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Public ServantThe citizens of Baltimore County will...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Public Servant

The citizens of Baltimore County will lose a superior public servant if they cannot persuade Councilman Donald Mason to change his mind and stand for his council seat in 1994.

Don Mason proved his worth in three short years. He has stood firmly for what is correct in his district and the county.

Downsizing the cost and increasing the efficiency of government, while still maintaining and improving service to the citizens, is what public service is all about.

Don Mason has done his job in the face of opposition to the status quo for the betterment of the county.

We need more Don Masons and we need this Don Mason to reconsider. The county will be the winner.

Ross Z. Pierpont

Baltimore

Risk Selection

On Jan. 25, all of America heard President Clinton say that our health care system was broken and that the health insurers were deciding who qualified for coverage and who didn't. That sounds like risk selection.

Without insurance reform, insurance carriers must select risk or they will be out of business. Even with risk selection, insurers only average 2 to 3 percent profit. Quality group carriers cannot compete in a free market with excess fat.

I would suggest that the large bureaucracy that the president envisions would, over time, become the largest entitlement program ever created in our history.

The insurance industry is advocating reforms to include guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewability, elimination of pre-existing conditions (for those who maintain coverage even if they change employers), reform rating practices and eliminating large differences in rates because of an unfortunate medical condition. Maryland has already passed these reforms (effective July 1, 1994).

President Clinton talked about Mr. Anderson, who lost his job and then discovered that he had a serious medical condition.

Why didn't Mr. Anderson elect to continue his coverage under federal or state continuation laws? Mr. Anderson should have had the right to continue or convert his coverage (in Maryland he would have).

Let me ask some questions: If you lost your job and elected not to pay your homeowner's coverage and you had a fire, should we condemn the insurance industry?

Should we have exclusive government homeowner's alliances to handle the sale of fire insurance? If you couldn't afford to buy groceries, should we have exclusive government grocery alliances?

Absolutely not, the answer is in individual responsibility, and when that isn't enough then the government should step in to help through the crisis only.

President Clinton raises many good points that we can all address and solve together, within private industry, without creating a new government bureaucracy, that if created would strangle our government and all of America.

Dennis B. Mather

Timonium

The writer is president of an insurance agency.

Don't Typecast

Your editorial, "Whitewater Independent Counsel" (Jan. 30), stated, "Robert Fiske has several advantages. He is nearly a generation younger than Mr. Walsh and more likely to stay in charge of a large, young and energetic staff."

Although people who are younger tend to be more energetic than those a generation older, that fact is irrelevant. Some people in their 70s are more energetic than many people a generation younger. Persons should be chosen by their ability and character, not typecast according to their race, sex, religion or age.

Steven C. Hill

Bel Air

Pet Responsibility

I read recently of a group of citizens who are supporting proposed legislation in Maryland to make owners of pets that attack and kill other pets liable for damage suits.

I am sympathetic to their desire to hold the pet owners responsible for the action of their pets. Such legislation, however, if it is seriously considered, should, I believe, contain a couple of other provisions.

First, some jurisdictions have leash laws, and all should. A pet owner who does not obey leash laws and allows their pet to roam freely should not receive compensation if their pet gets into trouble.

The violation of leash laws should be enforced, and that goes for the owner of the attacking animal as well as the one under attack.

Second, there have been studies indicating that millions of our native songbirds are killed each year by free roaming cats.

There are millions of cats in our country, and if each one killed only one songbird a year the destruction would be enormous. The owners of such free roaming pets should be held liable for violating leash laws, as well as for the destruction of native wildlife.

It is illegal for a human being to kill native songbirds; so it should also be illegal for a free roaming pet to do so. Their owners should be held liable.

Consequently, I support the move to hold pet owners responsible for the lethal actions of their pets, but I believe such legislation should be broadened to cover all aspects of such destructive behavior.

We need responsible pet owners for the sake of their own pets, as well as for the well being of other animals.

David H. Pardoe

Columbia

Jewish Endurance and the Nation of Islam

Clarence Page's column (Jan. 28, Opinion * Commentary) concerning the Khalid Abdul Muhammad mess struck me as odd.

While Mr. Page joins the welcome chorus of black voices in opposition to Khalid Muhammad's extremism, the columnist apparently cannot help adding a few paragraphs aimed at putting those whiny Jews in their place.

Mr. Page excoriates the Anti-Defamation League for demanding that black leaders "drop whatever they may be doing at the time" and condemn the hate-speech in question.

Mr. Page goes on to assert that such a "local" matter as Khalid Muhammad's hate-speech might have been better handled if the ADL would "consider spending its national newspaper money on . . . a town hall meeting to talk the matter out."

Amazing. A few more paragraphs and maybe Mr. Page would call on Jews to loosen their grip on the Federal Reserve Board.

In the first place, the strong response of the ADL to Mr. Muhammad's speech represents the end of a period of long endurance of the growth and organized propagation of anti-Semitic ideology in the African-American community.

The spread of this ideology is primarily to the credit of Louis Farrakhan, though there are many others.

Mr. Page may not understand that there are two Louis Farrakhans. One is the religious leader who talks of God, family, and self-discipline. The other is a fascist and an extreme demagogue who knows that the Jews always make an inviting target.

After all, anti-Semitism is the neurosis of the Western mind, always there for one willing to unleash the madness.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., tried to create unity with Mr. Farrakhan, the Islamic cleric. That was a gamble that has paid wretched dividends; we now have a "sacred covenant" with the fascist. I guess that means the two Farrakhans are inseparable. What a shame.

It is commonly held wisdom that Mr. Farrakhan is popular because he plays on the legitimate fears and frustrations of black people suffering from poverty and despair. Sure, that's why he draws his best crowds on college campuses, where the poor and downtrodden are known to congregate.

The Louis Farrakhan that appears on the nation's campuses is not the one who speaks to the poor. He is the one who fires up the children of the black middle class. He is not playing on legitimate fears but on illegitimate hatreds.

Although Khalid Muhammad is a chief lieutenant for a national organization, Mr. Page makes it sound as though the ADL has gotten all bent out of shape about some city councilman's ethnic jokes. I suppose Mr. Page can call the situation "local" because Mr. Muhammad was necessarily in a locality when he belched forth his acid.

Mr. Page is clearly reaching for criticisms to apply, and his bias is showing. As for his bogus suggestion that the Jews spend their money on a town hall meeting, well, besides bringing out the money stereotype, it has no purpose. Mr. Muhammad openly advocated mass murder; what's there to talk about?

The good news is that our political and intellectual leadership has awakened to the growing menace of bigotry. The bad news is that not all of them can recognize what they now see.

Roy D. Adams

Baltimore

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