Old Women VotersEditor: Poor Tom McMillen. Not...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Old Women Voters

Editor: Poor Tom McMillen. Not only does he lack the experience -- the joys and responsibilities of raising a family -- while representing a "family-oriented" county, but now we discover that he is also afflicted with "foot-in-mouth" disease.

According to a news story in The Sun, in the discussion regarding congressional redistricting, "But Mr. McMillen wondered how much longer a woman of Mrs. Bentley's age will remain in Congress. She turns 68 in November."

Our current representative has now succeeded in offending the majority of his constituents -- the women and the senior citizens. Voter registration shows that there are over 96,000 women voters registered in Anne Arundel, and only 86,000 men; furthermore, 70,000 county voters are over age fifty, and 30,000 of these are over age 64.

Obviously, the congressman has lost touch with his constituency. An astute politician would never disparage either the seniors or the women.

Helen R. Fister.

Davidsonville.

Farragut Defended

Editor: Your columnist's criticism (The Sun, Sept. 23) of Paul Farragut's, (D., Howard County Council) decision to refuse a pay raise misses the point. While it is true that the amount involved, more than $7,000, will not by itself solve the serious financial difficulties now facing local government, it shows that he will do his part and bear his share of the cutbacks that are necessary at this time. This is in sharp contrast to other politicians who preach fiscal constraint, but are unwilling to make the sacrifices that they demand of others.

One should compare the personal sacrifice made by Mr. Farragut with the hypocritical actions of the current Howard County executive, who has the gall to demand financial concessions by county employees while engineering payment to himself of both a pension and large salary for public service. Government needs more officials like Paul Farragut, who are truly public servants, rather than seekers of public office for personal gain.

oel M. Bright.

Columbia.

Code Enforcement

Editor: The article, "Housing Remedy," by Vincent P. Quayle makes a lot of good points.

The point it misses, however, is that in order to make people want to live in Baltimore we need to enforce the current housing code.

Who wants to move to a city and discover, after spending $40,000 to $50,000, that the housing code is not enforced?

Housing must not only be affordable but desirable. Laxity in enforcing the housing code has made many areas of Baltimore undesirable.

Until inspections are made promptly and violations corrected, there is little hope for the city.

Hopefully Mr. Quayle and St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center can (( accomplish what the city administration seems incapable of doing.

Charles D. Connelly.

Baltimore, Md.

Citywide Vision

Editor: Having moved recently to Maryland from New York, I find irony in the Baltimore Republican Party's scheme to divide the city into 18 single-member districts. For over 20 years, the infamous Nassau County GOP machine, with support from the state and national Republican Party, has successfully fought a similar proposal in America's largest township (with more than 800,000 residents), Hempstead, N.Y.

I can draw one conclusion from this inconsistency within the Republican Party: The GOP has no position on the issue of single-member districting. The party promotes such schemes when they suit its political designs and opposes them whenever they do not.

Single-member districts would increase government waste in Baltimore as each of the 18 isolated council members would require his or her own district office and staff, and each would seek to outdo his or her colleagues in bringing home unnecessary bacon. With each council member responsible only the narrow interest of a rump constituency, the single-member scheme would breed parochialism and discourage the citywide vision today's challenges demand.

Republicans don't lose in Baltimore because of triple-member districts; they loose because their national leadership turns its back on the needs of cities while their local candidates complain about problems but fail to offer realistic solutions. When they stop playing games, they will realize that winning city elections requires more than changing the rules.

Steven Lebowitz.

Towson.

Still Counting

Editor: Please buy a calculator for the business news department. How many states are served by Hechinger's archcompetitor, Home Depot? The Sun (Sept. 25) has three answers.

The text of "Nailing Down Customers" says 14. The accompanying box announces at first that there are 12 states from California to New York. This box then lists 9 eastern states with a footnote adding 4 additional states in the hinterlands. My flashcards tell me that comes to 13.

L Well, at least that is the average of the other two figures.

Robert C. Tompkins.

Towson.

Bouncing Checks

Editor: Why is it that if I, as a college student, bounce a check, not only will the bank not cover it but will charge me a $25 returned check fee, while if members of the House of Representatives bounce a check to the House Bank, not only are their personal checks covered, but they are not even given a penalty?

It seems strange to me because any check that I might bounce will probably be under $10, while their bounced checks totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars during the year ending June 30, 1990.

An audit done by the General Accounting Office found that 8,331 checks were bounced during the year studied, which averaged 19 checks a piece for the 440 House members and non-voting delegates, and we have to ask why our nation is facing such a budget crisis.

Maybe this is why our deficit is increasing so drastically each year; maybe it's because no one has ever instilled the belief in them that you can't spend what you haven't got, because obviously on Capitol Hill you can.

Theresa K. Larson.

Towson.

Reasons for Postal Rate Restructuring

Editor: In response to your editorial, "Postal Predicament," let me set the record straight:

Congress, in creating the modern Postal Service in 1970required that postal costs be apportioned to all users on a "fair and equitable basis." When the Postal Rate Commission examined the pattern of the allocation of overhead costs to the various classes of mail, it was quite evident that third class was not carrying its statutory "fair and equitable" share.

The mandated "fair and equitable" standard was exactly what the Postal Rate Commission followed when it recommended a 25-percent increase in third-class mail, known to many people as "junk mail," and increased the cost of first-class mail to 29 cents rather than the 30-cent rate and 17-percent third-class increase sought by the Postal Service. Most people are astounded to learn that each one-cent increase yields $800 million annually.

The Postal Rate Commission, in making its recommendationssimply followed both the letter and the spirit of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. A major reason for the existence of the Postal Rate Commission is the protection of the public interest through the separation of the rate-making function from the holder of the monopoly.

Our Postal Rate Commission feels that a healthy and vibrant direct mail industry is good for the country and good for all mail users if it carries its fair share of the revenue burden. Since the new rates went into effect, third-class volumes have regrettably dropped by 6 percent, but nowhere in the law do we see that volume maximization of third-class mail is to be a goal for postal operations.

The fact is that advertising mailers have alternatives to the Postal Service, but first-class mailers are tied to the U.S. Postal Service by monopoly statutes.

A 29-cent, first-class stamp may be a minor inconvenience, but over a three-year rate cycle that penny amounts to about $2.5 billion -- very serious money. In recent years there have been many stamps, 8, 13, 18, and 22 cents, not divisible by a nickel. Then as now, there was some complaint that those sums were inconvenient, but convenience is not the issue.

The issue is whether each class of mail should pay its fair share of the overhead burden of the Postal Service as required by law -- and that is exactly what the commission did.

George W. Haley.

Washington.

H:

The writer is chairman of the Postal Rate Commission.

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