Schmoke acts as his own police chiefIsn't...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Schmoke acts as his own police chief

Isn't it quite obvious what's going on with the hiring of a new city police commissioner?

The candidate the mayor wants has not applied because the salary is not up to his expectations. So let's boost it so he will be happy.

Ask yourself this question, "Does the police commissioner show up at your house at 3 o'clock in the morning because someone is breaking in?"

What about the officers who respond to the hundreds of thousands of 911 calls each year and risk their lives on every one of them? They deserve the raise which would boost their morale and improve police service.

Let's just let Mayor Schmoke continue to act as police commissioner as he has been doing since he took office and save the city $120,000 a year.

That way he can see first-hand that his undertaking of community policing, landscaping the projects at $130,000, and $2.5 million for the project turnstiles are truly wastes of the city's money. He is snowing the political leaders of the city as well as the community.

In conclusion, let's save some more money and let Stuart Simms go. Let Kurt Schmoke continue to run the state's attorney's office as he has been doing for some time.

John Donovan

Baltimore

Wronged by article

A recent article about Gov. William Donald Schaefer in Money magazine, "The Prince of Perks," distorts the man. Governor Schaefer may have his faults, but a life of luxury and opulence are not among them.

Money stated that they investigated various states and their budgets for operating the governors's office. Did they investigate other agencies of the states that may be carrying the financial load for parts of the various governors' staffs?

I firmly believe the article wronged Maryland and Governor Schaefer.

Jeff Zellmer

Grasonville

Profitable force

The Maryland Toll Facilities Police is a government agency that pays its way. Not with taxes, but with fees for service.

William W. Bocklage's Sept. 27 letter, consciously or not, threw light on the waste of most of our government agencies, be they police, fire or health.

The Maryland Toll Facilities Police manages to fulfill its duty of protecting and serving the public without moaning and groaning for more taxes -- and even contributes a surplus of revenue to help a cash-starved state government.

It should not take a big-bucks study group to find out what makes it work and how it might be replicated in our own city police department and other (best left unnamed) sectors of our city and state government.

Lorenzo Gaztanaga

Baltimore

The writer chairs the Maryland Libertarian Party.

The truth

It's about time the Catholic Church said, "Enough."

I am referring to the charges being made by men and women against priests. The charges of being sexually abused. Some as long ago as 20 years.

They knew the church would rather pay than go to court. But by taking the cases to court, the men and women would be under oath to tell the truth.

They could also be asked why they waited five, 10 or 20 years to bring the charges.

Many charges are false. In courts, the truth can be sorted out.

Bob Crooks

Baltimore

Health plan

President Clinton's cheerleading speech aside, he and his team understand the only health plan that fits the U.S. with few modifications.

It is the German system, in place for 110 years with universal coverage. This is accomplished by the federal government writing the rules and then getting out of the way. No micromanagement.

Our 50 states operate the plan using private enterprise approaches with bidding on a yearly basis by insurance companies for management of coverage.

Insurance companies contract with providers -- doctors, hospitals, home nursing, etc. -- for care annually, with internal reviews each quarter.

Computerization of all aspects, total cradle-to-grave, basic medical care with a universal health card. Complete year round coverage, including house calls.

The system is a universal paying system by everyone. Workers and their employers each pay 6.5 percent up to $36,000.

Independent contractors, individuals and others making over $40,000 a year buy their own basic insurance at the same rates.

Ross Z. Pierpont

Baltimore

Why bash Mexico?

Opponents of the North America Free Trade Agreement appear to be concentrating on bashing Mexico, showing little understanding of the dimensions of the trade problem,

For instance: Recently I bought a rain jacket by mail. It was marked, "Made in Sri Lanka." A handkerchief bought in the Giant store was marked "Made in China." A flashlight bought in a drug store was marked "Made in Macao." So why concentrate on Mexico-bashing?

Howard H. Green

Baltimore

Wasted resources

Only in America: A tourist is killed in Florida and the state government does accounting studies to find how much in dollars will be lost in tourist revenue.

Maybe I'm confused, but since when did money become more important than human life? How do you equate the loss of a human's life with lost revenue?

And if a teen-ager is responsible, whether black or white, how do you equate this loss, the loss of one of our greatest commodities, our children, with loss of money?

Was a thought ever given as to why a young person would do something like this and then action taken to prevent them from committing such crimes?

Or are they just considered criminals, as you hear on local right-wing conservative radio talk shows, simply because they are born poor?

I thought that in America you're only a criminal once you've committed a crime. But now you're a criminal if you just happen to be less fortunate then someone else.

I say, take some of the tourist dollars and find out the real cause of the crimes and spend the money wisely on education, job skills and technology training, medical care and other programs that could stop these senseless murders.

I honestly believe that the person with the cure for AIDS is locked up in a jail somewhere.

Rev. Bob Fountain Sr.

Baltimore

Clinton health plan is bad medicine

As the debate over President Clinton's health care plan begins, I would hope that all citizens would consider the following points:

1. Health care is not a right guaranteed to every citizen by the United States Constitution.

Although health care was undoubtedly a major concern at the time of our nation's founding, our founding fathers did not see a role for the federal government in this area. Time has not changed the importance of health care or the importance of keeping the government out of it.

2. Health care costs have risen in direct relationship to government involvement. The "good old days" of affordable health care of our parents' era were before the immense government involvement in the health care marketplace we have today.

People should investigate for themselves just how much of the health care marketplace is already controlled by the government and then ask if they really believe that even more government intervention makes any sense.

3. Being able to take your health care "with you" when changing jobs is of major concern. This problem can be alleviated through simple changes in the federal tax code.

If individuals received the same tax breaks for obtaining health coverage that businesses receive for providing coverage, coverage could once again be tied to the individual, not to the individual's job.

It is being said that the free market is failing to provide high quality health care at a low cost. Untrue. The free market is not being given a chance.

The government already manipulates the health care market to the extent that calling it a free marketplace couldn't be further from the truth.

Freeing up the health care market place from unnecessary government intervention is the real answer to our health care problems. President Clinton's health care program should be scrapped. The sooner the better.

Kevin Schaefer

Ellicott City

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