Ellen vs. Helen
I found your Nov. 28 article on Del. Ellen Sauerbrey confusing.
On one hand, Mrs. Sauerbrey is described as a "true believer in the doctrine of former President Ronald Reagan." And on the other hand, she makes "a thinly veiled reference to the age of Mrs. Bentley."
Has she forgotten that Ronald Reagan was 69 years of age when first elected president in 1980, and 73 when re-elected? Would she have made the same references to his age? Or not, because he is a man?
Also, the "Reagan Democrats" that Delegate Sauerbrey is courting are the same ones from Eastern Baltimore County who have continually given Helen Bentley 65 to 70 percent of their vote in her congressional elections. Mrs. Bentley is the only Republican who can garner the Democratic vote necessary to win statewide in Maryland.
After all, the Democrats still outnumber the Republicans 2 to 1 in this state. Republican voters should cast their ballot for the person who can win in November, and that person is Helen Bentley.
Mary Ann Pyles
Thin Blue Line
It is absolutely incomprehensible that a "blue ribbon" committee hand-picked by the mayor was unable, after an exhaustive search, to find one member of the Baltimore Police Department who could qualify for the final "short list" for police commissioner.
The final four, whom the mayor declared "exactly what we are looking for" and Hubert Williams, search committee chairman proclaimed "four qualified candidates," in reality may not meet these inflated accolades.
If two of these "qualified candidates" were to apply for the position of police officer, they would probably be rejected because of their background, i.e., grand jury indictment, disruptive employment records, forced resignations/terminations, discrimination/intimidation of subordinates, and personal problems that spill over to public performance.
The point here is not who the next police commissioner is or where he comes from, but the obvious fact that from the outset the "handwriting was on the wall" -- that he would not be from within the department.
Any search committee whose final product was a list of four candidates, two of whom came to the city carrying heavy baggage, did not do its job and wasted its time and ours.
It is a sad state of affairs and a disservice to the department to proclaim that out of the 3,000 members of the department, none was qualified to be the next commissioner or even make the final list of candidates.
Let's set the record straight: There are many people within the department who qualify for the top job. Contrary to the cries of mismanagement, inefficiency, and corruption, the Baltimore Police Department is the singularly most efficient and organized agency in the city government.
As to the issue of corruption, a police department must be a microcosm of the community; like a community, not everyone qualifies for "sainthood." To imply that the Police Department is riddled with corruption is ridiculous.
If the truth be known, these allegations come from a few malcontent loose cannons within the department who were not allowed to run roughshod through the city.
Although their allegations had no basis in fact, they were picked up by a few people with an ax to grind and the news media who continue to beat the issue like a dead horse whenever it serves their purposes.
Eugene M. O'Hara
The writer is a lieutenant in the city police department.
When I saw the article about the Maryland judges seeking salary increases of up to 20.4 percent, I saw red.
Isn't it sad that they haven't had any increase in salary or benefits in four years?
I, like many employees everywhere, haven't received an increase in salary or benefits in four years, along with 10 furlough days during one of those years. And my salary is about one-fourth that of these judges.
I cannot believe the audacity of these people to ask for such an increase.
Many people don't even have jobs, and others will be laid off as more and more businesses have to tighten their belts in these tough economic times. And layoffs mean less people to do more work. Yet I am grateful that I still have a job.
The judges should learn to live within their means as everyone else has had to do.
If their raise is granted, there is definitely something wrong with the state system.
Most state employees and those in other systems can't even get a 3 percent raise. So what makes these judges so special?
Please don't make a mistake that you and many Redskins fans will regret -- i.e., moving "our" Redskins from Washington to Laurel. As a Laurel (Russett) resident, I have 10 reasons why this is a poor idea:
(1) It will destroy a community of old and new homes where people desire to live in the suburbs to get away from the city (noise, stadiums, traffic, buildings, etc.), possibly causing a loss of homeowners and a drop in property values near the stadium.
(2) The roads will take years to redevelop for adequate traffic needs, causing more unnecessary construction and congestion. (It won't bother Jack Kent Cooke, since his private helicopter can avoid the traffic on off-racing days.)
(3) Mr. Cooke will alienate many residents of Laurel who support the Redskins, and alienate Northern Virginians and D.C. residents who have lost their team and have to travel further.
(4) Mr. Cooke and his Redskins will be "hated" by many Marylanders who now have no opportunity for a National Football League team.
(5) There's nothing like the current television/live shot of the Capitol and monuments sitting near Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in D.C. (The new stadium will require a telescope from NASA Goddard for this effect).
(6) Mr. Cooke still cannot satisfy the 48,000 fans on the waiting list for season tickets with a new stadium. So what is the real
gain from the fans' perspective?
(7) We don't want a stadium complex like the one in East Rutherford, N.J. Otherwise we'd all move to New Jersey.
(8) How would you like to hear concerts in your backyard every weekend? That's what we will have with the new "Cooke-out" stadium.
(9) Changing the name to the Maryland Redskins is even worse than the Baltimore Bombers.
(10) My dog hates the Redskins and will bark continuously if they get within 10 miles of Laurel.
Incurring the Costs of Organ Donation
Joyce Tarrant's Dec. 14 letter on behalf of the Transplant Management Center of Maryland Inc. was a very sincere and honest attempt to reassure Marylanders that no one should decide against organ donation because of fear of being billed for the costs of the donation.
But she misses the whole point. She may be able to understand a hospital bill and tell what she is liable for when she sees it, but we real people can't.
The hospital will always bill the family actual charges, which are probably far in excess of the costs that the organ procurement organization will pay. The family will never be able to defend against the bill.
A family has absolutely no capacity to know whether the charges incurred before death were valid, much less what was done to preserve usable status of the organs until the surgical team could harvest them.
Moreover, the organ procurement's audit is intended to ensure that it does not pay any charge for which it determines itself not liable. It is not designed to protect the family.
The family is liable for whatever the organ procurement organization doesn't choose to pay. The organ procurement organization looks out for itself. The hospital charges what it wants. No one protects the donor's family, and the system doesn't give them a chance to protect themselves, except by refusing to agree to organ donation.
As an aside, the public should be informed that contrary to the demand that you complete an organ donor card on the Maryland instructions for renewal of your drivers' license, you are not required to do so as a condition of renewal of your license, even when the Motor Vehicle Administration clerk demands your completed donor card.
All you have to do to protect your family from the possibility of incurring tremendous hospital charges related to organ donation which insurance may refuse to pay as not reasonable and necessary to treat illness or injury) is refuse to sign the card.
If the state really wants to promote organ donation, it will provide a mechanism for protecting the organ donor's family from the threat of financial ruin.
Right now the hospital and the organ procurement organization have a huge financial incentive to stack the deck against the family, and the family has no way of knowing when it is getting taken by the system.
The state could save many more lives with donated organs if the public could be assured that families would be protected from financial ruin if they donate their organs.