Bill and WoodrowIn the 20th century, only...

Bill and Woodrow

In the 20th century, only Woodrow Wilson was swept into the presidency of the U.S. with a smaller percentage of the popular vote than Bill Clinton. From the two elections, held 80 years apart, similarities emerge.


Wilson and Clinton can be characterized as intellectuals with Ivy League overlays. Both men were born in the South and were elected on a Democratic platform of liberal promises. The elections were similar in that they were three-man races, with the result that both presidents were elected with less than 50 percent of the popular vote . . .

Both victories amassed huge electoral votes which presented false pictures of mandates. And in 1912 and 1992 both presidents achieved office with a comfortable Democratic working majority in Congress.


Will the analogy continue, and will the Clinton presidency, like the Wilson one, represent failed leadership and unrealized hopes?

Phyllis A. Waidner

Perry Hall

Mow, Don't Rake

What I see this time of year drives me crazy. Millions of plastic bags stacked by the curb. Tired homeowners laboriously raking. May I suggest an alternative?

Mow, don't rake.

Yes, use your ordinary side-blowing mower. Blow the clippings toward the unmowed side so you go over them repeatedly.

What little is left may not need to be raked at all. If the residue is too heavy to leave, it will still only use perhaps a tenth of the bags you would otherwise have needed, and will be piled conveniently in a narrow area. If you have a compost heap you can eliminate the bags . . .


Helpful hints:

* Yes, you do need a side-discharge mower for the raking (though not the mulching) effect. Remove the bagger, if any.

* The lower you set your mower, the better the vacuum effect.

* The leaves must be dry.

* If your grass is still high, don't panic. Mow it at a higher setting, then let the clippings dry for a day or two and repeat the above. Ditto if the leaves are too heavy or damp.

Leo Richter



Keep Black Marsh Wild

It did not surprise me when Sun Magazine reporter Bruce Reid described Black Marsh as a compellingly different kind of park ("Trouble in Paradise," Nov. 1).

David Harp's stunning photographs capture the marsh and forest as they really are and should be -- free of human management.

My children and I can go to almost any park and experience parking lots, picnic pavilions, mowed fields, visitors' centers and food concessions. It is their absence at North Point Park that makes every visit a personal adventure.

As with Steve Takos, it is a sense of discovery that draws us and most other visitors to North Point Park. We leave our car outside at the lot by the entrance and hike or bike the road that winds through the meadows and sweet gums down to the bay.


My son was more interested in the huge black snake that slithered across the road, the turtles or the red fox we spotted than in "facilities" such as amphitheaters. "I don't want to go to a playground park," he says, "I want to go to the wild park."

If nature education is going to be the focus of the state's plan for North Point Park, let's not think about developing the park as if it were just so many generic acres of land with "attractions" near the water. Let's keep it a park that nurtures our sense of discovery.

Victoria Crenson



Your readers were treated to a stimulating pictorial and informative article that showed why passions run high on both sides of the debate of development vs. a natural park at Black Marsh Wildlands.


I was very moved by park volunteer Steve Takos' sensitive and honest appraisal of this area that has had so much of an influence on his life. These comments inspired me to ask your readers the question: Can we really have it both ways?

If the state Department of Natural Resources goes ahead with development of large picnic pavilions, a turn-of-the-century multi-purpose building with food service, wading beaches, light house promenade, boating tie-ups, Edwardian gardens and an amphitheater, do you honestly believe the integrity of the marsh and woodland habitat along the short two-mile bay front will be secure for future generations of Marylanders to cherish?

In all likelihood, won't these man-made amenities adversely affect this area's water quality, as well as plant and animal life?

Why not locate the visitors center, parking lots, etc. inland near existing highways and utilities?

L Is it really necessary to put the bay and marshland at risk?

The real question we must ask is: What do we really want? To preserve the land for all to enjoy, resident wildlife and human visitors alike? Or to leave a legacy to future generations of missed opportunities? That's our real choice.


!Richard C. Pollock Sr.


The writer is president of the Coalition to Preserve Black Marsh.

Lame Lame Duck

Your editorial on Gov. William Donald Schaefer's "Disloyalty" (Nov. 14) was disingenuous, at best.

Governor Schaefer may be "the most colorful state figure in the past quarter-century," as you aver, but he is also head of his state's party. As such, he demanded to read the vote at the Democratic National Convention, a vote that was overwhelmingly favor of President-elect Clinton.


If he had any qualms as to Mr. Clinton's fitness for the presidency, he should have stayed away. But he insisted, as head of his state's Democratic Party, to be there and to present the state's electoral vote.

Second, Governor Schaefer is not a private citizen; he is, again the head of the Maryland Democratic Party. He should act like the head of a state political party and either follow the party line or keep his opinions to himself. His behavior was egregious and totally uncalled for. He has given added meaning to the lame in lame duck.

Robert Cooperman


Analyzing the National Elections

Five observations on the recent elections:


* President Bush just didn't get it as he bragged about 2.7 percent rise in the gross domestic product. That's something of interest only to Bush's Wall Street friends. The average unemployed industrial worker probably doesn't know and couldn't care less about the GDP.

* Bill Clinton's total vote may have been under 50 percent, but we can safely assume that the Ross Perot vote would have been nearly equally divided between Clinton and Bush if Perot had not re-entered the race.

Even though Clinton's total popular vote was not much more than Bush's, his total electoral vote advantage was large enough to be called a mandate.

Note that Clinton took the "old rust belt" states in the Northeast and industrial Midwest, as well as the "new rust belt" of the hard-hit West Coast -- all states of large population and electoral votes, and all states of high industrial unemployment. Meanwhile, Bush took the agribusiness farm belt.

* Again Bush just didn't get it. Right up to the last days of the campaign, and even in his concession speech, he continued to talk of international, global matters. He adamantly refused to show concern about domestic issues.

I guess he wants to be remembered in future history for his international conquests and peacemaking; world history doesn't treat domestic matters with as much importance.


* During the 1988 campaign, whenever I would read in the newspaper of derogatory statements by Bush and his crew, I would immediately think of a rebuttal. Then I would look for something from the Dukakis camp; any reply from them would be several days later, if at all.

But in the 1992 campaign, whenever I read about derogatory statements from Bush and his crew, I read a rebuttal from Clinton or a staff member, usually in the same day's paper, often in the same article. Such heads-up campaigning helped Clinton to his win.

* It has been reported that 14 states approved term limits, but in those 14 states only six incumbents lost. That's a mixed message. It seems that while many voters disapproved of Congress as a whole, most voters believed their own congressional representatives to be above the rest in character, constituent service, etc.

But how do you manage to get other people's incumbents out while restricting your own incumbents' seniority with term limits? You can't have it both ways.

Harry E. Bennett Jr.