Money or Ideas?
Editor: In Tim Baker's "Capital We've Got: It's Companies We Need" (Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 11), I had some difficulty determining which he believed must come first: money or ideas. Just maybe, the raison d'etre of the venture capital manager needs to be mentioned: to maximize return on investment. No, these people are not industrial development officers in the employ of government, but managers of funds belonging to the private sector.
Mr. Baker also confuses by lumping the "high-tech" companies (Genetic Therapy and Cellco) with the "low-tech" (Integrated Health Services and American Day Treatment Centers). A "high-tech" company requires substantial investment for a number of years before a product is ready to be taken to market. There is usually an immediate impact for the economy of the state with "high-tech" as a result of this research and development expenditure . (Throw in manufacturing and you have an even greater pay-off.)
A "low-tech" service company will begin to generate operating revenues within the first year of operation. For that to be meaningful for Maryland's economy, jobs have to be created. While Integrated Health Services, an operator of health care facilities, has its corporate office in Maryland, it does not offer its services in the state at this time. American Day Treatment Centers, also a health care provider, has a facility in Prince George's County, but operates out of a Northern Virginia headquarters.
$ Richard N. Stutz. Cockeysville.
Editor: Prescription drugs keep going up in price all the time simply because there is no competition, no matter how much the pharmaceutical companies protest to the contrary. It is a commodity essential to the well being of the community. However, due to the tightness of money in today's economy, more and more of our citizens will find these prescriptions unaffordable with the possible resultant early loss of life and an increase in human suffering.
These affluent drug companies have been callous and dispassionate in the cavalier way they have raised their prices. Even the pharmacists who dispense the drugs are at a loss to comprehend why certain drugs are so high.
Congress and consumer groups should investigate these companies and challenge them on their business practices and the huge increase in prescription drugs in the past decade.
! Miriam Topel. Baltimore.
Most Teen-Agers Are Ignorant
Editor: I believe there is a major crisis at hand. Most of the young people today have no idea of what's going on in the world.
With the exception of a few isolated individuals, most teen-agers don't even read the newspaper or watch the news. Most other teen-agers have no concern for the world they live in, and that's very sad if you ask me.
Those few who do read the paper and watch the news are the ones who also tend to get the best grades and in the end the best jobs. After all, with the complexity of foreign relations, the business world, overall current events and the world of information available to us in general, you must develop a deep understanding to interpret any of it. With this understanding comes interest, and with interest comes the desire to do your best.
There was a survey about the Clarence Thomas hearings taken in several classes at my high school, and with it a mountain of fallacies appeared. With comments like, "He should never have been taken into court anyway"; and, "Her job should be revoked"-- you can easily understand why I say, "Partial information is just as dangerous or bad as no information!"
It really makes me sick to think there has to be a war or a natural disaster to get young people to watch the news.
I'm a high school freshman, and I don't want my generation to be forgotten, because I and others like me are the future leaders of the world.
) David R. Peterson Jr. Baltimore.
Save at the Top
Editor: This is a comment on Richard Bavaria's (PR person for the Baltimore County school administration) rebuttal letter Nov. 5 to State Sen. Thomas Bromwell's charge that fat can be cut from the upper echelons of the county's public school administration rather than threatening to cut sports and increase class size.
I imagine that Mr. Bavaria wrote this letter as part of his work day. I would not be surprised if it was handed to administration to review its correctness. Person-hours spent on this letter, I would think, translates into hundreds of dollars.
I am not defending Senator Bromwell's choice of words, but the idea of looking into the organization of the central bureaucracy for possible restructuring is reasonable.
The University of Maryland System abolished the deputy chancellor position along with its assistant at a minimum saving of $230,000. That would be eight to nine teacher's jobs. Maybe Baltimore County can begin by examining the positions of assistant superintendent. One would imagine that a number of these positions could be combined at a savings $80,000 to $90,000 per assistant superintendent. Find two, and one has six more teachers.
I think this was Senator Bromwell's intent. Now the political arm of this central school administration plans to go after him rather -- than accept the state's mandate to cut back.
Joseph Kearney. Baltimore.
Poo, Poo, Poo
Editor: In Michael Olesker's Oct. 31 column, "Suit over showing of horror film," we see yet another case of people trying to remedy another unfortunate situation via "1-800-SUE-FOR-U."
In the case of Susan and Glenn Abrams' lawsuit against the Rockville student total enrichment program, the real trauma lies with the people possibly being found guilty, not with the Abrams' little girl. My heart goes out to their little girl if she was frightened, but what about the other room full of children who at the time enjoyed the horror movie for what it was? Entertainment.
I'm sorry, but if you educate a child on what ingredients go into making horror movies, fake blood, spooky props, etc., and even pause to illustrate such illusions as they occur, what more can you do?
Perhaps while they're sending their daughter to this enrichment program, the Abramses could take a course at their local community college. On values and ethics.
By the way, if I don't make it long enough to see if this gets printed, it's because I spent my time searching for a good attorney. The exposure of ink it took to print this letter has left me fearful of ink-poisoning.
Any lawyers out there?
Matt McElwee. Baltimore.
There Is No Such Thing as Safe Sex
Editor: Thank you for your Nov. 9 editorial on Magic Johnson, which stated, "The safest sexual practice is abstinence and the second safest is faithfulness. . .".
If this truth were promoted, we would have a realistic hope of reducing the spread of AIDS.
We mislead a whole generation of young people by proclaiming "safe sex," because there is no such thing apart from abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage.
Virginity is very ancient, honorable and extremely healthy. If our celebrities were to proclaim this truth, they could help prevent much needless sorrow.
%Irving and Jane Basil. Pikesville.
Editor: Magic Johnson's "magic," powerful enough to make the game of professional basketball virtually his fiefdom, was not sufficient to allow his rewriting of the rules of personal behavior. Intelligence, restraint and high personal standards are still essential.
Mr. Johnson's nobility came through in his early confession, and his stated resolve to help fight AIDS by teaching correct behavior. In addition to the obvious embarrassment, he was risking his huge financial interests.
If he can carry through with his plan, he may help millions of others avoid exposure to an untimely death. He can continue to remind us all that in the game of life, Mother Nature takes the last foul shot.
* Franklin W. Littleton. Baltimore.
Editor: After reading and listening for days about Magic Johnson's condition, it was a relief to find a commentary that makes sense. I am referring to your Opinion * Commentary article by Cal Thomas, Nov. 12.
Mr. Johnson stressed safe sex, but what he should be preaching is abstinence. Our young people seem to see the green light on promiscuity, especially since condoms are given out freely. Even safe sex doesn't assure them that they are not vulnerable to this devastating disease.
Geraldine Cohen. Baltimore.
Editor: I feel as bad as anyone for Magic Johnson or anyone else being diagnosed with HIV. AIDS is a horrendous disease that no one deserves. But the message going out on prevention is misguided.
Why are we telling kids that "safe sex" is the answer to the epidemic? There is no totally safe sex. Shouldn't the message instead be that it's OK to say no, that kids should not feel expected to have sex, that they should stand strong and protect themselves from what can lead to devastating physical, emotional and spiritual consequences?
I'm not so naive as to believe that this will convince all teen-agers to stay virtuous, but it can help give a lot of kids the strength to resist pressure they get from the media as well as peers, and reinforce the values a lot of families are trying desperately to instill.
I don't like my children being told that something's wrong with them if they don't engage in premarital sex.
Instead, we should be telling them it's OK to save themselves and it's better to engage in other activities that develop meaningful relationships. Why are we so afraid to do the right thing?
, William W. Carpenter Jr. Millersville.