Not Just Charm
Your news article headlined "Congress charmed by first lady but unswayed" in the Sept. 29 edition of The Sun evoked images of Vanna White smiling mindlessly into a television camera.
The article went on to say that Hillary Clinton presented the health initiative (which she organized) to two House committees -- that she sat alone before the committees reeling off facts and figures.
I am curious as to how "charm" beat out "intelligent," "confident" and "organized" for the article's headline. Focusing on Mrs. Clinton's charm reduces her role in fashioning the health-care plan to that of a smiling spokesperson.
Charm doesn't pass the bar exam. John Kennedy Jr. will attest to that.
Your Sept. 27 editorial on the International Olympic Committee's award of host city of the Olympic Games in the year 2000 to Sydney, which was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald on Sept. 27.
Yes, Sydney is "safe," but far from dull. It is one of the most exciting cities in the world, far safer than the U.S.A.
I have just returned from America and, indeed, I went to Baltimore. I never felt safe in America, and I came home to Sydney to feel safe. Where are your freedom and liberty? Gone.
Which is the dull country, confined to your houses out of fear? Which is the dull country, where you only hear U.S. news? It is hardly surprising, then, that supposedly one of America's leading newspapers made such outrageous and totally incorrect comments.
While you may regard the decision as dull and reliable, the rest of the world sees it as exciting, as the IOC has opted for the city with the best technical bid and the best forum for the athletes.
Your suggestion that Sydney is too far away and that the athletes will be jet-lagged for weeks is absolute nonsense and the sort of comment made by someone totally ignorant of the truth. It is only far away in your narrow mind.
If Sydney with its beautiful harbor, cosmopolitan lifestyle, perfect weather and crime-free society, situated in the middle of the fastest-growing region in the world is dull, what is Baltimore, whose greatest gift to the world was Wallis Simpson? Draw your own conclusion. I know in which city I have freedom, liberty and world news. Yes, Sydney.
Those of us who keep abreast of state affairs cannot help but be fascinated by Maryland Attorney General Joe Curran, the erstwhile gubernatorial candidate.
Three years ago, Mr. Curran led the campaign to outlaw "Saturday night specials." We all know that law has stopped firearm crime in its tracks.
Now, with Maryland murders approaching 500 for the year, the state's chief law enforcement officer has time to join 25 other state attorneys general in a suit to ban "Joe Camel" advertising and issue an unsolicited informal ruling on whether a car painted with obnoxious symbols can be barred from a demolition derby at a county fair. There's a crime wave out there, Mr. Curran.
Reminds one of the housewife who knocked over her china cabinet in the dining room trying to swat a fly while a herd of elephants was stampeding through the parlor.
Mr. Curran's 1994 opponents could ensure victory by running on the incumbent's record.
King David wrote in Psalm 55 the following thought when speaking of his enemies: "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart. His words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords."
Let's hope that Yasser Arafat now realizes that Israel will live on as a nation -- forever.
Philip R. Grossman
A 3-Way Race
It is clear, from articles in your paper and others, that Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening has decided the campaign for governor is a two-man race. You cannot expect someone who lacks basic mathematic abilities to control the state budget. The race for governor is a three-person race.
State Sen. Mary Boergers, D-Montgomery, is not only honest, but she is the brightest and most articulate candidate we have had run for governor, not only in the present race, but in recent history. We finally have a chance to have a worthy governor, which will not only be a new experience for Maryland, but rare in the whole country.
Senator Boergers is not afraid to speak up and take a stand on the issues, even when her position is politically unpopular. We must demand that our next governor not just be another politician. We only have one choice, Mary Boergers.
Health Plan Defect
If the American public is to buy into President Clinton's proposed health plan, it's going to involve a lot of trust. Trust in Clinton, trust in the government and trust in Congress.
How have these entities done in the past? Well, the gay alliance trusted Bill Clinton with their votes and the taxpayers trusted Bill Clinton to reduce their taxes.
Social Security Administration employees have been indicted for selling data the agency keeps on the American public, the Internal Revenue Service has been found "browsing" taxpayers' data -- of friends, acquaintances and celebrities -- and the media are replete with such government boondoggles as $300 toilet seats, sending individuals checks for $0.01 and scores of other wastes such as only an entity with a bottomless pit of funds could manage.
With a national health card, our government agencies will have one-stop shopping for our entire history, but I'm sure our health privacy will be better protected than everything else, right?
As far as Congress is concerned, polls have shown that less than one in four of the American public trusts them.
It should be an open and shut case, but once again everyone so wants to believe in the golden egg theory -- that you really can give everyone more for less -- that this whole package may actually make it.
Such a great irony of this whole approach of more government in our lives is that Al Gore is actually recommending that in order to save money the government should be involved in less, e.g. privatizing the air traffic controllers and the Government Printing Office to mention a couple. Incredible, isn't it?
James M. Althoff
Threat to Area Drinking Water
As an organization founded on citizen participation to promote responsive and responsible government, we ask who is responsible for drinking water quality in the Baltimore region?
We believe that Mayor Kurt Schmoke and Public Works Director George Balog are directly responsible. Citizens who contribute to polluting our water resources are also responsible.
Since there is no watershed manager at this time and the experienced chief of water and wastewater was replaced by an acting director, the question is even more relevant.
The immediate question relates to the proposed construction of an additional 21-hole golf course directly on the shores of the Loch Raven Reservoir.
In 1908, the city was given acres of forested buffer around the reservoirs and was mandated to use those acres to protect the water supply. That mandate still exists. There is no mandate to put a golf course on any of these acres.
Contaminated water requires expensive and difficult remediation efforts. Milwaukee and New York City have recently experienced serious water quality incidents leading to radical changes in their water treatment policies.
Cincinnati has installed a large-scale carbon system, whose $60 million cost was shared by 700,000 residents. Ozonation, which kills microorganisms better than chlorine, is now used by over 30 cities. What will it cost residents, if Baltimore's sand filtration system proves inadequate?
Many water districts are purchasing reservoir watershed acres and reforesting them. Seattle protects its reservoir with 100,000 acres, permitting no human activities.
What about Baltimore?
The city owns over 8,000 acres around Loch Raven Reservoir. These acres are already riddled by power lines, roads, one 18-hole golf course, skeet shooting, fishing, a pistol range and a pumping station to handle sewage which would not be there if recreational use had been wisely planned. The reservoir is surrounded by development.
If this can happen, something is wrong with the system of government which permits it. Sooner rather than later, the water system will reflect the poor quality of the decision.
Mayor Schmoke vetoed this project five years ago. We urge the same wisdom and responsibility in 1993.
The writer is president of the League of Women Voters of Baltimore City.