MVA's unfair law
I am a resident of Baltimore City, and I am writing this letter to express my feelings about the new law effective July 1 that raises the cost of getting a driver's license.
Imagine that you have never had a license and you are going to get one for the first time.
You passed the learner's permit requirements in April, so you have six months in which to get your license. In the meantime, you are practicing until you have enough confidence to go to the Motor Vehicle Administration to take the test.
When you get to MVA, you are standing in line behind 30 other people there for the same purpose, to take the driving test. As soon as you step up to the guard, he says, "Where is your certificate?" and you reply, "What certificate?"
In addition to paying $30 for a learner's permit, if you pass that test, Maryland now requires that you pay $35 to watch a film and a lecture on the effects of drugs and alcohol, a session that lasts approximately three hours.
I feel that paying $35 of my hard-earned money to watch and listen to something that does not pertain to me is ridiculous, and the three hours of my valuable time is wasted.
It is not fair to the people. This law assumes that everybody has some type of addiction, and that is not true.
I understand that the government wants to educate the public, to show people what can happen if you are caught. But to make it mandatory that everyone see this film, listen to a speaker and give away $35 is asinine.
It is not fair to license applicants. MVA should have sent out notices to let the public know of this new law. I thought that it wouldn't and shouldn't pertain to me since I had my permit before July 1, but it did.
After reading Gilbert A. Lewthwaite's article on the loss of jobs for the medical industry ("Health plan likely to shut Baltimore-area hospitals," Sept. 26), I find it hard to have compassion for these people. Such people and their paper-shuffling are one of the reasons for the escalating cost of health care through the years.
Where was your compassion when other industries were losing benefits and insurance needs?
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, we are seeing all the sob stories in the papers. The reduction of the paper-shuffling will reduce the cost of medical care. The rest of us changed our lifestyles because of loss of jobs, etc. But health costs just kept on climbing, with more paper shuffling, unemployment, etc.
John L. Rosser
Regarding the Fish Market-Brokerage redevelopment, if the city wants to support this that's fine, but it shouldn't do what it did a few years ago, that is, entice some very attractive developments which you could see from the foot of the Jones Falls Expressway and then sink a permanent barrier, like the subway construction, to preclude any out-of-towners from finding their way to that part of downtown.
At least get that hole finished before you start another.
Paul A. Gasparotti
Health care plan can be worked out
I listened closely to President Clinton's health care reform speech last month and have followed the media reaction, both pro and con, as well as talked to quite a few folks on the subject.
My reactions and conclusions: It's time we had a president who had the courage to face this really tough problem, study its ramifications thoroughly and propose possible corrections.
President Clinton has shown a willingness to alter course after listening to other arguments and points of view. In the end he is determined that health care reform legislation prevail and be enacted by the end of next year.
This is politically possible because the American people demand rTC it, and congressmen who oppose it actively will be history.
The problems involved can and will be worked out. Every other major industrial country offers all citizens complete, decent health care coverage.
I don't think they are smarter than we are, but possibly they are less self-centered and greedy and more compassionate toward the guy who has no coverage for his family.
Ernest M. Stolberg
In response to the "Who pays?" buttons worn by some members of Congress in response to President Clinton's proposal for better health care, the answer is simple: We, the American people, will pay.
We've paid for years for ever more lethal weapons to be added to an enormous military arsenal which is useless. Now we may get a chance to pay for something that's usefuL.
Surveys show that a majority of people are willing to pay their fair share for a health care system that will improve the quality of life for themselves and for their children. Anything truly beneficial is worth paying for; besides, the wearers of those buttons must know that there is no such a thing as a free lunch.
Too many people have suffered under an inhumane health care system plagued by greed and bureaucracy that is unworthy of America, one of the richest nations in the world.
It's time for Congress to lay down petty partisan sentiments and get on with the task of working out a health care plan that's affordable and fair for all.
Watershed is more important than golf
The proposal by the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation to expand Pine Ridge Golf Course by 21 holes is outrageous, because it will necessitate cutting 100 acres of forest on the shores of Loch Raven Reservoir.
It is equally outrageous to justify that expansion by the "need" for golf by convention-goers, county residents who make up 95 percent of golfers at Pine Ridge or anyone else.
Both the present Pine Ridge Golf Course built in 1956 and the proposed expansion are on land adjacent to city-owned Loch Raven Reservoir in Baltimore County. This reservoir provides drinking water for much of Baltimore City, and areas such as Dundalk, Essex, Catonsville, Glen Burnie.
The proposal to remove 100 acres of trees along the shores of Loch Raven Reservoir to expand the Pine Ridge Golf Course by 21 holes is an affront to all the citizens who depend on this reservoir for pure water.
It is in contradiction to the 1908 law that established the reservoir by condemnation of land and wisely called for reforestation of adjacent land. It is a repetition of a similar proposal in 1988, which was turned down by the city becausethe expansion would create harmful environmental effects. It ignores the recommendations of the Watershed Management Task Force Report of April 1992, which calls for the end of all logging, no expansion of existing recreational activity and no additional recreational activities in reservoir watershed lands.
Protection of water quality for all our citizens now and in the future is the primary goal of a reservoir watershed. All other uses are secondary. We must not allow arguments of the needs of a few for golf or any other activity to cause us to swerve from our duty to protect our water supply in as "abundant, clear, pure, healthful, convenient and satisfactory a character as possible . . .," as stated in Chapter 214 of the 1908 law.
Polly Walker Wirth