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Schmoke's DutyEditor: I find it amazing that...


Schmoke's Duty

Editor: I find it amazing that Roger Simon's Sept. 4 column praises Mayor Kurt Schmoke's "successful dull-by-design" campaign strategy. Mr. Simon's comment that the low-key campaign emphasized meetings between Mr. Schmoke and the electorate just illustrates that the columnist is out of touch with the real world.

The dull campaign is an irrelevant issue. What is far more important is that our mayor refuses to debate against other candidates for his office. According to reports in The Sun, his campaign manager says the mayor simply cannot fit the debate into his schedule. I compare it to a situation in which a corporate CEO chooses not to address shareholders at the company's annual meeting because "he can't find the time."

Mr. Schmoke's arrogant and unresponsive attitude is appalling. As a Baltimore City resident, my taxes pay his salary. In my view, he owes it to his constituents to discuss the last four years, as well as his plans for the next four, should he win the election.

If Mr. Schmoke were as smart as Mr. Simon seems to think he is, he could use the debate as a forum to combat the very negative attitudes toward his tenure that permeate this city. However, it seems clear that with less than a week remaining before the election, Mr. Schmoke won't be educating city residents with anything besides canned commercials. Such a waste.

Carolyn S. Brown.



Editor: The Hoes Heights community applauds the timely evaluation of the Fifth District City Council "team," particularly the reference to the councilwomen's handling of the Green Spring Dairy development process.

The pain inflicted upon us because of their irresponsibility and misrepresentation of the citizens of this community lingers. The blight of the dairy property continues to remind us that even after the bill's passage by the City Council our neighborhood has been voiceless.

We are looking forward to conscientious support and representation by the councilpersons in the Fourth District, into which we were redistricted, and are hopeful that our voices will now be heard.

!Christine H. Franklin.


The writer is president of the Hoes Heights Improvement


Rights of Humans

Editor: The waiting room of one of the nation's large hospitals renowned for care and research, particularly in transplants and cancer, is filled with concerned faces.

As I wait, too, I am reminded of science news articles that have only recently reported on the role that animals play in medical breakthroughs. One written by Thomas H. Maugh II concerning research on rats that will open the door to potential treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Another is a new anti-rejection drug, developed by a Japanese scientist using dogs and mice, that seems to be an improvement over what is now being used.

We read of these wonderful advancements, accepting and expecting them without being conscious of the role animals must play in the development.

There needs to be a public awakening to the ever-growing threat from the animal rights movement and to the devastating effect it is having on medical research. Their agenda goes way beyond humane treatment, calling for the complete halt of animal research.

A remark by one of the animal rights leaders, that "a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy," should send fear and apprehension through anyone who can imagine the consequences of such thinking.

Virtually no major treatment or procedure in modern medicine could have been developed without animal research. The many tragic illnesses and accidents that cause untold suffering demand that we support, protect and encourage medical research.



Politics Stinks

Editor: I agree 1,000 percent with your Aug. 28 editorial concerning the usual blatant, self-serving and selfish actions of the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee.

This proposed rape and dismemberment of Baltimore County should not be allowed to go unchecked. Countians deserve a better fate (and so do those citizens of the Eastern Shore).

But remember, there wasn't much of an outcry when the area of Howard County, where I've lived for 40 years, was made part of a district with sections of Baltimore County and with a main base in Baltimore City.

I admire Rep. Benjamin Cardin and am satisfied with his representation of me and mine. But I think it is more of a happenstance that we have someone of his caliber. There are some good people who care but, sadly, for the most part Maryland politics still stinks.

Ellison F. Moss.


No 'Cadets' Here

Editor: Shame on you. For the second time this summer (Maryland section, Aug. 17), you referred to the young men and women at the Naval Academy as "cadets."

You can properly call them "midshipmen," "mids" or "middies," but never "cadets." Cadets are the men and women at West Point.

!Patricia Gray Di Rito.

Bel Air. Editor: I, too, am appalled by the disgraceful congressional redistricting in Maryland, particularly in Baltimore County. Tell me why we have to go through this charade after each census?

