Editor: It's good to see The Sun promoting the importance of the filmmaking industry to Maryland's economy. Your June 24 editorial ("Hollywood on the Monongahela") and Eric Siegel's June 16 article ("Maryland Filmmaking at a Crossroads") have placed a much-needed spotlight on the industry. However, I'd like to clarify a few points.
The assumption that the TV movie "Cobb's Law" was shot in Pittsburgh instead of Baltimore because of union restrictions is not what my experience shows. During our March meeting in Los Angeles with the production manager of the film, Scott Harbinson of IATSE promised, "IATSE will match any deal you get from any other city." That is the positive attitude coming out of the union merger one that I think will bring Maryland's film
industry a great deal of work in the future.
In addition, promoting the importance of only the filmmaking industry gives the wrong impression of its impact on our economy. Marylanders employed by the communications industry know that feature films provide only a small part of their income. The main source of jobs and revenue in the industry come from corporate and commercial work which, combined, total more than half a billion dollars per year. Feature films receive the greatest attention, but the other parts of the industry keep Marylanders working and our industry on its feet.
I agree with your editorial that the state should take the lead in forming private-sector investment groups willing to put money into made-in-Maryland films. I invite any qualified investors and/or banks to contact the Maryland Film Commission.
The writer is director of the Maryland Film Commission.
Not so 'Handy'
Editor: I have to totally disagree with Ellen James Martin in regard to hiring policemen, firemen, wood shop teachers and other people in a quest for a repair person or a "handy man."
Even though she makes many valid points, it is against the Maryland home improvement laws to provide services to the homeowners without a license. Second, the "handy person" has no insurance to protect the homeowner, is not bonded and, in most cases, does inferior work. Third, the repair person will always request cash as payment, thus never paying taxes. In other words, the "handy man" has become a nuisance to the home-improvement industry and is leaving a bad taste for the legitimate contractors.
Paul E. Gerkens.
Editor: I am appalled that the telephone companies of America would allow recorded solicitation to invade the homes of the public, especially between 6 and 9 p.m.
These hours are normally spent enjoying quality time alone or with loved ones. To be rudely interrupted by a phone call from a non-person is not worth the tape it has been recorded on.
Americans are bombarded enough by persuasive solicitation through television, newspaper advertising and billboards, to name a few. Do we honestly need it to enter our homes through that wonderful invention, the telephone?
I say nay. Furthermore, what right do the telephone companies have in being the facilitators through which "telephone entrepreneurs" find their way into the homes of the public, without the consent of the public?
I find telephone solicitation to be offensive and thoughtless.
Editor: How can the General Assembly be accused of "picking a fight" with the governor because they assert their independence?
The Program Open Space funding was established with its own funding source to save and develop green areas and parks throughout the state. It is no different than Social Security being established to protect workers when they retire.
Because a government cannot or will not spend only what it collects is no justification to steal designated funds. The governor and state legislature were elected to make tough decisions and provide a certain quality of life in this state. I am glad that the legislature cares about green spaces and the environment as an important element of that quality.
Albert R. Svehla Jr.
Editor: Naomi Wolf's outraged femininism ("Wolf Vs.'Beauty Myth'", June 23) rings hollow to me for two reasons.
One, over the years I have hired many people of both sexes. Some were very conscious of their handsome looks, while others would not be considered attractive (at least not in the way Naomi Wolf views such things). But not once has a candidate's relative "beauty" entered my mind while making a hiring decision. The same goes for facilitating promotions. Such considerations are strictly of the past, and I know of no administrator who clings to them.
Second, I am struck by Naomi Wolf's own appearance. She rails rTC against women "multilating their flesh" in order to satisfy a male-dominated society, yet she herself plucks her eyebrows, paints her lips and wears eye-catching earrings. She wears long, fetching hair and shoes that highlight her finely-curved ankles. Naomi Wolf, in other words, is a beautiful woman who does things to herself to accentuate her beauty. She is hardly a convincing image for her man-hating message.
