McMillen's mailing list crosses bay
On June 11, I received a "Special Report" from Rep. Tom McMillen. These mailings, commonly referred to as "franking privileges," are one of the greatest campaign advantages incumbent legislators enjoy. Millions of dollars are spent each year, particularly in election years, by congressmen to "inform" us of their recent conquests. This "information" is, of course, financed at taxpayer expense.
The problem with the latest leaflet is that Representative McMillen does not currently represent me. He is running against the incumbent in a newly drawn First District. Not only do we pay for our own congressman to send us mail, we are now able to get financed mail from one who doesn't even represent the district. I believe Mr. McMillen is "out of bounds" on this.
The congressman's office in Glen Burnie indicated that Mr. McMillen was allowed to send the letter because a special bipartisan (an oxymoron in Maryland) committee had approved of the practice in this situation. That's nice.
As to the content of the letter, Mr. McMillen speaks of the proposed chemical weapons incinerator at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He details how he is "wrestling this program away from Army planners bent on incineration of toxic agents."
Unfortunately, he does not explain in the letter that his amendment simply provides for the addition of a commission to further study the issue. He may deserve an assist on this one, but the point was already scored by the Armed Services Committee.
The letter does not indicate that Mr. McMillen was a guest on 12 different all-expense paid trips in 1991, including one to a golf tournament in Idaho. He obviously doesn't have a problem spending other people's money.
While I am, naturally, concerned about the quality of life in the community I live in, I am also concerned about the cost of government and bureaucratic investigative commissions. His letter was wasteful and hot air.
In the first paragraph of his June 5 letter to The Evening Sun ("Baltimore County Links Run Well"), county Director of Recreation and Parks Wayne Harman sums up the whole matter when he says he and the county's powers that be failed to accept the recommendation of a consultant, which he says "may be self serving."
This means, of course, that the golf pros and the director will not give up any money and power over the county golf courses. He refers to the highest quality golf experience possible in Baltimore County. I doubt that he plays golf. Does he compare Longview Golf Course with Pine Ridge?
The county has been trying to improve Longview for many years, but it is not a quality golfing experience, despite an expenditure of vast amounts of money. The back nine is just as bad as it was when it opened. Mr. Harman and the county have failed to take proper steps to make it a quality experience.
Mr. Harman ignores the fact that the golf pros can be put on salary and then the county can receive its share of cart concessions and driving-range profits.
Michael J. Manley
Quayle's elites more damaging than the 'cultural elites'
When Vice President Dan Quayle attacks the "cultural elites" of this country for ignoring questions of right and wrong, I have to wonder where his sense of proportion is.
What kind of elite says that because Dan Quayle's family knows the head of the Indiana National Guard, it's all right for him to use that connection to get into a safe outfit?
What kind of elite says that because the vice president sits on the Council on Competitiveness, it's all right for him to nullify laws that Republican contributors dislike. It is wrong to call these regulations a hindrance to competition, since the Germans and Japanese have to face tougher regulations.
What kind of elite says that because Neil Bush is the son of the then vice president, he can sit on the board of a savings and loan and use his position to make sweetheart deals for himself and his friends? This savings and loan mismanagement is one of the biggest causes of the recession.
What kind of elite says that it is all right for President George Bush to ask that the tax code give special treatment to those who can set aside enough money to speculate on stocks for six months?
What kind of elite says that because Ronald Reagan was president, it was all right for him to request Col. Oliver North to sell arms to an enemy and when that deal was exposed to cloud the issue by declaring that Colonel North was a "real American hero" for conspiring with him in this treasonous deal?
What kind of elite says that as long as they can get away with it, it's all right to scapegoat Congress on the deficit, to mislabel affirmative action as a quota system and to take credit for everything good that happened while blaming others for the bad things?
What advantage would I gain if I knew Candice Bergen? Maybe I could get her to publicize some of my ideas. What advantage did the Quayles, the Bushes and the Reagans gain from their elites? They have gained a lot of money and power and they have been exempted from a lot of their responsibilities. Dan Quayle wants us to hate the "cultural elite" for various crimes against some traditional values. In fact, the elites that include him are far more detestable.
Famous in Seville
While in Spain recently to attend Expo '92 in Seville, I met a young man who had been born and raised in Cuba but now lives in Spain.
He was very serious when he told me of the terrible experiences his Cuban friends still have to endure. He was wearing a T-shirt that said "Cuba Si -- Castro No" -- and had been asked to leave the Cuban pavilion. He was very upset.
Then he asked me where I was from. When I answered Baltimore, his face lit up and he said, "I know where that is -- they have the beautiful new baseball stadium."
A heartfelt thanks to the parents involved in making Owings Mills and Franklin Senior High Schools' non-alcoholic "after prom" parties a huge success. Thanks are due to the many local businesses that donated items and money to make these events possible.
One small paradox: After the seniors were encouraged by their schools to sign a "prom promise" pledging an alcohol-free evening, they were given imprinted champagne glasses as prom favors!
In March, while my daughter was home for break from Wellesley College, she and I ran some errands that took us near Roland Park Elementary and Middle School.
She had not been back inside the building since she graduated in 1987. So, unannounced, we stopped in to visit. We walked into the office and found the interior structure of the building had changed, but everything else -- the real stuff of Roland Park -- was as always.
We stood there, as if transported instantly back in time, and waited as Evelyn Beasley finished up yet another animated and convivial conversation with a parent.
Mrs. Beasley then turned to us and without any words of introduction, wrapped her arms around my daughter and literally rocked her back and forth in one of those all-embracing bear hugs that can only mean "Welcome Home!" I watched these two women greet each other as if five years had been five minutes.
I noted that my daughter was now taller than her older friend and mentor. And I thought how special my child must have been to Mrs. Beasley, who remembered her after all this time and expressed such joy at seeing her again.
This thought passed only momentarily through my mind, however. I knew deep down that all her "babies" are special to Evelyn Beasley. She remembers them all and welcomes them all back with equal zeal, just as she had welcomed them to share with her those first and formative years of their lives.
Mrs. Beasley will one day leave Roland Park, and it will be a sad day for all of us.
I know that she will know when it is time to do that. Now is simply not that time. As a parent of a child who has been one of Mrs. Beasley's "babies," Mayor Schmoke knows that, too. So does Bob Embry.
Dr. Amprey, a relative newcomer to this system, will learn soon enough what Evelyn Beasley means to Roland Park.
Barbara J. Becker