After Anne Arundel County Executive Bob Neall declined to run for governor, an editorial claimed that the state Republican Party was in disarray. It predicted that unless something was done soon, all statewide Republican office-seekers were doomed to defeat.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Not only does the Republican Party offer Maryland voters Dick Bennett, a highly qualified candidate for attorney general, but the top declared GOP candidates for governor are far superior choices to the ultra-liberal, spend-it-while-we-can candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
Particularly disturbing is the editorial's dismissal of the candidacy of Del. Ellen R. Sauerbrey as a Reaganomics true-believer unwilling to compromise and unable to reach across party lines. That characterization was untrue, unfair and a slight to her many years of dedicated constituent service.
Recently, Delegate Sauerbrey has led the fight to oppose outrageous increases in government spending proposed by the Schaefer administration.
For years, Delegate Sauerbrey has advocated responsible fiscal policies which, if followed, could have helped the state avoid its recent budget problems.
Had Delegate Sauerbrey's call for lower taxes and less government spending been heeded by the governor or her Democratic colleagues in the legislature, Maryland's economy could be leading the country's economic recovery instead of lagging in its recession.
Anyone who has recently lost or feared losing a job will find Delegate Sauerbrey's candidacy much more appealing than portrayed by your editorial.
Finally, the editorial concluded by stating that the voters of Maryland would be better served by a true two-party system. I agree.
The voters would also be better served if you fairly characterized the campaigns of all the candidates instead of resorting to distortions which serve only to advance the political viewpoint of the editorial board.
I was delighted to read your editorial Oct. 17 applauding Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan for his persistent efforts to establish the Social Security Administration as an independent agency.
Your editorial, however, missed one of the most important effects of this separation. Presently, Social Security as a part of the Department of Health and Human Services becomes a part of the budget making process, thereby using the Social Security Trust Fund surplus as a means of disguising the true size of the federal deficit. This devious method of minimizing the deficit by accounting gimmicks could be eliminated.
The Concord Coalition, under the guidance of former Sens. Paul Tsongas and Warren Rudman, is reported to be advocating adjustment of Social Security benefits as part of a plan to balance the federal budget by the year 2000. Under the proposal, benefits would be gradually cut once family incomes reach $40,000.
Such ugly attempts to burden the middle income elderly with paying for the fiscal sins of the past could not take place with the establishment of a separate agency for SSA completely removed from the budget making process.
Any adjustments of revenues or disbursements within the Social Security system that seem desirable should be made solely for the purpose of maintaining a fair and equitable arrangement and not for dealing with the federal budget deficit.
Ronald F. Lamcke
Ethiopia in Baltimore
I read your biased and uninformed editorial of Oct. 19, "Ethiopia in Baltimore," with interest. Your claim that the demonstrators "brought eggs or other missiles to throw at the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church" was false.
It was a distortion of the peaceful demonstration we held to inform the Baltimore community of assassinations and atrocities being committed on Christian Church leaders by the Marxist-Leninist government of Melese Zenawi.
To suggest that the demonstrators were violent was either an intentional misrepresentation of our nonviolent demonstration or a lack of knowledge of the peaceful Ethiopian community in Baltimore.
I was not certain what you meant by "a handful of the Ethiopian diaspora." If you were attempting to imply that we have come from different parts of Ethiopia and constitute the various ethnic groups, you were for once correct. I am aware that the Provisional Government of Ethiopia (PGE) has attempted to dismiss all opposition groups as "disfranchised Amharas."
"Abune" Paulos is not a church leader legally elected by the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia but a hand-picked political appointee of the PGE.
Ask yourself the following question: If "Abune" Paulos was a genuine Christian church leader, would he have made a mockery of the July massacre at Gondar, where over 100 priests, innocent women and children were killed and another 300 wounded by the PGE soldiers for taking part in prayer and fasting vigil to appeal for democracy, cessation of ethnic cleansing and the break-up of Ethiopia by ethnicity?
For your information, a representative of our group had provided advance notice to the Walters Art Gallery that the Ethiopian community of Baltimore would hold a peaceful demonstration if "Abune" Paulos was invited as the guest of honor representing the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
It should be known that we strongly supported the exhibition of the Ethiopian Christian art and greatly appreciated the efforts of the African-American community to familiarize others with our rich Christian history and culture.
We showed our pride and gratitude by attending the exhibition the following day with our family members. This, in fact, was a golden opportunity for our children, many of whom were born in asylum, to witness firsthand their distinguished history . . .
'I Am Not Ashamed'
The Opinion * Commentary article entitled "The Shtetl Politician" by Bruce Bortz (Oct. 20) demands a response.
At a time when we are praising ethnic diversity and rediscovering the mosaic of America, I am not ashamed of being a Jew or a Jewish politician -- whatever that may mean. If it means fighting bigotry and prejudice, then I plead guilty to those charges.
My intense interest in protecting everyone's rights regardless of their religion or race led to my suggesting to then Gov. Harry Hughes that Maryland establish a center against violence and extremism. He took the ball and ran with it, and our state is now the home for the National Institute Against Prejudice and Violence.
Protecting the interests of my constituents in the Jewish community, the African-American community and all the other residents of the 11th district has been the central theme of my tenure in office. All of these constituents returned me to office for four terms.
The state's reapportionment plan was certainly opposed by not only Del. Richard Rynd, Del. Ted Levin and myself, but other legislators from throughout the state. Our issue was not Jewish representation, but the fact that a cohesive, contiguous community -- Pikesville -- was broken up into three separate legislative districts.
No community, be it populated by Jews or anyone else, should be carved up in that manner. I and others felt this was distinctly unfair to those residents. So did they. In fact, all community associations involved joined Delegate Levin's suit against the state.
It is no secret that the abortion filibuster in 1991 deteriorated to a personal level, with the use of anti-Semitic remarks and literature. Sen. Barbara Hoffman and I do not know who made these remarks, but we were made aware that they were said. Sen. Jack Cade, R-Anne Arundel, a respected friend and colleague, was never accused of this behavior, nor was any specific individual.
Members of the Senate, while in chambers during a legislative session, are never referred to by name, so we are addressed as the senator from Pikesville, the senator from Bolton Hill, etc.
I am used to being addressed that way and do not take it as a "coded accusation."
After reading the article, I reviewed the more than 30 bills I have sponsored and had signed into law during the past 15 years. I don't see a single bill that is "religiously motivated." As a registered nurse, my interest and expertise have always been in health care, and my committee assignments have reflected this focus.
I agree with Mr. Bortz -- anti-Semitism is a malevolent force -- in Maryland and elsewhere. But I did not invoke the "goblin of religious racism" -- he did.
The writer is a state senator from Baltimore County.