Bus scheduling in Towson unsatisfactory
The transition to the new summer Mass Transit Administration schedule to incorporate the light rail has been anything but smooth and rational.
The initial scheduling of the number 11 from Towson State had no buses to downtown until 9:14 a.m. After calls were made to the MTA, a bus slightly before 8 a.m. was added, and the MTA distributed notices of the new bus the Friday before the change.
At this writing, the bus is two for four, which may be a great batting average at the light rail's terminus, Camden Yards, but somewhat less than the reliability needed for commuting to work.
The MTA should have done a better job of informing the ridership of the changes and making some attempt to stick to the printed schedule.
Schedules were not available until a few days before the change. MTA telephone information agents had little or no correct information. Bus drivers knew the schedule was being changed but had no information about the changes. New drivers on the route needed passengers' directions to follow the route.
If the fall schedule brings no improvement, this rider will trade unreliable public transit for a moderately dependable 12-year-old automobile for his daily commute.
President George Bush is urged to sign the National Voter Registration Act passed by the Senate (S 250) and the House of Representatives (HR 4366).
Removing obstacles to voter registration is consistent with encouraging citizen participation in voting, which has been on a decline in recent decades. Under the measure, voter registration would become almost automatic and cut the cost of civic energy expended in voter registration campaigns.
A more inclusive participation of the voting age population in the electoral process is healthy for American democracy. It matters that specific categories of the voting age population would be more impacted than others by the measure, thereby ensuring voter registration parity for all categories.
The claim that the measure would increase voter fraud does not hold water. Furthermore, such acts would be felonies under the measure.
Equally important would be the impact of the measure on expanding the pools of potential jurors and making them more representative of their respective populations. This would be an expected outcome since the list of jurors in most jurisdictions is taken from the list of registered voters.
Partisan interests be damned. It is far more important that all eligible American citizens vote in elections, and removing barriers to voter registration and voter participation would clearly be in the national interest.
Herbert H. Lindsey
Don't leave a legacy of litter
Are you guilty of throwing unwanted paper or other trash in the forests or along walking trails? It takes Mother Nature years to rid itself of litter. What follows is a list of how long it takes various forms of litter to decompose.
Paper: two to five months.
Orange peel: six months.
Milk cartons: five years.
Filter cigarettes: 10-12 years.
Plastic bags: 10-20 years.
Leather shoes: 25-40 years.
Nylon cloth: 30-40 years.
Plastic containers: 50-80 years.
Aluminum: 80-100 years.
/# Plastic foam cups, etc.: never.
R. S. McClelland
Smoke and mirrors
The media have developed a People magazine mentality. We are regaled with royal scandals -- Princess Di and her marriage -- Roseanne's screechings at the ballgame and Sister Souljah's irrelevant ranting while the real issues are obscured.
That old sage Richard Nixon and others who know what is best for us have decreed we must help Russia with several billion dollars we do not have.
Meanwhile there is never enough money for police protection, and teachers in a country rich as ours have to spend their own money to buy supplies for their kids. Why isn't this proposed grant to Russia being challenged and debated by the media?
We are being manipulated with smoke and mirrors and sleight-of-tongue techniques to divert us from the pertinent issues that should be a priority.
Need for 'unsafers'
Whether one agrees or disagrees with Sister Souljah, she has as much right, as does David Duke, to speak her mind. The major problem is white America's acceptance of safe Negroes and denial of those who aren't.
As much as I love and respect Martin Luther King, he was a safe Negro until he opposed the Vietnam War and began to recognize that economics, as well as racism, was America's problem.
When he stepped outside the establishment, criticism came from the national bureaucracy and funds dried up. Apathy results from contentment and relaxation causes inertia. America needs "unsafers," regardless of race or gender, to focus on problems.
Back to anarchy
What is it about sports events and rock concerts that brings out the sub-human element in people?
Must these events now be canceled because mobs riot, loot, burn and hurt innocent victims who happen to be present at the time?
N. H. Buchar
The Wall Street Journal recently listed the 100 biggest spenders in Congress. Of the 100 members who sponsored the most spending, 95 were Democrats, four were Republicans and one was an independent.
Kweisi Mfume of Maryland was ranked 19th in profligacy. He managed to sponsor $309 billion in spending. Many of the remaining spenders were pikers in comparison to the Maryland congressman. This is something the people of Maryland ought to know.
William S. Boykin
Modest proposal: When schools don't work, abolish them
It is time to reconsider the idea of universal free public education.
Free public schools absorb a disproportionate share of state and local tax dollars. Moreover, recent studies have shown that one of the primary keys to excellence in schooling is parental involvement. If parents had to pay for their kids' schooling, they might get more involved. In other words, Johnny can fail all he wants in public school but when he starts wasting family funds -- that's a different matter.
Even a relatively small tuition -- from perhaps 10 percent of the total cost per pupil down to a token amount based on the !B family's ability to pay -- might enable the system to appropriately compensate greatly overworked and dedicated public school teachers. I would think the teachers' unions would support such a move. Furthermore, scholarships could be encouraged by remitting the tuition of outstanding pupils.
Community colleges and state-run colleges and universities all charge tuition (with financial aid for the economically disadvantaged). Why not the public schools?
John D. Schiavone
It is difficult to understand why a country that claims our children are our most valuable resource has allowed its public education system to deteriorate. For some fantastic reason we subscribe to the simple solution that by throwing money at the system it will automatically perform. All recent evaluations of the system prove that does not work.
Our position as the world leader is slipping fast. That is our fault. If parents, taxpayers and voters are not concerned about the quality of our children's education, why should politicians, professional educators, unions or anyone else care?
I thank The Baltimore Sun for its recent series on public education and pray that all those involved will stay the course until our educational system becomes a symbol of our national pride.
Forrest F. Gesswein