People's CounselEditor: As the president of the...

People's Counsel

Editor: As the president of the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County, I fully concur with The Sun's Dec. 10 editorial concerning an independent People's Counsel office with adequate staffing to serve the interests and concerns of all Baltimore County communities.


The league firmly supports the concept of a People's Counsel and so advised the county executive and County Council members at the time the budget cuts were first announced.

We trust that our position, your editorial and the views of supportive civic groups may yet enable a decision to retain the office of the People's Counsel with full staffing and complete independence.


Alberta R. Eidman.


Japanese Faith

Editor: Your Dec. 8 article concerning my Pearl Harbor commemoration speech aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Taney implies that I was the one detailing the Japanese lack of moral principles and religious values.

In fact, such was not the case, as the full text of my speech -- which you had in advance -- shows quite clearly.

You ignored the whole point of my speech -- that this was the description by a leading Japanese spokesperson of his people. The source of those original statements, which I quoted, was Kazuo Ogura, director general of cultural affairs at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, writing in the Nov. 24 New York Times.

He stated, "With regard to religious creeds and political principles, the Japanese do not claim to have any universal principles that they wish to spread around the world . . . Unlike Americans, for whom being American is a matter of faith or convictions, Japanese do not associate their identity with any faith or convictions."

Helen Delich Bentley.



The writer represents Maryland's 2nd District in the House of Representatives.

Insurance Tools

Editor: The property-casualty insurance industry shares the concern of The Sun's Nov. 23 editorial regarding the adequacy and effectiveness of regulation of the insurance industry by the Maryland Insurance Division.

We enthusiastically endorse all reasonable measures to assure that the Maryland Insurance Division functions at the highest degree of competence. It is our conviction that within the limits and available capacities of the insurance division and its personnel, Commissioner John Donaho is discharging his responsibilities in a highly professional manner.

Unfortunately, through a legislative happenstance, some of the commissioner's regulatory tools were taken away from him.


For some years prior to 1989, the rate-making activities of competing companies did not require the explicit action of the insurance division before they were approved.

Although the administration and the insurance division supported the continuation of this process, the General Assembly was unable to agree upon specific issues which would have permitted this system to continue.

This occurred despite the testimony from the insurance division that to revert to the old and burdensome "prior approval" procedure would divert critical manpower from other important responsibilities (most noteworthy, the protection against insurer insolvency) and would require an additional $1.5 million for implementation.

It would be naive to state that this process alone would solve all of the insurance division's problems. But a return to this efficient method of regulation would certainly be beneficial and less costly to all parties concerned, even to the consumers.

Leo W. Doyle.



The writer is an assistant vice president of the National Association of Independent Insurers.

'Racism' and 'Elitism'?

Editor: I was fascinated by the juxtaposition in the Nov. 24 Perspective section between the pieces by Barry Rascovar and Tom Horton.

Barry Rascovar practically calls the Baltimore County General Assembly delegation racist and classist demagogues because they want to preserve the exclusionary political borders of the county.

Tom Horton uncritically praises the county's exclusionary land use policies which have kept the horse farms of the valleys safe from the average American's dream of a house with a yard.

Sen. Thomas Bromwell and his colleagues from Catonsville, Arbutus, Dundalk and Essex ought to spend less time worrying about sharing a legislative district with city residents and more .. time worrying about the effect of exclusionary land-use planning on their constituents. After all, their hard-working constituents have a lot more in common with working and middle class African-Americans in the city than they do with the landed gentry in the Greenspring Valley.


Mr. Horton concedes that the development of the valleys would mean ". . . a victory for the average homeowner, a more equitable distribution of the American dream."

But then in an astonishingly cavalier fashion, he suggests a morbasic human right is at stake -- preservation of the landscape and way of life for the few who will ever get to enjoy it.

Through its land-use policies, Baltimore County for the past 30 years has been keeping the riff-raff, both black and white, in their respective places and out of the valleys. Large-lot, single-family zoning has kept poor and middle class whites in Dundalk, Carney, Essex, Arbutus and Catonsville and poor and middle class blacks in the city. Now land costs in the county have pushed the dream of homeownership beyond the reach of both the average white and black family.

The more subtle racism and economic elitism underlying the exclusionary land-use policies of Baltimore County have been far more damaging to the hopes and dreams of city and county residents alike than the overt racial demogoguery of the politicians. It is too bad that white working and middle class county residents are too caught up in their own racism to see that their own interests are best served by inclusionary zoning and politics.

Barbara Samuels.



Thanks from Bea Gaddy

Editor: I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the many friends and volunteers who participated in feeding thousands of needy individuals on Thanksgiving Day. Your selfless contributions of time, effort and revenues are to be applauded and admired by all.

Special thanks also go out to the federal, Baltimore City and Baltimore County governments and to all of the companies and organizations which helped this immense humanitarian effort to be the huge success that it was.

8, May God bless each and every one of you.

Bea Gaddy.