StressEditor: Fifty years ago, only light bulbs...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Stress

Editor: Fifty years ago, only light bulbs and vacuum tubes burned out, and stress was only exhibited in beams, supports and similar construction members.

These exclusively engineering problems of stress and burn-out were never experienced by teachers, and students learned something in school.

Now, Barry Farber, an educational psychologist, claims (feature story, June 10) that symptoms of stress and burn-out have mysteriously appeared in teachers.

This completely imagined attribute of these engineering problems to our teachers is now offered as an excuse for their failure to educate our contemporary students.

Paul Slepian.

Baltimore.

Offensive T-Shirts

Editor: One recent morning, I strolled the Ocean City boardwalk. I was quite disturbed by some of the T-shirts I saw displayed in shop windows.

I thought them not only crass and tasteless but degrading to women.

I went into one shop and told the manager that I thought a shirt was awfully strong to be right smack out front. He stated that he was simply selling what came from the factory.

I suggested that he might put something like that in the back of the store. His response was something to do with freedom of speech.

Let's face it. A shirt like that, or one that promotes drunkenness, has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It has to do with money.

I'm disappointed. I plan to be vocal in my remarks to my friends who will be visiting Ocean City this summer. I will ask them to avoid these stores.

I will ask them to reconsider visiting a town which advertises itself as a family resort but which touts heavy drinking, sexual acting out and allows shops to be disrespectful to women and to demean women.

rances Brolle.

Salisbury.

Portent

Editor: The June 1 article, "Medicare shift sought to cut costly surgery," points directly to the problems of a national health care system. The government is proposing a plan with dramatic implications for the way medicine is practiced in the United States It is intended to change the type of care Medicare patients receive, encouraging consultation and preventive advice and discouraging expensive surgery.

The government has proposed a plan to change the medical treatment of the elderly based solely on budget considerations, with total disregard for medical needs of the subscribers. They ,, have not proposed a system that rewards treatments for successfully managing the elderly's medical problems. Nowhere in this plan is there an evaluation of the needs of the elderly.

The government wants to pay less money for joint replacements, even though they turn arthritic joints into productive ones. They want the cheaper cataract surgery, regardless of the tunnel vision. And a cut rate on bypass operations and hysterectomies. The government will pay more to rural physicians even if most of the elderly live in cities. They will tell us how many days the elderly can stay in the hospital and how many trips to the therapist they can make. This plan is a ruse, it is only an attempt to control health care cost with no thought of health care. This kind of manipulation of the health care system, should be considered unfair, antitrust and discriminating.

The government does have a buffer -- the doctor and hospitals must file all the paperwork for the Medicare patient. That way the subscribers miss the confusing codes, arbitrary reimbursement schedules and excessive bureaucracy. If claim forms are returned it appears to be the doctor's mistake, not a bureaucratic shuffle.

This article should be mandatory reading for those who advocate a national health care system. It is an omen of a government-organized health care program, a portent of the bureaucratic way.

E. D. Herman.

Baltimore.

Will as Kremlinologist

Editor: In his column of June 13, George Will takes issue with President Bush's decision to send Robert Strauss to Moscow as the next U.S. ambassador. In the process he cannot help himself in taking a few swipes at Mikhail Gorbachev, the "most misunderstood and "overrated" man of the past 50 years.

Mr. Will cites James Billington, the librarian of Congress, who sees Mr. Gorbachev as the "pure child of the nomenklatura," whose sole accomplishment has been self-preservation. Yet it is ironic that Mr. Will's piece was published on the very day when Boris Yeltsin claimed an historic, sweeping popular election victory at the expense of that same nomenklatura.

Instead of Mr. Strauss, the "ultimate capitalist," well versed in the art of wheeling and dealing, Mr. Will prefers an ideologue at the U.S. embassy in Moscow -- either Mr. Billington, who appears to be too busy at the Library of Congress to follow what is going on in Moscow, or Richard Pipes, who is suffering from a broken heart because the Cold War is over.

Mr. Will goes on to assure his readers that the Soviet Union's rebels "look toward America's example as a continent-wide, multicultural nation."

Right! The Armenians and Azeris bitterly resent the presence of the Soviet army in the Caucasus, which prevents them from cutting each other's throats.

Likewise the Georgians, who would like nothing better than to teach the Ossetians and Abkhazians a lesson. The Moldavians seek to do the same to the Gagauz.

The Lithuanians have their quarrels with Russians, Poles and Belorussians, while the Russians resent the remaining 100-odd thankless nationalities of the empire.

I'm afraid that Mr. Will's column will do little to further democracy in the Soviet Union, whose citizens are always amazed by our First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of expression irrespective of thought or knowledge of the subject.

Is this a great country, or what?

Harry Piotrowski.

Jarrettsville.

Crofton as a City

Editor: Your recent editorial, "The New City of Crofton?" states two major concerns regarding Crofton's potential incorporation as a city -- "the impact on the county's tax base and service delivery."

In reference to the "county tax pie" shrinking, the county may experience a minor decrease in highway user revenue and police aid if those services are provided by Crofton, but this would be offset by Crofton providing highway maintenance and police services in lieu of the county.

In the case of the "potential for duplicative and overlapping services," in most instances city services would replace county services. Thus, the city resident would receive only the improved city service, as the special taxing district of Crofton does now by providing additional police protection.

Crofton residents would still pay some level of property tax to the county, as they do today.

In addition to the ability to enact and enforce local ordinances, control land use and receive state and federal programs and grants, Crofton would gain other distinctions not mentioned in your editorial. Increased control over local affairs would allow Crofton to provide types and levels of services in addition to or in place of what the county provides.

Crofton would be eligible to receive direct revenue returns from state income tax, highway user revenue and state aid for police protection. State and federal grants and loans would become available for historic preservation, public works, community development and energy conservation.

The power to raise revenues and control expenditures by issuing general obligation and revenue bonds and levying taxes on real property, business personal property and admissions and amusements would be granted by the municipal charter drafted and adopted by the citizens of Crofton.

Perhaps the most important distinction, the people of Crofton would have "home rule," the right of the people of an area to

govern themselves in matters of purely local concern. For cities and towns, this is the grant of power under the Maryland Constitution to pass local laws or ordinances addressing local affairs.

The right of self-determination is at the very heart of our system of government. Just as states have certain rights to determine state affairs without interference from the national government, cities and towns have similar rights.

If Crofton achieves this status, it would surely be one of Maryland's finest cities.

on C. Burrell.

Annapolis.

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Municipal League.

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