Why can't congressmen be elected at large from each state, just as senators are? Each political party would have a fair shot at winning seats in proportion to its voter registration strength. Of course, we would need a statutory limit on campaign expenditures to give the poor folks a chance.

Vernon Lentz.


Naive Exercise?

Editor: The aspirations of the Butta commission to evaluate waste in state government is admirable but naive (editorial, Sept. 3).

It will be interesting as an academic exercise, but questionable as a fruitful undertaking. If one is to liken it to the Grace commission, it will only be an exercise. Following the extraordinary document chaired by Peter Grace, nothing was executed to carry out the recommendations. How can we expect differently from the Butta commission, particularly in the atmosphere of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's easy-spend administration?

It is apparent that legislative procedures are influenced by special-interest groups. Special-interest groups are represented by influence-peddlers (lobbyists). Until restrictions are placed upon the peddlers and their financial benefactors, little can be forthcoming from this governmental investigation. What interests this writer most is how Mr. Butta was conned into this benevolent project.

By the way, what ever happened to the balanced-budget amendment?

W. H. M. Finney.


Proud of BG&E;

Editor: Woods Hole, Mass., owes a big debt to Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. for restoring its power five days after Hurricane Bob.

Woods Hole is a little village, but home to big-league science with the world famous Marine Biological Laboratories and Oceanographic Institute. Per capita, more Nobel prize winners have worked and lived there than in any other place else on earth. The scientists have discoveries ranging from the Titanic to new industries. Loss of light and computing was a disaster.

In addition, Woods Hole and the town of Falmouth share Cape Cod's fleeting two-month tourist season that is vital to an economy already hurt by New England's brutal recession. Days without electric power would be felt for months to come.

Early on the fifth day after the storm, we were surprised to see a familiar BG&E; truck, one of 12 sent to help. We announced to discouraged neighbors that the "first team" had come to the rescue. By evening, the lights came on!

Bob's 100 mph winds scrambled trees and power lines into a wicked mess. The crews that came from many states worked hard and did an amazing job, but this Baltimorean will always be most proud of BG&E;'s help for a small New England village that is a national treasure.

aul S. Wheeler


Self-Serving Political Dreams

Editor: I am getting a little tired of hearing about the desperate efforts of some of the Baltimore City incumbent state legislators aimed at getting more legislative districts for the city than their 1990 population would merit and am appalled that the Maryland attorney general (according to John W. Frece's article in The Sun of Aug. 30) would encourage them in their self-serving dreams.

It is one thing to ask that the Census Bureau's revised population figures be used for every jurisdiction. It is another to ask or expect that the city's state senate districts be underpopulated from the average by over 10 percent so as to maximize their number and thereby deprive some people who live elsewhere of their fair and equal representation in Annapolis.

The state constitution requires that, after each census, the state be divided into 47 legislative districts (each containing one senator and three delegates). Past court decisions have required relatively equal population be the prime criteria for making the division. Keeping political jurisdictions intact is a strictly secondary consideration to the requirement of one person, one vote.

Ideally, using the official 1990 census figures, each of the 47 state senate districts should have 101,733 people (or as close to it as possible). Baltimore City's official 1990 population entitles it to 7.235 senate districts (which would seem to mean that, like it or not, the city and the surrounding county must share at least one senator).

Now you don't have to be a mathematical wizard to understand that, with a mandated total of 47, if one political jurisdiction gets more senate districts than it deserves, another will get less.

My county, Howard, with a 1990 population of 187,328, could (with equally poor logic) argue for two full senate districts. After all, that would amount to an even lesser percentage deviation from the ideal than it would take for Baltimore City to get eight full ones. But how about the rest of the people in the state? Aren't they here, too? Aren't they also entitled to equal protection of the laws?

So I say to the Baltimore City politicos and their friends, let's cut the baloney and face up to the reality of what the constitution requires: fairness for all.

If fairness means that some of you have to either retire or run against one another in order to stay in the General Assembly, that's the way it goes.

* Kenneth A. Stevens.Savage.

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