Editor: I read with interest The Sun's recent accounts of efforts in the General Assembly to abolish Maryland's legislative scholarship program.
While some legislators have not abused or politicized the scholarship program, some have. No objective observer can deny that legislative scholarship awards have become a patronage pool for many incumbents.
The $6.4 million appropriated for this program could be better spent helping truly needy recipients with increased scholarship assistance and middle income families with tax-free interest subsidies on savings instruments set aside for future tuition costs.
Hopefully, the General Assembly will banish the current patronage system and channel the money in more equitable and meaningful ways.
John R. Leopold.
Who's In Charge?
Editor: Recently, our attention has been drawn to President Bush's trip to the Far East and Japan with some company executives. The president put forth a good effort in car salesmanship, but I would like to know why we cannot dictate what and how much of anything that can be imported into this country.
Japan has been accused many times of dumping government-subsidized steel and other products on our markets. think it is high time that our leadership take charge and address this problem. A tougher stand on this is long overdue.
As a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack, I learned decades ago that we must react to our adversaries according to their actions and not their words.
John E. Simmons.
Racial Bifurcation Continues
Editor: The celebratory activities in conjunction with Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday revealed a continuing racial bifurcation and palpable racism in the American body politic.
Almost 29 years after Dr. King proclaimed his immortal "Dream" at the base of the brooding Lincoln Memorial in Washington and 24 years after his tragic death, social justice and equality of opportunity remain elusive and distant for 32 million black Americans.
Today, largely as a result of national and state leadership, a veritable conspiracy of silence, apathy and mean-spiritedness has caused deep fissures in black-white relations.
This situation has been exacerbated by the abysmal failure of Presidents Reagan and Bush to provide direct, forceful and unambiguous leadership in human and civil rights for all.
The time is at hand to engage in fewer panegyrics and ceremonial events and initiate concrete steps to end the scourge of racism, sexism and religious bigotry which continue to bedevil and divide us. As the most powerful and prosperous nation in the world, we have the capacity to start in earnest to stop racial RTC divisiveness, hostility and the peddlers of hate.
We have the fiscal and human capital to accomplish this.
Now we must mobilize the will.
Samuel L. Banks.
Baltimore. Editor: In a recent letter, Pierre H. Vining, president of the Maryland Association of Realtors, voiced his concerns about the Maryland Real Estate Commission.
Mr. Vining was critical of the need for any further license-fee increases and the efficiency of the commission and suggested the commission be autonomous of the Maryland Department of Licensing and Regulation.
It should be noted that the Maryland Real Estate Commission was, and is, established by law to regulate the very industry Mr. Vining represents. The primary function of the commission is to protect the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of Maryland and not the real estate industry. Recently, many changes have taken place to strengthen the role of the commission in the interest of the consumer, including appointments of additional consumer members to the commission.
It is understandable that the real estate industry may sometimes critical of regulatory authority. But it cannot be permitted to unduly influence the operations of these regulatory agencies at the expense of the consumer.
Mr. Vining is right in his financial analysis; however, establishing an independent Real Estate Commission outside the Department of Licensing and Regulation would do nothing to solve his problem. The revenues would still go into the state's General Fund. If Mr. Vining wants to solve the dilemma, he should use his influence and industry support to convince the Maryland General Assembly to specifically earmark the license fees for supporting the regulatory function of the Real Estate Commission.
Mario W. Francioli.
The writer is Maryland's commissioner of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
Let Canada Split
Editor: I saw a reprint in the Montreal Gazette of an astounding Jan. 15 editorial by The Sun advocating that Canada stay united -- and apart from the United States.
How is U.S. interest served by keeping English Canada from joining the Union?
Canada was created by the British Empire to keep the northern half of North America from "falling" to the United States. Why should we co-conspire in our own deprivation? If Canada breaks up, English Canada will join the Union. And it's about time.
Far from encouraging Canada to stay together, U.S. media, politicians and ordinary people should be courting English Canadians to join the Union. Quebec can be granted Commonwealth status like Puerto Rico, or statehood if it so desires, as long as Quebec understands that statehood is forever and that it must grant co-equal status to English but will receive no reciprocal special treatment for French outside Quebec.
Union of the U.S. and English Canada would, with the demise of the Soviet Union, make this the largest country on Earth. It would expand our resource and population base and show the world that people of good will can erase needless borders and end up prouder, richer and more secure.
If the two Yemens can join, the the two Germanies can join and 12 different countries of Western Europe that speak nine different languages can make great strides toward union, surely the United States and Canada can join. The world is a dangerous place. As population soars elsewhere, the United States becomes a smaller and smaller part of the world, less and less able to defend our interests or promote our principles. The solution is for the United States to expand, constantly, so we can control events in everyone's best interest through cooperative effort on common problems. Canada is a good place to start.
L. Craig Schoonmaker.