can attest that the problem crosses all class, ethnic and religious boundaries.
Currently the law is an example of "blaming the victim." By not allowing the physical and psychological abuse that led to the killing to be raised in court as mitigating evidence is to subject the battered woman to a double standard of justice.
Let's hope the state legislators will do the right thing and pass this bill promptly.
atrick H. Loy.
Editor: On the radio I heard that Mike Miller, Maryland's Senate president, has said he doesn't think Gov. William Donald Schaefer should have commuted the sentences of those women who attacked their mates after years of abuse. It was reported he said something like, "Why should one man put his judgment above that of the courts?"
That statement is cruel and harmful to our process of governing. Mr. Miller has, for reasons I cannot fathom, chosen to ignore two things. One, the same wise forefathers who created this marvelous government of ours created the courts and also gave the governor the power to override them in this fashion. Two, the courts are constrained to follow the law, and the law does not allow defendants to introduce into the case the pertinent facts about their years of abuse.
Unless Mr. Miller is for male domination of women he must concede that this instance is a proper use of the governor's discretion, a discretion the courts do not have.
Editor: Arkady Leokum's "Tell Me Why" column for children is a fine idea, but Mr. Leokum needs to check his materials carefully before he inadvertently promulgates misinformation to the young.
As a case in point, the column describing "The First Theater," credits the Romans with building the first permanent stone theater in 52 B.C. In fact, it was the Greeks who did it, completing the Theater of Dionysus at Athens around 325 B.C. Also in the fourth to the second centuries B.C., the Hellenistic period, ten stone theaters were built at various sites in the ancient world, the most famous of which is at Epidaurus.
W. P. Ellis.
The writer is chairman of the division of humanities and arts at Essex Community College.
Editor: Tim Baker's excellent column, "The Vision of a Great University Slips Away," has made an impression at my university, Towson State, a major victim of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's draconian cuts in the education budget.
It seems like Maryland's great endeavor to create a university of real international weight and excellence will become the first massive casualty of what Baker called "the hammer blows of a deepening recession."
While we exult in the successes of our brave and brilliant warriors, let us remember that Americans are not inherently superior to Iraqis. We were "the wretched refuse" of 40 decades and a hundred teeming shores, elevated to greatness by democratic institutions and the education that sustained them. If we continue to slash higher education funding, we are indeed devouring the seeds of our future.
At this rate, Marylanders won't even be invited to the next war, and you can bet your socks there will be one.
Let's just hope we will not be on the receiving end because we failed to man our first line of defense: our schools.
Editor: Henry Scarupa's article, "One Tale at a Time," in your columns of Feb. 2 lists six libraries where genealogical research can be done. In Washington, the National Archives is listed, but the vast collection at the Library of Congress is ignored.
As usual, the fine collection at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Library in Baltimore is not listed, yet it contains one of the best collections of English genealogy in the United States. It is free and has two extremely competent genealogical librarians, one of whom specializes in German genealogy.
P. William Filby.
Editor: In his State of the Union Address, President Bush announced that he would be reviving President Reagan's proposal to grant vouchers to parents, allowing them to choose between private or public schools for their children. Our "education president" believes that this will force schools to better themselves through competition.
I'm sorry, but I think that Mr. Bush is offering half-baked ideas to solve America's domestic problems. Mr. Bush's plan will only mean the extinction of America's public schools by the private institutions.
There is no way a public school can compete with the longstanding tradition and supportive alumni of a rich private school. Our children's education is not a privileged commodity. Every child in America deserves a fair and equal education. Competition will worsen the situation.
Mr. Bush does have the right idea, that federal government needs to get involved, but he is going about it the wrong way.
The federal government needs to take complete control of the education system. The problem has grown too big for the individual states to solve.
Our federal government needs to step in and establish national educational standards that every state must follow.
It has the power to pass legislation to regulate teacher qualifications, salaries and tenure, finance and money, textbook requirements and student performance evaluation.
All our children deserve and need a good education.
I just wish President Bush would stop worrying about being a strong world leader and start focusing his attention and desire on improving the country he leads.
James A. Morrisard.
Editor: I just read you editorial "Code-Switching in Montgomery" and it has to be one of the dumbest editorials I have ever read.
To even suggest such a program to help black children switch between English and so-called black English, is an insult to black children.
You then take your lunacy further by suggesting that white, Asian and Hispanic children might benefit from such a program. God forbid that we should have an after-school program to reinforce the use of proper English.
Editor: I read that Reps. Ben Cardin and Steny Hoyer and 12 more Congress people went on a trip to the Baltics and Russia. Fourteen of them, imagine! What was the purpose? No really supportable reason. It was just another nice trip to a foreign country at taxpayers' expense.
Ask and we'll be told the usual baloney that it was necessary in order to assess the uneasy situation in the area and determine what the U.S. might do. Wouldn't you think that three, or four at the most, could do what 14 did? Better still, wouldn't you think that the State Department representatives already over there, and whose job it is, could provide a far more comprehensive assessment?
Suppose as many as five went, can you imagine what the tens of thousands of dollars spent by the other seven would mean to some homeless women and their children who are freezing and hungry?
Those Congress people are not going to stop abusing their positions until the apathetic public becomes interested enough to act to bridle them. They are their own masters, answering to no one, as the elections last year proved when about 90 percent of the incumbents were returned. What is needed is a limit put on their terms so they can't get so comfortably entrenched and some type of prior notification of the nice amenities they slyly arrange for themselves so the public will have a chance to react.
T. J. Abbott.
Safe in Doctors' Hands?
Editor: The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported on a study which found that nearly one in 25 hospital patients in New York state suffer injuries at the hand of a doctor and 28 percent of these injuries were caused by doctors' negligence. Elderly patients face twice the risk ' probably because of their greater susceptibility.
Dr. David Axelrod, the New York state health commissioner, said that only a few of the many victims of doctor-caused injuries received compensation through malpractice suits or other means.
Does this study and its findings have implications for Marylanders? You bet it does.
It raises questions about medical negligence in hospitals and private practice in Maryland. And what about compensation or even professional censure for cases of medical negligence? Where does the state of Maryland stand on this issue?
The answer is simple: nowhere. The state and the Maryland legislature have wrapped their loving arms around physicians and provided them with extensive protection from patient redress. Why? Because the medical profession's political lobby is strong, well-funded and well-organized.
Take a look at the Board of Physician Quality Assurance and the Health Claims Arbitration Board.
The Board of Physician Quality Assurance is woefully underfunded. This means it summarily rejects all but the most serious claims. Many claims of physician negligence receive a form letter response and little more.
At the Health Claims Arbitration Board the administrative red tape is enough to discourage the filing of many valid claims. To be successful a complainant needs to hire an attorney and find an expert witness.
Medical malpractice attorneys will tell you that the cost to bring a claim against a physician starts at $15,000.
Isn't this intended to discourage victims from bringing action?