Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Sports medicineThe president, in his State of...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Sports medicine

The president, in his State of the Union Address, suggested taxing tobacco products to help finance health care reform. It seems he feels smokers should pay extra because their habit leads to increased medical costs.

If this is so, then I propose that all sports equipment should carry a heavy tax also.

I am sure the records will show that sports injuries lead the list as the cause for hospitalization among all age groups.

Let's be fair, Mr. President.

William J. Kurek

Baltimore

Turned off

My wife and I recognize the need and benefits of charitable giving, and we try to help.

After receiving what appeared to be an increasing number of mailings from the same organizations, I decided to see over a calendar year period (1993) how many we received. We tossed them in a box all year. Now I have counted and sorted them.

The results are pretty shocking and indicate the wasteful and irritating practices of some well known (and respected) charities.

Here are the numbers (barring some that slid through the process) and excluding all phone solicitations.

Number of mail fund requests received: 106.

Number of organizations: 34. Repeaters : 18.

Biggest Offenders: (Most mailings): Arthritis Foundation, 13; Covenant House, 11; Maryland Food Committee, 10; WETA, 8; March of Dimes, 7.

These five charities accounted for 46 percent of our 106 mail solicitations in 1993.

I returned a letter along with all of their 1993 mailings to the seven largest offenders with our hopes that they will take a look at their fund raising practices.

They are "turning off" a lot of caring, dedicated givers with their wasteful fund-raising practices.

Landon Alexander

Severna Park

Double standard

A proven liar, Republican candidate Oliver North, may well become a U.S. senator from Virginia.

Meanwhile, naval cadets who may have cheated on their exams will likely be expelled.

Are we a nation of double standards or what?

Gerald Ben Shargel

Baltimore

Selection

A remedy for talk show hosts and individuals who criticize Sunpaper editors, columnists and reporters: simply stop reading the newspaper.

Marylanders have one daily with thousands of subscribers capable of selecting their favorite columnists and sports writers.

Fault-finding is unnecessary, and your readers are not influenced. If they were, the Sunpapers would have been out of business years ago.

Bill Arwady

Towson

'Let's just say no' to Clinton's health plan

We are invited by the Clintons to submit to a one-size-fits-all health plan, which will spawn over 200 bureaucracies for us to support in the manner to which bureaucracies have become accustomed.

Why a new health plan? Well, to hear the Clinton architects tell it (all several hundred of them, still unnamed, who met in secret and somehow forgot to keep records -- or lost them or something), it's because our health system is broken. It's in crisis, stupid!

They keep insisting on this, in spite of the fact that our health care system is the envy of the whole world, and 75 percent of us are satisfied with our health care coverage.

But, they say, there are all those millions of uninsured Americans. How many millions exactly? Well, President Clinton's numbers range anywhere from 37 million (when his plan was first presented in September) to 58 million (which he used in his State of the Union address) -- whatever it takes to push the taxpayers' "compassion" button.

What if someone told you to rebuild your home because it needed a few repairs? Senseless, you'd say! Yet, the same convoluted logic underlies the Clinton health care plan. It is designed for the benefit of the uninsured minority at great disruption and expense for the rest of us.

The cost is still a terrifyingly unknown factor. Why not simply design a safety net for those who need it?

"Universal coverage" is President Clinton's mantra. He vows he will veto anything that doesn't include this. Why is he so adamant on this point? Sympathy? Compassion? Try entitlement guarantee.

"Universal coverage" is the finger at the socialistic door beckoning to us: "Come into my parlor." Because once we're in, we'd never get out -- we'd be trapped by still another budget-breaking entitlement.

And this one would give Big Brother bureaucrats the right to run the health care business and to make all the rules, telling us what we can and cannot do.

Inevitably, this would be followed by price controls, rationing, less freedom for patients to choose their doctor, less freedom for doctors to decide how to treat their patients (with subsequent loss of quality medical care), loss of jobs (many employers will not be able to afford the mandated health care expense for their employees, and much more nationwide grief. Let's just say "no!

H.J. Rizzo

Baltimore

Ednor Gardens mourns neighbor's death

Recently the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside neighborhood experienced a rash of crime, including the death of one of our neighbors and friends, Jerry Watkins.

It is devastating to the people of this community that something like this happened in our neighborhood. However, our neighborhood is now being portrayed as a hot spot for criminal activity. We wish to remind people that the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside community will not become an easy target area for criminals.

This neighborhood is made up of a wonderfully diverse group of people who care about their neighbors and take pride in their homes and neighborhood. Ednor Gardens-Lakeside is one of the most stable and safe communities in the city.

The enhanced media coverage of our community should serve as a reminder that no one is immune to crime, even if you happen to live in a relatively small, quiet neighborhood.

The increased police presence, in addition to the continued cooperation and awareness of neighbors, will again make this one of the safest and best communities within the city of Baltimore.

Evelyn Hoban

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Ednor Gardens-Lakeside Community Association.

Block raid calls priorities into question

It's been several weeks since the infamous "raid" on The Block. Most people thought of the raid as a political issue, not a crime issue. We are living in a city deemed one of the deadliest cities in America, but our governor and State Police feel it was their duty to save us from half naked, gyrating women and the evils associated with the club scene.

I'm sure that most of us can decide for ourselves whether or not we should be in a place such as this. I'm also fairly certain that the people who vote will also remember how our politicians prioritize what is really important in our community.

Let's be realistic and focus on more serious issues, such as taking back our streets and neighborhoods from the people who helped make our city "one of the deadliest cities in America."

As taxpayers, we should be offended by the fact that our money supported a politically motivated act of aggression against taxpaying businesses.

We may not agree with the goings on at The Block, but let's let a little common sense prioritize what should get the attention of 500 State Troopers and the governor.

Just imagine the effect of 500 troopers focusing on the crime in our neighborhoods. I could almost guarantee that an effort focusing on our community neighborhoods would be more beneficial to all of us.

John T. Birdsong

Baltimore

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