Editor: Roger Simon ended quoting his June 19 column on John Sununu's travels by quoting Sam Rayburn: "Some men grow in office, and others swell."
A more apt conclusion would be: "Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered."
Editor: Jack Luskin has taken me to task for daring to criticize the design and siting of the Holocaust Memorial.
Mr. Luskin has long been known for his sensitivity to Jewish issues, but he is not being fair when he resorts to buzz words like "Baltimore-born and world-renowned" instead of facts.
At the time of the Holocaust Memorial competition, no restrictions were placed on the design. No area of the site was set aside for a statue or anything else to be erected later. Clearly the statue was not planned when the "memorial" was.
Now, regarding our firm's design: I am not an architect and I did not design our submission (I'm the business partner). The competition was the first one our small firm had ever entered and we did not expect to win. In retrospect, except that we had ours sited better, I think we would all be most chagrined if our minimal design in Cor-ten steel stood rusting on the corner of Lombard and Gay Streets today.
I have heard from many members of the community -- architects, Jews and Jewish architects. None found the piece particularly self-serving or unduly harsh. Architectural criticism, like art or literary criticism, is opinion. It stands on its merits alone.
The writer is partner in Apollo, an architectural design firm.
Health Care Delivery
Editor: The recent articles in your paper by Daniel S. Greenberg, Carl T. Rowan and others concerning the urgent need for changes in our system of medical care delivery strike me as naive.
I believe there is almost unanimous sentiment that the present system is a mess and needs some drastic changes.
In making them, however, we need to be alert not to substitute other, unforeseen, possibly more severe, flaws.
The advent of Medicare and then Medicaid were supposed to fix the system. They didn't. Good intentions are not enough.
All the delivery plans around the world have significant problems, and their recipients are desperately seeking solutions which elude them. In this country, the Canadian plan has most often been suggested as our Utopia.
The public has not been made adequately aware that every system, including our own, results in the rationing of medical services. In the Canadian system, rationing occurs by not making services available.
In Alberta, (a province the size of from New York State-to-North Carolina, where some 2.5 million people reside), last reports indicate that there are two CT scanners and no MRIs. Waits for certain non-emergency surgical conditions can be a year or more.
It is relatively easy to save money on medical services if the services are not provided. Who knows what other improvements in care the future will bring which will not be affordable in Canada.
Our people have unrealistic expectations which mitigate against practical solution. They expect unlimited services without full payment. If we could continue the type of financing of the Reagan years, piling debt upon debt, that would be possible.
However, since our system must pay for itself in one fashion or another, services supplied as a right must be limited to the most cost efficient. This means rationing of health care -- a dirty word in the vocabulary of every politician.
The current cry is to get the waste out of medicine. While there is waste in medical care delivery (much of it created by government) which should be eliminated, it will not provide the funds to make everything available to everybody.
A politically more palatable word than "rationing" is providing "basic health services." The list of these "basic" services can be altered as scientific knowledge changes and the public demonstrates a willingness to provide funds.
We can, in my view, adopt two very important portions of the Canadian plan. The first is to provide a central, single payer, who pays the total bill (less any requirement directed at the consumer).
The cost of the paper work in our present payment system is variously estimated at 15 to 25 percent of total medical expenditure. Since government bureaucracy is a major cause of waste, we need to consider a separate agency for this purpose.
The second aspect of the Canadian system we need to mimic is the provision of much care by primary care providers. The patient sees specialists only by referral from the primary care physicians, who can adequately provide about 90 percent of services.
Also, these physicians are at home in a rural as well as urban setting and are trained to consider the entire patient (not just a single organ) and to emphasize preventive measures as well as out-of-hospital care.
Physicians will provide the kind of service the public requests. It behooves leaders from all walks of life to make their wishes known through legislation.
Since practical experience is so important in making the right decisions, the leadership in medicine, and especially in family medicine, needs to be consulted and to help give direction each step of the way.
Marion Friedman, M.D.