Rigged processGovernor Schaefer voiced his disappointment and...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Rigged process

Governor Schaefer voiced his disappointment and anger when the NFL rejected Baltimore's bid for a team. "I was conned," the governor was quoted as saying.

Perhaps now the governor can appreciate the feelings of the more than 100 civic and community delegates who worked diligently on the Baltimore County School Board Nominating Convention, only to have the governor reject the convention's choices completely.

Why should citizens spend months researching and voting on nominees if Governor Schaefer ignores the process?

Del. John Bishop's idea of making the nominating process law is the answer.

John Blair Mitchell

Cub Hill

Ban Tagliabue

I suggest that bills be introduced in the Maryland legislature and the Baltimore City Council prohibiting the admission of National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to Oriole Park.

Anyone convicted of aiding the admission of Mr. Paul Tagliabue to Oriole Park would be subject to a $100,000 fine, to be donated to a fund supporting the many excellent museums that already exist in Baltimore.

Upon conviction of entering Oriole Park, Mr. Tagliabue would be subject not only to the museum fund fine, but also be required to complete a weeklong course in the history of the city of Baltimore.

Two mandatory modules of this course would include a tour of the existing Charm City museums and a two-hour lecture on the contributions of Baltimore Colts fans to the financial development of the NFL.

C.A.P. Wilson

Columbia

Blood sport

Consider the NFL's logo on TV: Before each game two football helmets face each other down, then smash each other into small pieces.

Has anyone noticed the weekly serious injury list of star quarterbacks and other players whose skills have made the "game" worth watching?

Sports commentators complain the product isn't so great with the best players hobbled on the sidelines. But this "sport" seems to be played with more deliberate violence -- perhaps as a misguided commercial end in itself.

Listen to the announcers; no one is "tackled" or "blocked." They are "smashed," "drilled," "hit," "creamed," "leveled," "smothered" -- in a word, killed.

In a city and world of violent terrorism Baltimore's hoped-for new team might have been called the Bombers.

That's why many of us are not grieving because Baltimore was not awarded an NFL expansion team. Who wants to spend big ticket money for a declining "sport"?

The human race may see its future reflected in Roman spectacle-type games hungry for hurt, goaded by greed and played by such heavily armored players one can hardly tell them apart.

Maybe someone will invent an exciting, interesting, skillful non-violent new team game. Meanwhile, here's to baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer with finesse, basketball and maybe something totally new.

Dick Rodes

Columbia

Ban handguns?

During the past decade or two I have read and reread the arguments concerning the right to own handguns. Never in any of these arguments have I ever heard someone state what use a handgun is except to kill another human. Even hunters do not use handguns; they hunt with rifles or bow and arrows.

In England, police do not carry handguns because they know that they can be used only to kill or maim another human being. They do not see the logic in killing anyone, even lawbreakers. That is what prisons are for.

In the argument over the right to own a handgun we have lost sight of the fact that handguns are of no use to society except to kill or maim.

Maybe it is time to stand back and reconsider if we want handguns and if they are of any use to mankind. I suspect the answer to both these questions is no.

John P. Kimball

Catonsville

School daze

Though Wiley Hall often seems to see what no one else can, he hits the head on the nail in his column blaming inner-city school problems on teacher expectations ("School violence study should focus on adults," Nov. 20).

When Cicero wrote 2000 years ago, "It is the duty of teachers to teach; it is the duty of students to learn," he didn't have Mr. Hall around to set him straight.

Mr. Hall knows that when Johnny comes in to class bleary-eyed from drugs, headachey from a diet of Twinkies and Coke and lost because he can't study in a broken down house in an unsafe neighborhood with no parents to encourage him, the real reason Johnny can't learn is because teachers don't expect enough of him.

Mr. Hall also knows that teachers who fear for their safety only need a good, swift attitude readjustment.

Bravo for him! Please demand that Mr. Hall be required to serve on the education committee that he so nobly turned down.

With his guidance and wisdom, inner-city school problems should be cleaned up by next week and the entire city should be tranquil and problem free by the New Year.

Bill Nelson

Lutherville

Critics

I was prepared for J. D. Considine's condemnation of the new Sinatra album, but I was taken aback by Mike Littwin.

His statement that Luther Vandross out-sings Frank is as dumb as saying that Donald Duck has better pipes than Caruso.

It is needless to say that both of these men sorely lack musical taste or knowledge.

Malcolm E. Holt

Glen Burnie

Maryland neglects dental health needs

While the sad state of our nation's dental health has finally been highlighted on the front page of your newspaper ("Cost promotes decay of nation's dental health," Nov. 29), it doesn't negate the fact that dental health has long been on the back pages of our political agenda.

Many studies have established that a large proportion of children and adults in this country, especially those who are indigent, elderly, homeless, or members of minority groups, experience the daily anguish of tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Schoolchildren on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland, for example, have been found to have tooth decay rates up to five times the national average.

Dental disease, however, is not just about having cavities or gum disease. Chronic oral diseases often advance into more acute stages involving pain, infection and pathology. These problems often impact negatively on the quality of life for those affected, causing changes in dietary choices and nutritional status, psycho-social functioning and work or school productivity.

Oral problems also can initiate or accelerate physical and mental deterioration in elderly or people with AIDS. Moreover, 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are found each year, often resulting in expensive and physically disfiguring treatment for survivors.

Maryland is fourth in the country for oral cancer deaths and ranks second (after Washington, D.C.) for oral cancer deaths among African-American males.

A high proportion of these deaths could have been prevented through early detection. However, the opportunity for early detection is diminished because a substantial proportion of those at high risk for oral cancer have poor access into the oral health care system.

Medicare does not cover general dental benefits and in Maryland Medicaid only pays for dental services for children.

If society is truly measured by how it treats its young and its old, there is no excuse for a state such as Maryland, with its high per capita income, to ignore the oral health needs of its less fortunate citizens.

Harold S. Goodman

Jarrettsville

The writer is a former Maryland state dental director.

Waking up to reality

I have a dream. . . .

I have a dream that William Donald Schaefer, Kurt Schmoke, Herb Belgrad, Matt DeVito, Ernie Accorsi, et al, will expend as much energy, effort, planning and money into improving the Baltimore area schools as they did in attempting to bring an NFL team to the city.

Quality education would produce more jobs than any sports team could ever generate. This in turn would return millions of dollars to the city and the state.

Excellence in education would lower the crime rate and drug use, while the quality of life would improve for all citizens.

How can one equate 16 frantic Sundays with the never-ending benefits of a good education to to individuals and the community?

Yes, I have a dream.

What a shame I have to wake up.

Sally Piette

Reisterstown

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